Santa Cruz is a beautiful place to talk about fish! This April, I had the opportunity to attend the annual Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF) conference in Santa Cruz, CA. The conference, held mere steps from the beach, inspired, educated, and connected me to this vast body of fish-focused work.
The conference opened with a powerful and inspiring speech from Yurok and Karuk Native American and Stanford University graduate student, Brook Thompson. Klamath dam removal was the main subject of Thompson’s remarks, and she wove together the history of her Tribes and a call for the social justice that the Klamath dams obstruct. I found it especially powerful when Thompson addressed the conference hall, brimming with passionate and accoladed researchers, scientists, and professionals, and she asked us to look around the room and notice who was not here today. Many people were missing from this room, Thompson noted, including young people, specifically those under 18, and people of color.
Field tours were also offered through the conference. I had the chance to travel some miles north up the coast, to Pescadero, where the San Mateo Resource Conservation District, CDFW, CA State Parks, and more partners led a tour of the interconnected watershed system there consisting of Pescadero and Butano Creeks. The creeks converge in Pescadero Marsh before spilling out into the ocean. The marsh is the site of a recent large scale restoration project to address anoxia and prevent fish kills.
Throughout the next two days, dozens of sessions occurred highlighting topics ranging from lagoons to community collaboration. CalTrout’s presence at the conference was impressive with five speakers, two moderators, and many more attendees. While the wealth of knowledge I gained from this conference is too broad to share in a single blog post, below I will share with you my top six fun facts and key takeaways from SRF 2022!
Bonus fun fact: Did you know that there are Pacific Lamprey in Pescadero? Biologists discovered them in the Pescadero Marsh during the restoration project there!