Project Goal:

Adequately understand streamflows, water temperatures, and food web in Walker Creek to identify potential limiting factors for coho salmon.

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Project Stages


Conceptual Design

Relationship Building

Estimated Completion Date:


Project Funders

Adobe Foundation

EACH Foundation

Fish Affected:

Project Description

Tomales Bay is the southernmost extent for wild, endangered, Central California Coast coho salmon and is fed primarily by Lagunitas Creek and Walker Creek. While Lagunitas Creek is a productive habitat for salmon and steelhead, coho salmon in Walker Creek were considered extirpated nearly two decades ago. Hatchery fish are now reintroduced by California Department of Fish and Wildlife every year, and despite some signs that a few coho do return to spawn, it is unclear if the habitat conditions could allow them to become re-established without this annual stocking. Understanding this question is key to ensuring coho salmon thrive again in Tomales Bay.

By partnering with key stakeholders, we will research and monitor Walker Creek to understand the factors affecting and potentially limiting coho salmon recovery. We are working with UC Davis to conduct a detailed water temperature and nutrient study in Walker Creek in partnership with MMWD and Walker Creek Ranch, and we are working with CA Sea Grant, CDFW, and Walker Creek Ranch to understand spawning migrations, timing, and straying of salmon and steelhead into and from other watersheds. A coho salmon life cycle modeling effort, led by NOAA Fisheries, began in Spring 2020 and this research will fill key data gaps and inform this effort as it expands.

Project Partners:

Marin Municipal Water District
SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board
Marin Resource Conservation District
Marin Agricultural Land Trust
Walker Creek Ranch
Private landowners

Latest Project Info:

Walker Creek Ranch Tour

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