Walker Creek, located in Marin County, flows year-round from the Soulajule Reservoir to Tomales Bay and the Pacific Ocean, draining approximately 76 square miles. Walker Creek is primarily a rural watershed with over 90% of its land privately owned for ranching and agricultural uses. Riparian woodland along the mainstem provides protected habitat for fish such as federally endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead.
The health of the Walker Creek watershed has suffered from the building of Soulajule Dam and a history of intensive land use practices, with fish and wildlife populations greatly reduced from historical numbers. In past recent years and ongoing today, collaboration among conservation groups, natural resource agencies, and landowners has resulted in large amounts of restored habitat in the Walker Creek watershed and major increases in fish abundance.
Northwestern Marin County, CA
76 square miles
Concentrated development is solely in town of Tomales (pop: 181); Most land is used primarily for ranching, dairy, and/or agricultural operations. Over 4,000 students and conference attendees visit Walker Creek Ranch each year where CalTrout's projects are located.
Key native fish in the watershed:
Central California Coast coho salmon, steelhead, & California freshwater shrimp
Voices of Walker Creek Watershed
Hear from individuals that work, play, and/or live in the watershed.
Bay Area Region Director
“Walker Creek watershed is my favorite place to work. It feels so far away but is still right in the Bay Area. There are a lot of demands on this small watershed, and yet, the landscape is supporting commercial agricultural operations as well as endangered species such as coho salmon. I think it has a lot of potential to support and be an impressive demonstration site for some neat restoration and conservation actions.”
Patrick McLaughin & Kris Jacobsen
Ranch Manager/ Outdoor School Principal & Assistant Ranch Manager (respectively)
Walker Creek Ranch: Outdoor School and Retreat Center
“Having that younger generation here and being able to share our knowledge of the importance of the environment is amazing. Some of them are engaging with the land in a way that they’ve never done before. That produces a sacred feeling.” - Kris
“Being part of such a unique place such as Walker Creek watershed and connecting kids to nature makes me feel very fortunate and blessed to have this as my career.” - Patrick
Senior Environmental Scientist and Coho Salmon Recovery Coordinator
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
“We’re asking ourselves: ‘Are the adults returning to the watershed? Are they able to access spawning areas? Are they successfully spawning? Are juveniles getting enough cold water in the summer for them to survive?’ I really enjoy the science side of my work, the unraveling of these important questions.”
CalTrout in the Walker Creek Watershed
CalTrout is working to inform management and restoration in the watershed by identifying habitat quality and usage by salmon and steelhead. Participation and collaboration with landowners and the community, including schoolchildren, is critical to the success of our projects in Walker Creek.
Read more about CalTrout's Walker Creek watershed projects in the links below.
Subscribe to CalTrout’s newsletter to stay informed on the restoration and educational programs for Walker Creek.
Support CalTrout's ongoing and future restoration projects in the Walker Creek watershed.
Cover photo by Nick Cedar.