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Identifying Salmon Habitat Restoration Priorities in Lagunitas Creek

Restoration of Lagunitas Creek is critical to removing Central California Coast (CCC) coho salmon and CCC steelhead from the Endangered Species List. Lagunitas Creek is the largest river system in Marin County and has two large tributaries, Olema Creek and San Geronimo Creek. Lagunitas Creek coho salmon contribute important genetics to a critical recovery effort, the Russian River coho salmon Broodstock Program. Within the watershed, there is a very active restoration community that cares deeply about these species. Community members gather to watch the coho salmon spawning each year at the state park. Historically, spawning coho salmon and steelhead supported a vibrant ecosystem, tribal cultures, and recreational fisheries. By restoring Lagunitas Creek, future generations will be able to enjoy a healthy river full of salmon.

The SHaRP process identifies potential high-quality salmon and steelhead habitat at the watershed scale and recommends restoration treatments to strengthen these areas. The SHaRP process also provides for a structured collaboration between representatives of resource agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), California Native American tribes, academia, restorationists, landowners, and land managers to collaboratively identify the greatest impacts to salmon during each stage of their life cycle.

The Lagunitas Creek SHaRP effort, initiated in Fall 2019, depended heavily on local community engagement. Creating these highly-specific restoration plans requires a deep, local understanding of Lagunitas Creek. The people who live and work in the region, and who have spent time studying or observing a particular area, had invaluable knowledge to contribute.

Continue reading at fisheries.noaa.gov.

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