John Milanovich , , TU North Bay Chapter 415.249.2241
TU North Bay Chapter
10/11/2001 -- Marin County, Calif. -- Trout Unlimited, the nation’s largest trout and salmon conservation organization, encourages members of the media and the public to attend a unique ongoing project to restore coho salmon and steelhead trout habitat this weekend on Devil’s Gulch River in Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Project activities run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on October 13 and 14, with meals provided to volunteers.
This year’s project work – the product of a unique partnership with the National Park Service and a $7,000 “Embrace-a-Stream” grant from TU - is the latest chapter in more than 20 years of TU’s involvement in the Lagunitas Creek watershead restoration. Devil’s Gulch, a tributary to Lagunitas Creek, historically hosted robust coho salmon and steelhead runs. However, years of habitat degradation from overgrazing and erosion whittled those runs to a fraction of their historic numbers. Today the Lagunitas Creek drainage is host to over 10% of the endangered short-run coastal Coho. TU’s restoration work has served as an example for restoration projects throughout Northern California. Since TU and its local chapters became involved in their restoration work in Devil’s Gulch in 1982, the river and its critical spawning habitat have seen remarkable improvement, as have the salmon and steelhead runs.
This year’s project will involve installation and repair of a fence protecting the river banks from grazing cattle. Cattle can inflict tremendous harm on aquatic spawning habitats in a number of ways. Silt dumped into streams from bank erosion can choke and smother salmon and steelhead eggs laid in sensitive gravel beds. Further, erosion and overgrazing of streamside vegetation eliminates shade and cover vital to salmon and trout habitat, raising water temperatures and exposing fish to predation. Further still, cattle in a stream never fail to leave something behind, resulting in toxic water chemical imbalances fatal to fish. Once completed, this year’s TU project will protect a 3-mile reach of the river from these detriments, giving the salmon and steelhead seeking to spawn there a fighting chance at success. Up to 150 volunteers are expected to pitch in.
Anyone interested is encouraged to attend! Volunteers should bring long-sleeved shirts and gloves (poison oak is present in the area). Call John Milanovich (415.249.2241), for directions and details.