San Rafael, CA – The rains have arrived in Marin County, bringing with them the return of endangered salmon and steelhead trout to spawn in local creeks. Spawning migration is always an upstream struggle but this year it was made easier with the completion of a fish passage and stream restoration project in Woodacre completed on October 27.
The fish passage project on San Geronimo Creek was funded by County and state dollars.
The Marin County Department of Public Works (DPW) project was constructed by Glissman Excavating Inc. to benefit endangered coho salmon in San Geronimo and Woodacre creeks during drought conditions. DPW funded the project with a $235,000 grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which was matched by a $369,756 contribution from the County of Marin.
The project has improved migration conditions for salmon by installing baffles inside the box culvert to aide fish moving upstream to spawn. Multiple rock and log structures were constructed in the channel to provide deep, cold water pools and restore the natural stream habitat.
“I’m excited to see this very important salmon restoration project completed,” said District 4 Supervisor Steve Kinsey, who represents the rural San Geronimo Valley and West Marin. “This is a continuation of a decade long commitment by the County to improve our fishery resources throughout Marin.”
In 2003, DPW began evaluating County road crossings over salmonid streams for ease of fish passage. Based on the results of the study, the Board of Supervisors initiated a fish passage program in 2005 to remove high priority barriers at County road crossings. To date, the County has constructed 10 fish passage projects, eight of which are located in the San Geronimo Creek watershed, the largest undammed tributary to Lagunitas Creek and an important producer of coho salmon for the Central California Coast. The other two projects were on Vineyard Creek in Novato and Kent Canyon Creek in Mt. Tamalpais State Park.
DPW offers detailed information online about its fish passage program and Marin’s watersheds in general.