Hands Abound to Help Coho Salmon

a cooler of fish
Coho get a lift to Redwood Creek

James Marks / NPS

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News Release Date: December 13, 2016

Contact: Nathan Hale Sargent, 415-562-4732

Multiagency Network Returns Endangered Salmon to Redwood Creek

MUIR BEACH -- Nearly 100 staff and volunteers delivered 106 adult Coho salmon the final quarter-mile of their journey to Redwood Creek last week.

The project, "Coho Jumpstart", created the largest group of adult Coho salmon to return (with a little help) to Redwood Creek in a decade. The project is a collaboration between Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the Army Corps of Engineers, Mount Tamalpais State Park, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The group coordinated efforts for three years to bring about this week's vital service to the Redwood Creek Coho salmon.

"This is both an exciting and somber event," said Darren Fong, GGNRA aquatic ecologist. "Somber because the Redwood Creek population was in such bad shape that heroic efforts were needed, and exciting because of all the support that was provided for this project."

This is the second of four planned salmon releases by Coho Jumpstart.

Coho salmon usually live about three years. They develop from egg to adult then die after spawning. Their life cycle would typically begin in the quiet life of the creek, followed by maturation in the Pacific Ocean, and a return to their creek of birth to spawn.

The Redwood Creek population has been impacted by rising sea temperatures and poor stream habitat conditions, made worse by a drought which reduced oxygen levels and the amount of water for coho to live in.

Coho Jumpstart removed the salmon from Redwood Creek more than two years ago when they were only 3-4 inches long. CDFW nurtured the Coho at a nearby hatchery, and the fish returned to Redwood Creek last week at a healthy 12-24 inches.

A specially-designed truck transported the salmon from the hatchery to the Muir Beach parking lot. Staff and volunteers used carts and nets to bring them the rest of the way to the creek, cheered on by a small crowd of excited neighbors and passing park visitors.

Last week's Coho release will be followed with releases in Winter 2017 and 2018. The National Park Service will conduct surveys this winter and next summer to determine if these fish were able to spawn successfully.

Details of the project:

For more information on coho at GGNRA:

Last updated: December 12, 2016

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