North Bay Trout Unlimited (NBTU) replaced three culverts with wet crossings in Devil’s Gulch Creek, a tributary to Lagunitas Creek – one of California’s Southern most reaches of the endangered Coho salmon, in 2004.
The uppermost crossing, on National Park land, was washed out by the 100 year storm of 2006. This water shed lies in Marin County, California at USGS 7-5 minute, San Geronimo Quadrangle. The watershed empties into Bolinas Bay and on to the Pacific Ocean. North Bay Trout Unlimited (NBTU), Chapter 903, is continuing 40 years of work in the area by repairing a wet crossing to enhance water quality, habitat and open more spawning areas for migrating salmon and steelhead trout.
Firma Design Group was an essential partner in the preparation and acquisition of permits for the work that NBTU was interested in accompolishing.
NBTU, with grants from Trout Unlimited, the Rockey Foundation, and Patagonia completed restoration of the wet crossing on October 12, 2013 installing rock walls and three layers of bio-technical fabric that will eliminate a source of sediment load downstream of the crossing. At the same time, an existing wet crossing received a new grading which will permit fish to migrate farther upstream. NBTU volunteers harvested and planted native trees and bushes to help stabilize the banks and provide overhead shelter to lower water temperatures and provide protection for the young fish. Our previous restoration work indicates that we should expect to see fish in the upstream area as well as less sediment in the lower reaches.
For the past fifteen years there has been a steep decline of endangered Coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout in the Lagunitas Creek watershed to the point that both were re-listed in 2010 by NOAA and NMFS. The decline in Coho salmon is listed in NOAA’s Coho Recovery Program referring to the species entering an, “extinction vortex” (see http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/psd/fyr.htm) in our watershed. The Golden Gate National Park Service listed the Coho as the, “Fish of the Year”, in 2012 in an effort to inform the public of the severity of the population decline.
The Coho salmon require pristine water and North Bay Trout Unlimited (NBTU) has continued its 40 year record of working to fulfill their habitat needs in various watersheds. Devil’s Gulch has historically maintained 30% of the redds in the entire Lagunitas watershed. NBTU has completed many erosion control projects to ensure that these fish receive the pristine habitat necessary for their return.