Recently while listening to the radio in the grip of one of our epic Bay Area commutes, (anyone who knows San Francisco Bay Area Traffic understands) I heard Doug Karpa from Turtle Island speaking on The Forum KQED 88.5 FM about Turtle Island and its SPAWN Program.
You can find out about SPAWN here: More details here
You can listen to Doug Karpa and about the Central California Coho here: More details here
It seems that out in West Marin County, out past Sausalito, Tiburon, Larkspur, San Rafael, out past Fairfax even… and into San Geronimo and Woodacre, out in Lagunitas, there is a creek bearing the same name, Lagunitas Creek. In that creek is the largest surviving run of the endangered Central California Coho Salmon.
The amount of endangered Central California Coho Salmon estimated to still take that 20 some mile journey from the end of Tomales Bay into the narrows of Lagunitas Creek and its tributaries is about 300.
Now, this area is 28 miles from Union Square, San Francisco. You know Union Square, Macy’s, the St. Francis Hotel, The Powell Street Cable Car Turn-Around. In less than an hour’s drive from the heart of the city lay the last major stronghold of a once-thriving species.
I was struck by the tenuous nature of this species numbers and survival… 300 left. As a younger man I worked off the coast of Kodiak Island many years, and 300 salmon would not even pay for our fuel that day. I have seen nets filled and runs so thick in rivers you could literally walk over them. I could not believe those numbers.
I went out to see for myself, and I managed to find 10 fish, which as it turned out was exceptional in terms of viewing the Central California Coho. To see a video of one of these rare fish spawning go here: Watch the video here
Being a Marin County resident, and my business being “water” I figured National Storage Tank might be able to help. So, we called up Turtle Island and met with Todd Steiner the Executive Director, Erica Heimberg Director of Development, and Catie Clune Education Specialist. We were very impressed with the program and the direction it was heading in.
Founded by Todd Steiner in 1987 Turtle Island has a long history with many successes halting sea turtle deaths, assisting salmon & steelhead, and warning the public about mercury in seafood. They have a 4 Star rating from Charity Navigator.
National Storage Tank, at the behest of Nicole and Carl Oblad, has given enough funding to allow Turtle Island and some estimated 200 volunteers to restore a 4 acre section of riparian forest habitat by improving drainage of over 1.5 miles of old legacy logging roads, planting over 600 native plants.
This will lock down the earth and stop sediment from being washed down into the streams and destroying the spawning grounds for the Central California Coho Salmon of Lagunitas Creek.
In addition, we are donating a 1,100-gallon rainwater harvesting tank to collect water to irrigate the seedlings used in this replanting effort.
Please watch our site for details of when the restoration will bring and how you can come and be part of it.
And please visit the Turtle Island web site at: www.seaturtles.org