Salmonid Field Trip

Restoration Ecology’s final field trip of the Fall, 2016 semester was a wonderful adventure in the redwoods, looking at restoration projects aimed at restoring habitat for salmonid fishes, including chinook and coho salmon. Our hosts for the day were Sarah Phillips of the Marin Resource Conservation Department (RCD), Erik Young, a lawyer affiliated with Trout Unlimited, and Eric Ettlinger of the Marin Water District. Each of them shared with us a different perspective on the creek, and how restoration projects happen.

We started out in the Leo T. Cronin parking area for a brief introduction, and then we headed a bit downstream of the lot for our first close-up look at Lagunitas Creek.


There was an exciting moment at Lagunitas Creek, when a chinook salmon was spotted splashing around in the rapids – possibly digging out a redd in which to lay her eggs.

Next, we headed to Devil’s Gulch, where we ate our lunch, and learned more about the restoration work that’s being done on the creek. Primarily, we learned about the importance of installing woody debris, to restore “complexity” to the creek, which in turn provides a variety of habitat types that salmon (and other organisms) need in order to thrives. There’s a great article on the work that was done here in 2015 on the Trout Unlimited website.

One of the highlights of my day was seeing some old growth redwood trees. One of them had a hollow inside that was large enough to hold several people at one time.

If you’d like to read more about our day, some of my students wrote about this excursion on our Restoration Ecology Blog: Coming Together for the Coho Salmon, and Salmon Crossing.

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