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Ecologists Lead Salmon Spawning Tours In Marin County

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Coho Fingerlings

Coho salmon rescued from drying pools. (Photo: Reuven Walder)

OLEMA (CBS SF) — Recent heavy rains have left local creeks in Marin County swollen, and one Marin County organization is seizing the wet conditions as an opportunity to teach people about endangered salmon that migrate to the area.

Coho salmon migrate upstream to the sites where they were born to lay their eggs, according to the Salmon Protection And Watershed Network, or SPAWN, a program that works to protect the fish.

In this case, that site is in the Lagunitas Watershed, which is located in west Marin County. The watershed supports one of the state’s largest wild populations of Central Coast coho salmon.

Trained naturalists with the organization will be leading educational tours of the watershed to discuss the salmon’s habitat and the watershed’s history, according to SPAWN.

According to SPAWN, the salmon population has decreased to less than 10 percent of the 6,000 salmon that populated the area 60 years ago. The current annual population averages about 500 spawning fish.

Naturalists will lead the next tour on Sunday at 10 a.m. There are also tours scheduled every weekend through the end of the year. More information and reservations are available at http://www.spawnusa.org.

The tours request donations of $10 for adults or $4 for children
but are free of charge for SPAWN members — an annual membership costs $35.

SPAWN is a program of the nonprofit Turtle Island Restoration Network, which works to protect several endangered species.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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