The number of returning adults is an important metric in coho salmon recovery, as these fish are the basis of future wild coho populations. NOAA Fisheries has established a recovery target of 10,100 adult coho salmon returning each winter to the Russian River basin.
2016/17 adult returns
The estimated count of returning coho salmon for the winter of 2016/17 was 533, based on PIT-tag detections. We also observed live coho and/or coho redds in 23 out of 34 tributaries where UC and Water Agency biologists are conducting surveys this winter as part of the Coastal Monitoring Program; more streams than we have ever observed coho spawning in since the Russian River Coho Salmon Captive Broodstock Program began releasing fish in 2004! See our spawner season summary for more details on adult returns and redd observations.
And there is some exciting news on Mill Creek! As a result of a passage barrier remediation project implemented by Trout Unlimited, Prunuske Chatham Inc., NOAA Fisheries, CDFW, and the Water Agency this past summer, adult coho are now able to access 11 miles of prime spawning and rearing habitat above a former flashboard dam.
Check out these videos of salmon spawning in our local streams:
2015/16 adult returns
In the winter of 2015/16, a minimum of 30 coho adults were observed returning to the mainstem Russian River and monitored tributaries. PIT tag data was used to generate an estimated count of 192 Broodstock Program coho salmon adults returning to the lower Russian River. During spawner surveys, we also observed over 200 unique coho, steelhead and Chinook redds, which can be seen on our 2015/16 redd map.
A few videos from last winter, including one of a very confused steelhead:
- Steelhead courting a Chinook salmon
- Coho salmon spawning in Redwood Creek
- Pair of steelhead in Wine Creek