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.
Sea Grant and Sonoma Water biologists conduct snorkel surveys each summer in order to document the presence and distribution of salmon and steelhead and to establish a minimum count of wild coho. In these surveys, they count coho and steelhead young-of-the-year (yoy).
California Sea Grant biologists operate funnel net traps each spring to monitor the downstream migration of coho smolts (two-year old fish) as they make their way to the ocean. Sonoma Water also operates a smolt trap on Dutch Bill Creek (among other streams).
Our biologists use tiny devices called Passive Integrated Transponders (PIT) tags, that allow them to identify and track individual coho salmon from their release as juveniles to their return as adults.