By Zachary Drummond
As an avid fisherman and outdoorsman, I find myself reading about our Bay Area watershed more than I’d like to admit. One of many discoveries I’ve made whilst reading about our local watershed came from reading the Contra Costa County Watershed Atlas. In this publication, I read about a local population of Chinook Salmon in the lower portion of Walnut Creek. This was very interesting to me, because at the time I only knew of Lagunitas Creek in Marin being an area locally that I could see salmon spawning. I decided to do more research and discovered two more articles that supported my findings. One article posted on the Contra Costa Public Works website, states that salmon have been identified in the lower Walnut Creek, but reports of their spawning have only been anecdotal.
I continued my research into the salmon sightings in Walnut Creek to then find a study done in Walnut Creek by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2004. In this study, the researchers were able to find 166 potential salmon redds in the lower portion of Walnut Creek (salmon redds, for those who may not know, are nests that salmon use to lay their eggs in). Finally, I knew for sure that the salmon were in the creek and spawning, so I decided to go and see if I could find them making their way up the creek. I personally observed many salmon in the creek jumping their way up to their spawning grounds in early December. This discovery is great news for Walnut Creek, as well as other creeks and watersheds nearby. It shows that we are moving in the right direction to restore our creeks. The nutrients that these anadromous fish bring from the ocean to our creeks is absolutely vital to the health of the watershed, and we should continue to create accessible creek paths for these fish to traverse to their spawning grounds.
Contra Costa County Watershed Atlas
Contra Costa County Public Works – Walnut Creek Restoration Project Fish Issues
2004 US Army Corps of Engineers Data Summary Report for Lower Walnut Creek, Contra Costa County, California