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Nov 092009
 

From Green Right Now Reports

Amazingly, there are still places in the Bay Area and Central Valley where keen-eyed observers can witness one of nature’s miracles: wild salmon spawning. The Bay Institute has just published an updated map and calendar of top local viewing spots and information on the best seasons to see salmon in the wild. These free brochures are available at Aquarium of the Bay, where a new poster exhibit highlights the life cycle of these extraordinary fish.

spawning salmon

Spawning salmon (Photo: The Bay Institute)

“Bay Area and Central Valley residents are fortunate to live within close driving distance of waterways where they can witness these magnificent but endangered creatures in their natural habitat,” Tina Swanson, executive director of The Bay Institute, said in a statement. “In addition to visiting these areas, we urge individuals to consider how their actions affect our salmon and the rivers they depend on, make smart decisions in their own lives about water and chemical use, and vote in favor of the environment. It will take all of us working together to protect and restore these species and the valuable fishery that, until recently, they supported.”

Within the Bay Area, Walnut Creek, Lagunitas Creek and Redwood Creek are top spots to secure front row seats. In the Central Valley, the number of salmon running up the American River comes to a crescendo in mid-November; the Stanislaus River is a leading location for viewing the animals in action; and the Feather River becomes an underwater interstate for salmon, as well as steelhead.

Twenty-six species of salmon and steelhead on the West Coast are endangered due to mismanagement of the rivers, streams and estuaries in which the animals spawn, grow and migrate. In California, dams on nearly all salmon-producing streams have eliminated more than 1,000 river miles and 82% of their historical spawning reaches, and water diversions and pollution in the remaining accessible rivers can harm or kill both adult and young fish.

Overfishing is not the key culprit in shutting down the commercial salmon fishing season over the past two years. Mismanagement of our rivers and streams is the main issue that must be resolved to allow salmon access to cold, clean water and healthy spawning habitats for the populations to recover. This year’s fall run of Chinook salmon will play a crucial role in determining whether a historic ban on commercial fishing will stretch into a third year.

The salmon viewing map was created in collaboration with the SalmonAID coalition, host of the annual SalmonAID Festival. The Bay Institute is a proud member of the SalmonAID coalition.

You can find information on local salmon viewing spots and learn more about issues facing salmon and what they can do to help, by visiting The Bay Institute online.