- Author: Paul Olin firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 2004, University of California Cooperative Extension and California Sea Grant fisheries biologists have worked with agency partners to create and implement a monitoring program to evaluate the effectiveness of the RRCSCBP by documenting whether released coho are surviving in the streams in which they are stocked and returning as adults to spawn. The program has documented the return of hundreds of adult fish that are successfully spawning in Russian River tributaries, up from three to five adults returning each year prior to the recovery programs inception. Drought conditions were likely responsible for a decline in returning adults in 2013/2014.
- Author: Karen Giovannini
2014 Annual Report letter from Stephanie Larson, County Director and Livestock & Range Management Advisor:
As we move into the next 100 years of Cooperative Extension, we continue to value the public/ private partnerships that have been the foundation of our organization, raising the bar by supporting the County of Sonoma Initiatives on local agriculture and healthy communities. UCCE advisors are critical partners with local farmers and ranchers, providing scientific-based information on techniques that can be used to increase production and thus increase economic stability, while addressing environmental concerns.
This past year, UCCE conducted research and provided educational programs to help commercial row crop farmers and livestock producers in Sonoma County deal with drought and climate change. Our frost tower research in vineyards evaluated methods for making the most of local water resources through increased irrigation efficiency. Water conservation programs are also focused on the urban gardener, partnering with the Sonoma County Water Agency to educate the public on how to use less water; and with the Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to develop an evaluation tool for documenting ecosystem services that have been maintained or increased through implementing conservation easements and proper rangeland management.
We partnered with other county departments to increase access to healthy, local, sustainable food. One outcome was the County Land for Food Production (CLFP) project; which allowed UCCE to work on creating an incubator farm on county land. These efforts are aimed at increasing access to land for food production, and the number of farmers and ranchers growing local food, respectively. The goals align with the Sonoma County Healthy and Sustainable Food Action Plan. Our Agricultural Ombudsman played a critical role in assisting individuals who want to create or expand their farming and ranching enterprises, and is currently working with PRMD to address local poultry processing.
Learn about these programs and more in our 2014 Annual Report.
- Author: Sarah Nossaman Pierce email@example.com
Grape Creek is a small stream that flows through the picturesque Dry Creek Valley in Healdsburg, surrounded by vineyards, rustic wineries, and a solid community of residents and grape growers—including many who have roots in this valley dating back several generations. Grape Creek—a tributary to Dry Creek, which flows into the Russian River—is home to several aquatic species, including endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout. Despite the abundance of natural resources that Grape Creek supports, like many streams in the Russian River watershed, it becomes intermittent in the summer months when surface flows decrease and demand for water increases.
UC's primary role in this effort is to conduct a multi-year study designed to correlate instream flow and other environmental conditions to oversummer survival of juvenile salmon. Data from this study has given partners a better understanding of how much water coho need to survive the summer months in Grape Creek. Building on this science, the Partnership worked with landowners to implement several streamflow improvement projects and significantly reduce frost protection diversions in the watershed. Projects include the construction of an off-stream pond that eliminates irrigation use of a streamside well, installation of a frost protection fan in order to eliminate a direct diversion and on-stream dam (which was a fish passage barrier), a conservation project to reduce water use by installing a steam cleaning machine and three frost fans, and construction of an off-stream pond that eliminates the use of an on-stream pond for frost protection and irrigation water. None of this would have been possible without the invaluable cooperation and contributions of streamside landowners, some of whom used their own resources for project implementation.
Thanks in good part to this work and the exemplary cooperation of local landowners, Grape Creek was named one of the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP)'s Waters to Watch in 2013. It received this honor due to the importance of its fish species and the collaborative conservation action occurring within the watershed. Last month, NFHP released a video highlighting this collective work.
In many ways, the Grape Creek watershed is a microcosm for the many types of water needs and potential conservation projects that can be implemented across California's coastal streams. UC and the Partnership are using the lessons learned in Grape Creek to continue this effort in other streams within the Russian River basin.
- Author: Paul G. Olin
Mariska Obedzinski, Coho Monitoring Coordinator with UCCE Sonoma/SEAGrant was awarded a Staff Appreciation & Recognition Plan Award (STAR Plan Incentive Awards) from UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography under a program sponsored by University of California Office of the President.
Mariska demonstrated exceptional leadership resulting in the integration of the Sea Grant Extension Program as a partner in a statewide Coastal Monitoring program for endangered salmon. The goal of this project is to gather data that will identify the status and trends of anadromous coho, steelhead, and Chinook populations in the Russian River Watershed.
This work is part of a larger effort by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) and NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to identify and improve our understanding of population drivers affecting coastal salmonid populations in California. Mariska independently collaborated with colleagues in DFW and the Sonoma County Water Agency to create a monitoring partnership and proposal to secure funding to support monitoring activities over the 2-year project period.
In addition to this new activity, Mariska plays a central role in ongoing coordination and personnel management of multiple research projects supported by NOAA, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to monitor the recovery of endangered coho salmon in the Russian River.
Mariska is clearly deserving of this award. Congratulations Mariska!
- Author: Amelia Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Amelia (pictured) presented data from the coho program during her talk “Are low summer flows limiting survival of salmonids at the stream and watershed scales in the Russian River watershed?” Amelia discussed data from the 2013 summer snorkel and fall flow surveys the coho program conducted across the watershed. Data showed limited habitat availability during the peak dry season for coho salmon, due to dry and intermittently flowing stream reaches.
For more information, visit Sea Grant Extension Program