In California we are at risk of losing our Spring Chinook Salmon.
The South Fork Trinity River is one of the primary spawning habitats for the Spring Chinook Salmon, and our local Spring Chinook salmon population has been declining at an alarming rate. In fact, Spring Chinook are at risk of local extinction — and Trinity County could make or break their survival. In Trinity County, our salmon are battling drought, over-pumped and dry creeks, sediment from bulldozed roads, and an overabundance of foreign nutrients in the river.
Fish counts are on the decline.
In 1963, fish counts showed 10,000 Spring Chinook Salmon in the South Fork Trinity River. In 2016, snorkel surveys for the South Fork Trinity River counted only 61 Spring Chinook. South of Trinity County populations of Spring Chinook are non-existent.
How You Can Help
- Maintain Your Roads. The biggest water pollution problem in Trinity County is sediment (dirt) runoff from poorly built or unmaintained roads. Winter storms on these roads can unleash vast amounts of soil erosion, causing substantial road damage and ultimately polluting streams.
- Be aware of the serious impacts that can be caused by heavy equipment, and if needed, hire a knowledgeable and experienced contractor and schedule work for the dry season.
- Do not leave exposed soils unprotected over the rainy season. Gravel, seed, or mulch.
- Maintain or build water control features on your roads such as water bars, rolling dips, ditches, culverts, etc. and outslope the road when possible.
- UC Davis offers a free, downloadable guide packed with road-related information for rural roads. Download it here.
- Ask Professionals! The Trinity County Resource Conservation District, 5 Counties Salmon Restoration Council, National Resource Conservation Service, and The Watershed Center all have knowledgeable professionals who can point you in the right direction for road maintenance, repair, and construction. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!
- Use Less Water. Water conservation will be one of the most important efforts we can take in the face of climate change, worsening drought, and overuse. We can’t alter the weather, but we can take steps to minimize human impact and to help build resiliency in our watersheds. The more we conserve and plan, the better it is for fish, and for us. To learn more about ways to conserve visit the 5 Counties website.
- Avoid over-fertilizing or using toxic chemicals that poison our rivers. Farm organic, keep it stored responsibly, and be mindful of how much fertilizer you use–organic or not it can pollute, and the presence of nutrients in the water contributes to algae blooms that prevent fish surviving in our streams. It’s also expensive– if you are over fertilizing, you are wasting your money. Click here to learn more about sustainable fertilizers and what is in the products you buy.
- Don’t fish for Spring Chinook. Right now, our actions matter more. Not only is it illegal to fish for salmon in the South Fork Trinity River watershed, but it also does a lot of harm: When there are only 20-200 fish left, every fish counts. We can all help by not fishing for or consuming Spring Chinook.
- Spread the Word. Tell people you know about the threat to Spring Chinook, and encourage them to help protect them. Talk to your neighbors about water. Share your practices, and your efforts. Be a part of that change in your community.
- Take action. Volunteer with us or donate to support our work. Learn more about how you can support the Watershed Center’s work to help Save the Spring Chinook by visiting our events page or contact Josh at 530-628-4206 via email at josh[at]thewatershedcenter.com
- If you are, or know, a cannabis farmer or rural gardener, download this latest and greatest Best Management Practices Guide. It has more detailed information on all of the above mentioned topics and is a must have resource for all conscientious farmers. Find it here.