Following the first hard rainfall each winter, wild coho salmon return to their natal streams and can be observed spawning, or laying eggs.
For more than 20 years, SPAWN has led Creekwalk Tours that explore the Lagunitas Creek Watershed—home to the largest remaining run of wild Central California Coast coho—where our community can witness endangered coho salmon at the peak of their spawning season, trying to revive their diminishing populations that are threatened by human activity. We also learn about native plants, animals, and anything else we encounter along the way! Creekwalk Tours are led by SPAWN-trained naturalists and are typically offered on Saturdays through December and January, as well as a few additional tours on the holidays. We suggest a $15 donation per person on our public tours, children 12 and younger are free. We are always happy to set up a private tour for a $200 donation or an exchange for a group volunteer project. While we will be standing in search of salmon for most of the tour, the combined distance walking at different sites is no more than 1-2 miles. The walks occur rain or shine, as rainy days often provide some of the best viewing opportunities.
Due to human-related activities including urbanization, degraded water quality, poor land use practices, logging, mining, dams and reservoirs, overharvesting of marine fisheries, and climate change, the population of Central California Coast coho salmon has declined more than 95% from historic levels. Running through Marin County, Lagunitas Creek Watershed is one of the most important waterways left for these wild coho salmon, supporting about 20% of the surviving fish in Central California. Going on a Creekwalk Tour is the best chance for people to connect more deeply with the coho’s struggle, and see firsthand the importance of saving this keystone species.