Every winter, the Lagunitas Creek Watershed awaits the southernmost remaining run of wild, Central California Coast coho to migrate back home with the first rainfall. As more rain falls, salmon navigate through cascades, waterfalls, culverts, and dams to find their final nesting sites to spawn, trying to revive their diminishing populations that are threatened by human activity.   

SPAWN has led Creekwalk Tours for more than 20 years, guiding visitors on an exploration throughout the Lagunitas Creek Watershed to witness endangered coho salmon. These tours allow the opportunity to learn from biologists and trained naturalists about the salmon’s life cycle, salmon biology and behavior, restoration efforts, updated statistics on how the population is recovering, native plants, and anything else we encounter along the way! 

This 2023-24 Creekwalk season, SPAWN held over 20 tours within Samuel P. Taylor Park, along Lagunitas creek. Tours are welcoming of all ages and attract people from all places. The youngest attendee was 2 years old and our farthest travelers came all the way from Canada and New York! Some folks even made the day drive of 2+ hours from Sacramento to make the tours. This year prevailed with having adequate rains for an above average coho run. As the coho are an endangered species, seeing salmon on a tour can be subject to chance but fortunately enough, almost every tour yielded sightings of at least one coho salmon. Other notable sightings that can be witnessed on our tours are salmon carcasses, and some of the salmon’s predators and scavengers (otters, bobcats, osprey, eagles, turkey vultures, racoons, etc). 

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 folks to connect more deeply with the coho’s struggle, and see firsthand the importance of saving this keystone species.

Want to make sure you’re in the know for the next Creekwalk Tour Season and not miss out? Email Ayano Hayes at ahayes@tirn.net to be added to our email list for next season’s updates.