The “Roy’s Pools Fish Passage and Floodplain Restoration Project” removed the highest priority fish barrier in central California, creating and restoring approximately five acres of creek habitat with the construction of 0.25-mile long floodplain corridors along the former San Geronimo golf course property in San Geronimo, California. 

The project is a collaborative effort between several local, state, and national agencies that provided year-round access to critical habitat for endangered salmon; created valuable floodplain corridors for terrestrial wildlife movement; greatly increased the amount of trees for nesting birds; and replaced a failing pedestrian bridge with a new prefabricated bridge, linking trails and providing fish viewing over a wider, more complex and stable creek channel.

This project was funded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Restoration Center, and Turtle Island Restoration Network. Project engineering and design was done by Environmental Science Associates, and project construction was done by Hanford ARC and SPAWN. Revegetation, site maintenance, and restoration monitoring is ongoing by SPAWN. 

Project Impact

5

Acres of creekside habitat restored

850

Native trees planted

1,320

Feet of floodplain constructed

Project Background

In 1999, NOAA Fisheries developed designs for a series of pools composed of metal sheet piles, concrete and large boulders to help get fish over the former Roy’s Dam. This effort resulted in the Roy’s Pools structure we know today. Although the conversion of Roy’s Dam to Roy’s Pools helped in getting adult fish over the dam, the Pools became traps for young fish. Stagnant water in the pools created breeding sites for mosquitoes and a home for invasive bullfrogs. In addition, the pools cut off access for young fish moving upstream and downstream of the site.

A coho salmon jumps through Roy’s Pools right after it was constructed. | Photo by Reuven Walder
The Roy’s Pools design ultimately leaked and didn’t hold water. | Photo by SPAWN

In a collaborative effort beginning in 2012 with the Lee Family, the previous owners of the former San Geronimo golf course, SPAWN secured grant funds to design a functional restoration of the creek channel through the Roy’s Pools reach, where a natural channel would replace the metal and concrete structures.

In 2012, SPAWN began the design process and hosted community meetings where neighbors gave input on the project and toured the site with the engineering team. Although this is a creek channel restoration project at the former golf course property, this project is not a Trust for Public Land project and is not related to the visioning process that the Trust for Public Land and Trout Unlimited are currently conducting. This project was developed several years prior to the Trust for Public Land taking ownership of the property.

This project was funded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Restoration Center, and Turtle Island Restoration Network. Project engineering and design was done by Environmental Science Associates, and project construction was done by Hanford ARC and SPAWN. Revegetation, site maintenance, and restoration monitoring is ongoing by SPAWN. 

From Roy’s Dam to Roy’s Riffles

Removing the Top-Priority Barrier

for Central California Coho Salmon

Read the Article

Project Timeline

Restoration activities will occur August-October 2020, with the potential to extend into 2021. The revegetation and tree planting will begin following construction in late 2020 and will extend for 4-5 years following restoration.

Project Updates & Resources

CaliforniaNews ReleasesRoy's PoolsSalmon
June 29, 2021

Salmon Habitat Restoration in the Face of Drought

Salmon Habitat Restoration in the Face of Drought Written by Ayano Hayes, SPAWN Watershed Biologist We are approaching one year from the removal of Roy’s Dam on San Geronimo Creek,…
CaliforniaNews ReleasesRoy's PoolsRoy's Pools Restoration ProjectSalmon
March 16, 2021

New Pedestrian Bridge Connects Community to Trails on Former Golf Course

For Immediate Release, March 16, 2021 Contacts: Preston Brown, preston@seaturtles.org, 303-877-0880 Todd Steiner, tsteiner@seaturtles.org, 415-488-7652 Audrey Fusco, audrey@seaturtles.org, 415-845-4791 New Pedestrian Bridge Connects Community to Trails on Former Golf Course…
CaliforniaCoho SalmonNews ReleasesRoy's PoolsRoy's Pools Restoration ProjectSalmon
December 8, 2020

100-Year-Old Dam Removed From Former Golf Course for Salmon Migration

For Immediate Release, December 8, 2020 Contacts: Preston Brown, Director of Watershed Conservation, 303-877-0880 Todd Steiner, Executive Director, 415-488-7652 100-Year-Old Dam Removed From Former Golf Course for Salmon Migration New…
CaliforniaHabitat Restoration & Landowner AssistanceNews ReleasesRoy's PoolsSalmon
November 23, 2020

Update: SPAWN Removes Central California’s Highest Priority Fish Passage Barrier

SPAWN has completed removing Roy's Dam and Roy's Pools that were obstacles to salmon migration and replaced them with Roy's Riffles! We completed this year's work safely and on schedule.…
CaliforniaCoho SalmonHabitat Restoration & Landowner AssistanceHeadquartersNews ReleasesRoy's PoolsRoy's Pools Restoration ProjectSalmon
November 12, 2020

From Roy’s Pools to Roy’s Riffles: SPAWN Removes Central California’s Highest Priority Fish Passage Barrier

A free-flowing creek will soon replace Central California's highest priority fish passage barrier, known as Roy's Pools, thanks to a 20-year community restoration project that is intimately tied to the…
CaliforniaHabitat Restoration & Landowner AssistanceNews ReleasesRoy's PoolsRoy's Pools Restoration ProjectSalmon
July 31, 2020

Marin County Court Rejects Attempt to Suspend Salmon Restoration Project on Former San Geronimo Golf Course

For Immediate Release, July 31, 2020 Contacts Todd Steiner, SPAWN, 415-488-7652, tsteiner@seaturtles.org Deborah Sivas, Stanford Law, 650-269-2489, dsivas@standford.edu  Preston Brown, SPAWN, 303-877-0880, preston@seaturtles.org  Marin County Court Rejects Attempt to Suspend…
CaliforniaNews ReleasesRoy's PoolsSalmon
June 2, 2020

Marin County Board of Supervisors Block Appeal Challenging Salmon Restoration Project on Former San Geronimo Golf Course

For Immediate Release, June 2, 2020 Contact: Todd Steiner, Executive Director, (415) 488-7652, tsteiner@seaturtles.org  Preston Brown, Director of Watershed Conservation, (303) 877-0880, preston@seaturtles.org  Marin County Board of Supervisors Block Appeal…
CaliforniaHabitat Restoration & Landowner AssistanceNews ReleasesRoy's PoolsSalmon
April 27, 2020

SPAWN’s Online Presentation Answers Questions on Upcoming Restoration Project at Former San Geronimo Golf Course Property

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 27, 2020 Contact: Preston Brown, (303) 877-0880, preston@seaturtles.org SPAWN’s Online Presentation Answers Questions on Upcoming Restoration Project at Former San Geronimo Golf Course Property  SAN GERONIMO,…
CaliforniaCoho SalmonHabitat Restoration & Landowner AssistanceNews ReleasesRoy's PoolsSalmon
March 9, 2020

SPAWN to Remove Central California’s Top-Priority Fish Barrier This Summer

SPAWN will remove the large structure known as Roy's Pools that currently limits the migration of endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout and creates poor habitat conditions. | Photo…