The rolling 110-acre San Geronimo Golf Course in rural West Marin is in many ways the last hope for California’s endangered coastal coho salmon. It is one of the last large uninterrupted parcels of creekside habitat where a lot of potential exists to restore and improve critical habitat for the benefit of our native coho salmon.
The lush golf course is situated within the floodplains of two coho-salmon-bearing creeks where up to 50 percent of entire Lagunitas Creek Coho Salmon population spawns alongside trout and Chinook salmon. The golf course hosts critical spawning and rearing habitat for adult and juvenile coho salmon that is in need of major restoration.
Since 1999 SPAWN has worked with the golf course to restore in-stream salmon habitat and improve the health of the riparian buffer zones by planting thousands of native plants along the creek banks.
In 2012, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded SPAWN a grant to develop a restoration and stewardship management plan for the golf course. This crucial plan is near completion and will soon offer a restoration roadmap to the golf course owners and managers.
SPAWN’s management plan highlights easy and diverse ways to improve habitat for the coho salmon. The plan calls for direct habitat restoration projects such as increasing floodplain habitat and riparian buffer zones, and installing logs and woody debris in steams to provide shelter for salmon. The plan also focuses on improving water quality conditions of irrigated runoff from the course and stormwater runoff from buildings, parking areas, and other impervious surfaces. It also addresses methods for reducing pesticide and fertilizer use as well as strategies for controlling invasive aquatic species that prey on young salmon.
The golf course has been a great partner in helping SPAWN in our efforts to restore the Lagunitas Creek Coho Salmon and their critical habitat. SPAWN is excited to finalize this management plan and begin the design phase of the anticipated projects.