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I would like to thank the Marin Municipal Water District for sending a letter to residents in the Lagunitas Creek watershed asking them not to pump water from the creeks to water their lawns and gardens and to fill their ornamental ponds.

Besides being illegal, water diversions have a devastating impact on the survival of our endangered juvenile coho salmon and steelhead trout. These tiny fish must survive our long hot, dry summers when water levels in the creek are diminished daily by natural processes.

Urbanization, through the creation of impermeable surfaces (roofs, driveways, roads, parking lots) prevents water from percolating into groundwater reservoirs, which has further worsened the situation. Many small tributaries go completely dry before fish have a chance to migrate downstream to year-round flowing water in the main-stem creeks.

The problem is most severe in the San Geronimo Valley, where development is most concentrated, particularly along creeks, and where more than 50 percent of all endangered coho in the Lagnitas Watershed spawn each year. This is why (under federal and state permits) the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) rescues and relocates 1,000 to 3,000 baby salmon from certain death each year.

So please, don’t pump water from the creeks. And join SPAWN on a salmon rescue mission this summer.

Todd Steiner, director, Salmon Protection and Watershed