Once tremendously abundant, coho salmon in Marin County are now on the brink of extinction. Habitat destruction, overfishing, water pollution and climate change have pushed this species to its very edge. The fate of this iconic wildlife now rests in our hands.
Part of the complexity in conserving these fish are their dependence on the entire watershed’s health for their survival—from the highest reaches of the creek to the still waters of the Pacific-facing estuaries. Stewarding their spawning grounds, therefore, requires a multi-faceted approach across both public and private lands.
Our work protecting private farm and ranchland is a key piece in this collective recovery effort. Each acre of land conserved in MALT easements builds upon the County’s growing network of protected land—a puzzle of private and public land that is greater than the sum of its parts.
As much as our work is about preserving the land as it is today, it is also about protecting the possibility of what it could be in the future. Through partnerships with local ranchers, the Marin Resource Conservation District, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and many other agencies and organizations, efforts are underway today to revive these populations of endangered fish—a recovery that would not be possible in a landscape fragmented by suburban development.
Through more than four decades of conservation efforts, for example, MALT has helped conserve the majority of the Walker Creek watershed—from its mouth in Tomales Bay to its headwaters in Hicks and Chileno valleys. Home to an imperiled population of coho salmon, protecting much of this landscape through our conservation easements was the critical first step towards ensuring the future health of this watershed.
Not long ago, it is said that it was difficult to drive a horse and buggy across Walker Creek at the height of the winter salmon run because of the numbers of fish in the shallow water. Thanks to the foresight of yesterday’s conservation community and MALT’s generous supporters, the possibility of reviving this ancient migration still exists today.
Learn more about our work protecting salmon habitat here: