18th Annual Coho Confab
The 18th Annual Coho Confab took place August 21-23, 2015 at the beautiful Westminster Woods Camp in the Dutch Bill Creek watershed of Western Sonoma. The Coho Confab is a symposium to explore watershed restoration and techniques to put coho salmon populations on the path to recovery. It is also an ideal opportunity to network with other fish-centric people and to attend field tours that highlight a variety of watershed restoration techniques. To produce the 2015 Coho Confab, SRF collaborated with several groups including our sponsor, the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and restoration partners including the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District (RCD), Trout Unlimited, NOAA Fisheries, and the Sonoma County RCD.
The Coho Confab opened Friday evening, August 21 with a community dinner and inspiring keynote presentations from Julie Weeder (NOAA Fisheries), Brock Dolman (Water Institute Director), and John Green (Program Manager of Gold Ridge RCD and the winner of the 2015 SRF Restorationist of the Year award). Their presentations focused on the social aspects of saving salmon, conservation hydrology, planning and implementation, and restoring landscape hydrology, respectively.
On Saturday morning, John Green led a field tour focused on salmonid restoration in the Dutch Bill watershed, and Sierra Cantor (Gold Ridge RCD) and forester Chris Blencowe led tours about Green Valley Creek Off-channel Habitat and Large Wood in Willow Creek. Brian Cluer and Michael Pollock of NOAA Fisheries led a full-day tour of Willow Creek, which offered a unique example of a valley wetland stream complex providing rich salmonid habitat that gives us a glimpse of historically common terrestrial conditions. This field tour visited fish monitoring sites, presented relevant data, and explored the riparian jungle.
In the afternoon, permaculture expert Brock Dolman led a Conservation Hydrology tour of the famed Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. When participants returned from the field tour, Matt Clifford, water rights attorney at Trout Unlimited, and Bob Coey from the West Coast Region of NOAA Fisheries led the Open Forum focused on A Field Guide to Central California Coast Recovery.
The last day of the Confab included a Sunday morning field tour of Grape Creek off-channel Storage and LWD projects, a Bodega Bay Roofwater Harvesting and Streamflow Restoration tour with Lauren Hammack of Prunuske Chatham, and a Warm Springs Hatchery and Dry Creek restoration projects tour led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.