Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) has been awarded $448,565 in grant funding from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) for a three-year project that will increase the winter habitat carrying capacity for coho salmon and steelhead trout in Lagunitas Creek in West Marin. Both fish species are on the endangered species list. MMWD will contribute an additional $63,882 for a total project cost of $512,447.
The project will implement enhancement work at five sites along lower Lagunitas Creek to reconnect the channel to its floodplain, provide refuge for salmonids from high winter flows, and improve the base flow habitat for overwintering juveniles and spawning adults. Habitat features, including construction of engineered log jams, will be installed to provide protection from swift flows and also to shunt water out into the floodplain. At one of the sites, a secondary floodplain side channel will be excavated through an area that now only gets water during the highest flows.
Environmental review for this project will begin in 2015 with project construction scheduled for next summer through the summer of 2018. MMWD will conduct pre-construction monitoring and then five years of post-construction monitoring to document project site conditions and effectiveness.
In partnership with MMWD, the National Park Service will be conducting complementary habitat enhancement work on Lagunitas Creek. They have secured funding for winter habitat enhancement for endangered coho salmon.
The Lagunitas Creek watershed is located in western Marin County, west of Fairfax. From the summit of Mt. Tamalpais, the watershed drains northwest and into Tomales Bay at Point Reyes Station. It is a critically important stream for spawning and rearing coho salmon and steelhead trout. Monitoring surveys that track the fall and spring populations indicate dramatic declines in the numbers of juvenile coho during the winter months, attributed to inadequate winter habitat possibly due to high winter flows.
Four of MMWD’s seven reservoirs draw water from Lagunitas Creek. MMWD has an agreement with the State of California to mitigate the effects of the dams on the creek. The district manages several ongoing projects in the Lagunitas Creek watershed to restore and enhance the fisheries habitat for coho salmon, steelhead trout, and California freshwater shrimp. Since 1995, MMWD and its grant funders have invested $12 million in creek restoration and monitoring work.
MMWD is Marin County’s largest provider of drinking water, serving a population of 187,500 in a 147-square-mile area of south and central Marin County. The district owns and manages 21,635 acres of watershed land on Mt. Tamalpais and in west Marin. The primary source of water supply is rainfall captured in seven reservoirs, providing 75% of the water consumed each year. The remaining 25% is imported annually from the Russian River through an agreement with the Sonoma County Water Agency. MMWD also operates its own recycled water system. District operations are financed primarily by revenue from the sale of water. The annual operating budget for the district for fiscal year 2014-15 is $77.2 million.
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