About the Salmon Creek Watershed
Salmon Creek Watershed encompasses approximately 35 square miles in western Sonoma County. Salmon Creek drains directly into the Pacific Ocean at the Salmon Creek Estuary. Salmon Creek has 6 major tributaries and links the towns of Occidental, Freestone, Bodega and Salmon Creek. It was inhabited for at least 8,000 years by Native Americans, most recently Miwok Indians, along the valleys between Freestone and Bodega.
The watershed has a diverse ecology including riparian corridors, coastal grasslands, shore dunes, redwoods, oaks, an estuary and wetlands. It is home to several endangered species, among them are freshwater shrimp, tidewater gobi, northern spotted owls, red tree voles and southern red-legged frogs. Salmon Creek Watershed is one of the few viable habitats for ocean bound steelhead.
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- Forests 11,474 acres
- Grasslands 8,303 acres
- Shrubs 1,996 acres
- Hardwood Chaparral 493 acres
Of the forested land, 5,457 acres are redwood forest, 824 acres are coast oak woodland and 870 are coastal shrub.
Land Use (2009)
- Higher Density Residential 129 acres
- Rural Residential 5,791 acres
- Commercial 55 acres
- Institutional 430 acres
- Dairy 664 acres
- Pasture / Forestland 12,413 acres
- Orchards 50 acres
- Vineyards 2,071 acres
- Timberland 672 acres
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Issues Facing Salmon Creek Watershed
Over-use of deer fencing is causing fragmentation of wildlife corridors.
Declining fish populations are being caused by decreasing water supply and water quality, increasing water temperature and sedimentation, and inadequate riparian cover.
Improved estuary health and cool deep upstream pools are needed to provide suitable and protective habitat for maturing salmonoid populations.
Increasing water demands caused by new residential development and viticulture is depleting in-stream flow needed to support wildlife.