Coho salmon are already critically endangered in Lagunitas Creek, California, but a new stream ordinance coming up for a vote in the next few months could bring them even closer to extinction. The Lagunitas Creek coho population in Marin County is the largest, most important population of this species in Central California. However, the newly drafted stream conservation area ordinance promotes real estate development without requiring any meaningful mitigation measures to protect this iconic endangered species. In fact, instead of supporting salmon restoration, it likely makes their survival more tenuous.
While Central California Coho salmon have disappeared from streams spanning their historic range, the San Geronimo Creek Sub-Watershed at the headwaters of Lagunitas Creek supports one of the strongest remaining populations of this species in their endangered range. Despite the need to protect this vital watershed, the Marin County Planning Commission's proposed rules will allow the equivalent of two WalMart stores (more than 500,000 square feet) of new construction inside the so-called 100-foot Stream Conservation Area on already-developed parcels. Additionally, the draft ordinance also allows another 500,000 sq ft of new construction on undeveloped parcels!
The annual spawning runs of Marin's coho salmon have already declined by 90% from historic levels.
A strong science-based stream ordinance may be the last chance to save this legacy species from what federal biologists have termed "an extinction vortex." We can't continue to promote real estate development without considering how we can support and restore our important population of coho salmon before it's too late.
We must take action now. Sign this petition and let the Marin County Board of Supervisors know we want them to write an improved SCA ordinance that protects Marin County's critically endangered coho salmon from further habitat loss.