Fish Monitoring Overview

The Smith River Alliance values the role of science and monitoring in efforts to restore and protect the Smith River. Recent studies have included a long-term population assessment and monitoring program for coho salmon in the Smith watershed, a study of juvenile coho salmon use of beaver and non-beaver altered habitats in the Smith River coastal plain and estuary, an estuary monitoring and Inventory of Juvenile Salmonid Rearing Habitat in the Smith River Plain, and one of the longest running smolt trapping programs in California (1994-2017), located at the Mill Creek Lifecycle Monitoring Station which provides an overall summary of annual Coho Salmon smolt estimates throughout the program’s history.

The Smith River Alliance holds an annual summer fish count to track the abundance of California’s healthiest population of coastal cutthroat trout! We record observations of the rare summer steelhead and spring Chinook salmon, as well as suckers, rainbow trout, lamprey, and herps. Snorkeling within the canyon walls and clear blue waters of the Smith River, volunteers will experience wild fish in their native habitat.

Coho Distribution

Since 2011 we have surveyed throughout the watershed to assess the distribution of adult and juvenile salmonid species. [Learn More]

2018 Fish Count

Each year, SRA hosts, trains, and leads volunteers on a survey to monitor summer adult salmonid populations in the Smith River. [Learn More]

Beaver Study

Smith River beavers rarely build dams but build lodges by burrowing into the riverbanks. Read the study about their impact on fish habitat. [Learn More]

Lifecycle Monitoring Station

A station operates in Mill Creek to provide estimates of freshwater and ocean survival of salmonids. Spawner surveys estimate adult salmonids and an outmigrant trap estimates out-migrating smolts. [Learn More]

Smith River Surveys

In partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, SRA conducts fish habitat surveys that provide baseline information about Smith tributaries. [Learn More]

Estuary Monitoring

Properly functioning estuaries are vital to survival and success of salmonid populations. SRA has surveyed the habitat quality for rearing juvenile salmonids across the Smith River Plain and estuary. [Learn More]