Smith River Surveys
Smith River Level II Stream Surveys
Thanks to a great team and sufficient funding, 2012 was another good year for completing stream habitat surveys. The purpose of the surveys is to identify existing stream channel, riparian and aquatic ecosystem conditions on a watershed scale. Periodic, recurring stream surveys are an integral part of the fish habitat and watershed management programs. These surveys generate the baseline information which is used to support a variety of management activities including watershed analysis, fish habitat and watershed restoration projects, and stream monitoring and evaluation programs.
As inventories are completed and repeated over time, the information generated by them can be useful in measuring changes in stream channel conditions. In 2012 surveys were completed on the upper Middle Fork and Griffin and Monkey Creeks which are tributaries to the Middle Fork. Survey work was also completed on Copper Creek which is a tributary to the lower Smith. Special thanks to our funding partners — the Resource Advisory Committee for Title II Secure Rural Schools Act funding, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Redwood National and State Parks, and Del Norte County.
Volunteer Summer Surveys of Adult Trout and Salmon
The Smith River is famous for the fall-run Chinook salmon and winter-run steelhead trout that support an outstanding fishery, yet few people experience spring-run Chinook salmon and summer steelhead. These other salmonids are too rare to support a fishery, but they are important components of the Smith River’s biodiversity. These large fish reside in the river throughout the summer months. Coastal cutthroat trout are also present in summer and with great abundance.
The exceptional clarity of the Smith River makes it possible to annually survey the abundance and distribution of fish in summer using direct observation (mask and snorkel). The Smith River National Recreation Area (USFS) and the California Department of Fish and Game have intermittently monitored summer adult fish populations of the Smith River since 1982. With the support of these agencies, the Smith River Alliance began in 2000 to sponsor and coordinate a volunteer-based survey of adult fish (aka “Fish Count”). This event has been successful in both contributing to a long term data set on summer fish populations and providing an exceptional educational experience for participants.