Tricia Parker, Chair, U.S. Fish and  Jim Kilgore, U.S. Forest Service,    
Wildlife Service                     Klamath National Forest              

Dennis Maria, Calif. Dept. of Fish   Sue Maurer, At-Large                 
         and Game                                                         

Felice Pace, Klamath Forest          Dan Petit, At-Large                  
California Dept. of Fish and Game    Cattlemen's Association              
Dennis Maria / Jim Whelan (Alt.)     Cliff Munson                         

Farm Bureau                          Klamath Forest Alliance              
Bob Eiler, Jr. / Marcia Armstrong    Felice Pace                          

Marble Mountain Audubon Society      Quartz Valley Reservation            
Ken Maurer / Mary Roehrich (Alt.)    Vacant                               

Scott Valley Chamber of              Scott Valley Grange                  
   Commerce                          Orel Lewis                           
                                     Scott Valley Irrigation District     
Scott Valley Hay Growers             Mike Bryan                           
Dave Krell                                                                

Siskiyou County                      Siskiyou Resource Conservation       
Kay Bryan                              District                           
Dave Krone / Ernie Wilkinson         

Small Landowners  - At-Large                                              
Bob Pease / Dan Petit, Sue Maurer    Timberland Owners - small            
  (Alt.) / Butch Russ                Vacant                               

Timberland Owners - Large            U.S Forest Service                   
Charlie Brown                        Jay Power / Bob Lindsay (Alt.) /     
   Jim Kilgore (Alt.)
Mike Bryan, Chair
Mary Roehrich, Vice-Chair
Freda Walker, Facilitator
Gena Evans, Project Manager
Sari Sommarstrom, Program Coordinator
Scott River Watershed CRMP
P.O. Box 268
Etna CA 96027
(916) 467-3975
The Scott River and many of its tributaries support runs of three species of anadromous fish species: chinook (king) salmon, coho (silver) salmon, and steelhead. The Scott River produces a large proportion of the natural fall chinook salmon in the Klamath River system. In four of the last six years, the Scott was the largest contributor of natural fall chinook spawners in any Klamath tributary (excluding the Trinity) or mainstem reach (Table 1). In 1994, severe low flow conditions in the Scott impeded access by spawners and the data below show the Scott's count was lower than most other sections of the Klamath Basin.

Table 1. Klamath Basin fall-run chinook salmon natural spawner escapement, upstream of Trinity River. (Total count: adults plus grilse) 

Location      1989      1990       1991      1992       1993      1994     

Scott River   4,188     1,615      2,165     2,581      5,300     2,863    

Salmon        3,610     4,667      1,480     1,524      3,533     3,493    

Shasta        1,577     533        726       541        1,426     5,358    

Bogus Creek   2,662     785        1,281     1,152      3,716     8,206    

Misc.         3,487     724        504       578        2,562     1,252    

Main stem     1,225     564        580       600        678       3,4041   

TOTAL         16,749    8,888      6,736     6,976      17,215    24,576

Source: Calif. Dept. of Fish and Game; 1/ USFWS, Arcata (# redds x 2).

In 1965, the California Dept. of Fish and Game (CDFG) estimated the Scott River's fish population at 10,000 chinook, 2,000 coho, and 20,000-40,000 steelhead (CDWR, 1965). The last time the Scott's chinook population reached 10,000 was in 1982, with the past six years averaging 3,119 spawners. (In contrast, the Shasta River's fall chinook population has dropped from counts in the 1930s of 40,000 to an average of 1,694 in the last six years.) No estimates are available of current coho and steelhead populations in the Scott.

The national American Fisheries Society (AFS), a professional organization of fisheries scientists, recently identified which Pacific salmon stocks are at some level of "risk of extinction", as they termed it (Nehlsen et al, 1991). While not at high or moderate risk of extinction, the fall chinook stock in the Scott was specifically noted by AFS in a third priority category called "of special concern". Coho salmon for the entire Klamath River Basin were also identified as "of special concern", while steelhead (winter race) were not identified. A later AFS report from the Humboldt County Chapter indicated that the coho in the Scott River were at "high risk of extinction", meaning that populations showed continuing spawner declines with fewer than 200 adults (AFS, 1992).

In October 1993, the Pacific Rivers Council and many other environmental groups petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to include the Pacific coho salmon on the federal endangered species list (ONRC, 1993; PRC, 1993). In March 1995, NMFS announced that steelhead populations in the Klamath Mountains Province are proposed for listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, with the final ruling to be decided by March 1996. NMFS is also evaluating the need to list chinook salmon in Pacific Coast states.

What is presently known about the life histories of the Scott River's salmon and steelhead is described in a recent report by the California Dept. of Fish and Game (Maria, 1994). Three anadromous (meaning "ocean-running") salmonid species presently occur within the Scott: chinook (formerly called "king") salmon, coho (or "silver") salmon, and steelhead.

Chinook salmon are fall-run, entering the Scott in September and continuing their spawning run into December. As soon as spawning occurs, egg incubation begins; emergence of fry takes place from late November through March. While most juvenile smolts will move downstream, or outmigrate, to the Klamath, the estuary and ocean in the spring, new data are revealing that at least a modest number are spending the summer in the stream and outmigrating in the fall. Fall chinook will spend from 2 to 4 years in the ocean before returning to the Scott River as adults and repeating the cycle. The best fisheries data from the Scott is the annual (since 1978) fall chinook spawner escapement estimate, done by carcass and redd counts.

Once the dominant chinook run in the Scott and Klamath, spring-run chinook existed in the Scott River into the 1950's (S. Farrington, in: West et al, 1990).

Coho salmon adults arrive in the Scott from mid-October through January as mostly 3-year-old spawners. Smaller than the chinook, coho prefer tributaries for spawning. Egg incubation lasts through early May; hatching occurs from February through mid-June. It is believed that juvenile coho stay in the Scott for about 14 months, outmigrating as yearling smolts from May through mid-August. Data is needed on outmigration timing, population trends, and spawning and rearing locations. As coho reside in the stream for at least one year (like the steelhead), adequate rearing habitat is critical. Coho juveniles have recently been observed throughout the watershed, including in the upper reaches of Scott River and in French Creek (D. Maria, CDFG, pers. comm.).

Steelhead adults migrate in two separate runs. The fall-run, which includes a large number of immature "half-pounders", moves into the Scott in October and November, while the later winter-run occurs from December through April. It is not known if the two runs spawn at different times or select different locations for spawning. Unlike salmon, steelhead may spawn more than once. Colder water temperatures slow egg and alevin development, with hatching and emergence occurring from April through July. From 1 to 3 years is spent by the juvenile steelhead in their nursery stream before outmigrating to the estuary and ocean. Another 1 to 4 years passes in the ocean before the adults migrate upriver again to their spawning grounds in the Scott. Recent information indicates that remnant summer (spring-run) steelhead are still present, with adult steelhead observed in the mid-Scott River in August 1994 (D. Maria, CDFG, pers. comm.)