Bibliography Background About KRIS

Hypothesis #2:  High water temperature limits salmonid production in Salmon, Americano, Stemple and Walker Creeks.

High water temperatures may be limiting salmonid populations in four streams of the West Marin-Sonoma area.  Unfortunately, continuous thermograph data were not available for these streams, but only for the Lagunitas watershed and Redwood Creek where temperature does not appear to be significant limiting factor.  Charts of available temperature data for Salmon Creek, Americano Creek, Stemple Creek, and Walker Creek are shown below.  More intensive temperature monitoring of these streams would be useful mapping the area and quantifying the extent to which temperature is a problem.  Such monitoring would also provide a basis for tracking changes in water temperature in relation to climate and restoration activities.

Data from Merritt Smith Consulting (1996) shows that maximum temperatures at each Stemple Creek site examined in the years 1988-1990 exceeded optimum for rearing salmonids.  However, average temperatures were within the range of optimum.



Americano Creek sites examined by Merrit Smith Consulting in 1988-1990 exceeded optimum for rearing salmonids.  However, average temperatures were within the range of optimum. 



The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG 2000, 2001) found maximum temperatures over optimum and average temperatures generally within the optimum range in Stemple and Americano Creeks but this monitoring had very few measurements during the July through October period when temperatures are highest.  Studies conducted in the Stemple Creek watershed by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (NCRWQCB) also found temperatures above optimum during summer monitoring (CRWQCB, 1995). The NCRWQCB has developed a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Stemple Creek watershed, which established numeric water temperature targets at 20°C and 13.8°C to be met from May-November and December-April, respectively, at a specific freshwater and saline location by 2004 (Salisbury, 1997). 

High water temperatures were reported as a factor of decline in salmonid populations in Walker Creek (Rich 1989, Kelley 1976, UCCE 1995).  Kelley stated that temperatures were unlikely to be a major factor in the decline of salmonids, although Rich and Bill Cox with the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) believe summer temperatures could be a limiting factor (UCCE 1995).  Emig (1984) remarked that excessive mortality of coho smolts planted in 1980 occurred due to high water temperatures and poor conditions of fish and reported water temperature at one site at 17.5°C.  CDFG (1998) recorded daily high summer temperatures in Walker Creek that were above optimum during 1998.  The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board measured water temperatures during 2002 and found average temperatures at the high optimum level and maximum temperatures above optimum in the summer.  The Marin Municipal Water District, Marin Resource Conservation District (MRCD), and Marin County Office of Education have participated in riparian revegetation over the last couple decades and summer flows have been augmented by releases from the Soulajule Reservoir since 1980.  In addition, MRCD sponsored a recent riparian assessment and restoration plan for the watershed (PCI 2001).

Limited sampling of water temperature occurred in Salmon Creek watershed during 1996 (Brouwer and Hall 1996) and shows above optimum temperatures at most locations.  This survey was very limited in scope.



This graph shows one-time sampling measurements of temperature at five stations (going downstream from left to right) in Salmon Creek on June 22, 2001. These data were collected by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board as a part of the Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP).  Measurements were taken between 10:40 am and 1:40 pm.



(Note: all references to optimum salmonid rearing temperatures (10-15.6°C) were derived from McCullough 1999).

KRIS Topics

The following Topics in KRIS West-Marin Sonoma provide data relevant to the hypothesis.  The two-letter abbreviations refer to the sub-basin where the topic is located.  From each topic, the Info Links tab provides access to background information and relevant documents.

(SC) Temperature: Stemple Creek/Estero de San Antonio 1988-1990

(AC) Temperature: Americano Creek/Estero Americano 1988-1990

(AC) Temperature: Bloomfield Fork, 1997-2000

(SC) Temperature: Stemple Creek 1992-1993

(SC) Temperature: Stemple Creek/Estero de San Antonio 1992-1993

(SS) Temperature: Salmon Creek 1996

(SS) Temperature: Salmon Creek 2001


Brouwer, L. and J. Hall. 1996. Evaluating water quality suitable for coho salmon: A comparison of the Salmon Creek and Lagunitas Creek Stream systems. Student report written for Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California, Davis. Note: Citation only.

California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG). 1998. Walker Creek, Marin County, water temperatures - summer 1998. Unpublished CDFG file memo by W. Cox. Yountville, CA. 1 p. [35kb]

California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG). 2001. Draft environmental document analyzing the California Fish and Game Commission's special order relating to incidental take of coho salmon north of San Francisco during the candidacy period . Resources Agency, CDFG. Sacramento, CA . 164 pp. without graphics [709kb]

California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG). 2002. Status review of California coho salmon north of San Francisco: Report to the California Fish and Game Commission. CDFG. Sacramento, CA. 336 pp. [6.9Mb]

California Regional Water Quality Control Board (CRWQCB). 1995. Stemple Creek water quality characteristics and a maximum daily load process, Marin and Sonoma Counties . CRWQCB, North Coast Region . Santa Rosa, CA. 33 pp. [1.1Mb]**

Emig, J. W. 1984. Fish population survey, Walker Creek, Marin County, 1981. California Department of Fish and Game. Anadromous Fisheries Branch. Administrative Report No. 84-02 . Sacramento, CA. 15 pp. [63kb]**

Kelley, D. W. 1976. The possibility of restoring salmon and steelhead runs in Walker Creek, Marin County . Prepared for the Marin Municipal Water District . Sacramento, CA. 64 pp. [1.4Mb]****

Merritt Smith Consulting (MSC). 1996. Environmental conditions in west County waterways. Santa Rosa Subregional Long-term Wastewater Project. Prepared for City of Santa Rosa and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Prepared by MSC for Harland Bartholomew & Associates. Layfette, CA. 206 pp. [11.8Mb]

Rich A.A. and Associates. 1989. Fishery resources habitat surveys in Walker Creek, Marin County. Prepared for Marin County Resource Conservation District. Point Reyes Station, CA. 25 pp. [82kb]**

Salisbury, D. L. 1997. Total maximum daily load and attainment strategy for the Stemple Creek watershed. Prepared for the California Regional Water Quality Control Board North Coast Region. Santa Rosa, CA. 38 pp. [164kb]** 164k.

University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE). 1995. The Marin coastal watershed enhancement project final report . Novato, CA. 89 pp. [1.9Mb]**