Bibliography Background About KRIS

Hypothesis #4:  High levels of sediment limit salmonid production in Salmon, Americano, Stemple and Walker creeks.  

Sedimentation has degraded fish spawning habitat in Salmon Creek according to documents by the State Coastal Conservancy (CSCC 1987) and various field reports by the California Department of Fish and Game. The Coastal Conservancy report presents the results of a 1986 erosion inventory which noted that debris slides and flows were common in the upper watershed and that severe aggradation has occurred in the lower reaches of many tributaries.  A 1970 stream survey (CDFG 1970) found that Fay Creek, a tributary of Salmon Creek, was not as productive a salmonid stream as would be expected, partly due to an excess of silt  and the absence of juvenile coho salmon from a 1986 California Department of Fish and Game survey was believed to be caused by a winter storm which scoured spawning beds. The Coastal Conservancy report provided recommendations for enhancement of this watershed, and the California Department of Fish and Game funded a watershed assessment in 2003 that will prioritize sediment sources for remediation.  The Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District, the Bodega Land Trust and others have been involved in erosion control activities in the watershed. 

Sedimentation is also significant in the Americano Creek watershed, where it has contributed to the loss of anadromous fish nursery and spawning habitat (CSCC 1987). The Estero de San Antonio used to be a navigable waterway for a portion of its length and originally had a self-maintaining opening at the mouth (CSCC 1987). A field reconnaissance of the watershed in 1988 revealed an absence of good spawning habitat (Buell and Associates, 1988). Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District also works in this watershed with landowners on erosion control projects. 

Stemple Creek is listed as a waterbody impaired by sediment (CRWQCB 2002) and a TMDL was established for the watershed in 1997 which set numeric targets for sediment, as well as water quality parameters, and provided an implementation and monitoring plan to help reach these goals (Salisbury 1997).   The California Department of Fish and Game noted in 1976 that there are no longer areas suitable for salmonid spawning due to siltation and erosion (CDFG 1976).  Sediment has decreased stream depth and the streambed is composed of fine sediments and lacks coarse gravel needed for salmonid spawning (UCCE 1995). 

The Stemple Creek Watershed Enhancement Plan (PCI 1994) relies on an erosion and sediment study by the USDA Soil Conservation Service (1992) which concludes that channel erosion, primarily gullies, contributes almost 70% of the total sediment, with over 80% of the sediment coming from the lower watershed.  The most significant adverse effect of this sedimentation may be degradation of the Estero.  The Enhancement Plan states, "The Estero de San Antonio has lost 80% of its historic volume due to sedimentation. Soil corings indicate that the original marshplain close to the mouth of the Estero is buried under two to three feet of sediment. Although much of this sediment came during the last century when annual crops were widely grown in the area, erosion continues today, particularly in the steep, Franciscan-derived soils west of Highway 1 .... Without erosion control, the Estero will continue to fill in at an accelerated rate and the mouth will remain closed for increasingly longer periods of time, resulting in conditions of low oxygen, toxic accumulation and possible hypersalinity". 

Walker Creek is currently listed as impaired for sediment under Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act (CRWQCB 2002) and the California Department of Fish and Game listed severe erosion and siltation as a factor in the deterioration of fisheries values in the creek (CDFG 1959).   Several field investigations have noted that high percentages of fine sediment and embeddedness of spawning gravels are major adverse factor for salmonid habitat (Kelley 1976, Emig 1984, Bratovich et al. 1984, Rich 1989).  The filling of Lower Keys Creek, which was historically navigable for ships to near Tomales, and the growth of the delta at the mouth of Walker Creek (UCCE 1995) provides additional evidence of significant sedimentation in the watershed.  Haible (1976) has noted that some reaches of the watershed have incised five feet upstream and aggraded four feet downstream.  The Marin Resource Conservation District has sponsored erosion and sediment studies, as well as an enhancement plan for the watershed (PCI 2001, Chatham, S. et al. 1986).  They have also worked with landowners on erosion control projects.

KRIS Topics

The following Topics in KRIS West-Marin Sonoma provide information 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) Tour: Stemple Creek Restoration and Habitat Maps

(SC) Sediment: Stemple Cr Percent Sediment Yield Surface/Channel 1992

(SC) Tour: Stemple Creek Marin RCD Restoration Photos

(WC) Tour: Historical Photos of the Town of Tomales

(WC) Sediment: Walker Creek Erosion Priorities by Sub-Watershed 2001

(WC) Tour: Mouth of Walker Creek circa 1980-95


Bratovich, P. M., H. Brooks, and D. Kelley. 1984. Investigations on Lagunitas Creek, Marin County, California. Second progress report. Note: Citation only.

California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG). 1959. Walker Creek (Tomales Bay tributary) stream survey, 14 December 1959. CDFG unpublished file memo by J.T. Allen. Yountville, CA. 3 pp. [54kb]**

California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG). 1970. Fay Creek (Salmon Creek tributary) stream survey, 05 August 1970. Unpublished CDFG file memo by R. Klamt. Yountville, CA. 4 pp. [32kb]**

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]**

California Regional Water Quality Control Board (CRWQCB). 2002. 2002 Clean Water Act Section 303(d) list of water quality limited segments. CRWQCB, San Francisco Bay Region. San Francisco, CA. 199 pp. [711kb]

California State Coastal Conservancy and Circuit Rider Productions Inc. 1987. Sonoma County Coastal Wetlands Enhancement Plan. March, 1987. Note: Citation only.

Chatham, S., L. Prunuske, and R. Pasquinelli. 1986. The Walker Creek Watershed Restoration Program, report of findings and recommendations of an inventory of erosion problems in the watershed. Prepared for the Marin Resource Conservation District. 22 pp. plus appendices Note: Citation only.

Chatham, S. and H. Appleton. 1988. Stemple Creek watershed inventory of erosion sites, May 1998. Prepared for the Southern Sonoma County Resource Conservation District and Marin Resource Conservation District by Prunuske Chatham Inc. Note: Citation only.

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]**

Haible, W. W. 1976. Holocene profile changes along a California coastal stream. Master of Science Thesis. U.C. Berkeley. 74 pp. Note: Citation only.

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]****

Prunuske Chatham Inc. 1994. Stemple Creek/Estero de San Antonio watershed enhancement plan. Prepared for Marin Resource Conservation District and Southern Sonoma County Resource Conservation District. Occidental, CA. 175 pp. [1.2Mb]**

Prunuske Chatham Inc. 2001. Walker Creek watershed enhancement plan. Prepared for Marin County Resource Conservation District . Point Reyes Station, CA. 101 pp. [43Mb]

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]**

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