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Defending the Watershed in Soquel

Defending the Watershed in Soquel: How you can help
by SDSF (as told to J. Zimmerman)

What is SDSF?

Information on the SDSF (Soquel Demonstration State Forest) is shown elsewhere.

Why are steelhead trout monitored?

The success in cleaning and recovery of the California watersheds is seen by steelhead trout monitoring in SDSF. Here news on the opportunity to participate in annual steelhead trout monitoring, such as in October 2-5, 2001.

Watershed recovery

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You can help in the great progress in efforts to restore steelhead trout, and hopefully Coho salmon, in the Soquel Creek watershed. Here's how.

To measure the progress, fish populations of Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF) are sampled each fall by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, with the assistance of the Department of Fish and Game.

Especially welcome is help of volunteers.

The same four locations within SDSF are inventoried each year. Fish are momentarily stunned by an electro fishing device, then netted and collected in buckets.

Steelhead trout are the primary fish present. Threespined stickleback and prickly sculpin are also occasionally found. Most of the steelhead inventoried are "young-of-the-year," which are fish that hatched in the spring from eggs laid in the stream-bed gravels by spawning adults in the winter. Young-of-the-year are usually 2 to 3.5 inches in length when measured in the fall.

Usually, each field day begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. Volunteers assist in netting and measuring the fish and collecting habitat type, stream canopy, and other information. Two of the four days involve a challenging hike over difficult terrain to get to the creek. Individuals can volunteer for one or more days. A full-day commitment is necessary due to the logistics involved.

The scenery and company are terrific, and the project is a great way to learn more about the local fishery and watershed. For more information, or to volunteer, call the SDSF office at (831) 475-8643.

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