21st Annual Coho Confab Aug 24-26

Coho spawning on the Salmon river. Photo: Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington, Wikimedia Commons.
Coho spawning in the Salmon river. Photo: Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington, Wikimedia Commons.

Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF) is coordinating the 21st Annual Coho Confab August 24-26 in the pristine South Fork Smith River in Del Norte County. The Coho Confab is a field symposium to learn about watershed restoration and techniques to restore and recover coho salmon populations. The Confab provides an ideal opportunity to network with other fish-centric people and to participate in field tours that highlight innovative salmon restoration practices. This year, SRF is collaborating with several groups to produce this educational event including Smith River Alliance, the Yurok Tribe Fisheries Program, and Fiori GeoSciences.

The Coho Confab opens Friday evening, August 24 with a community dinner and keynote presentations. Geologist Michael Furniss will present Geology is Destiny, Why the Smith River is What it Is, pioneering engineer and heavy equipment operator Rocco Fiori will discuss habitat restoration in dynamic systems, and Marisa Parish of Smith River Alliance will present Scale, Biology, and Endurance: Using a Long-term Coho Salmon Monitoring Program to Advance Restoration Planning.

Saturday features a full-day tour of stream and valley floor restoration in Lower Klamath tributaries led by Rocco Fiori and Sarah Beesley of the Yurok Tribal Fisheries Program. Concurrent field tours include a fish passage toolbox tour of fish crossing projects in tributaries to the Smith that utilize geomorphic and hydraulic approaches and solutions. There will also be an afternoon underwater fish identification workshop in the Lower Smith.

The Research to Restoration Open Forum will discuss how coho monitoring can inform priority restoration activities. This forum will include Justin Garwood, who oversees the coho salmon monitoring program in the Smith River; Julie Weeder, SONCC Coho Salmon Recovery Coordinator with NOAA Fisheries; Darren Mierau, North Coast Director of CalTrout; and Patty McCleary of Smith River Alliance. Evening festivities include a traditional salmon bake, campfire, and music with river troubadour, Joanne Rand.

Sunday features two concurrent field tours including Design, Permitting and Monitoring of Beaver Dam Analogues in Lower Klamath Tributaries led by the Yurok Tribal Fisheries Program. There will also be a collaborative tour including Large Woody Debris (LWD) projects led by Dan Burgess of California State Parks, future fish passage projects with the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation and consulting engineer Travis James, and recently completed bridge projects by CalTrans.

To register for the Confab or to view the full agenda, please visit our website at www.calsalmon.org.