by Sean Case: GRWC Science & Monitoring…
Winter is always an exciting time on the Gualala. Usually winter is punctuated by lots of rain and big winter storms. This year has definitely been a lot drier than normal but we are keeping our fingers crossed for later season rain events. High water and big rains are always interesting to watch, but what is really exciting is the return of spawning adult salmonids. Although the river levels have been low, the Gualala bar has been opening and adults have been coming in.
We just finished up our spawning survey volunteer training and it has been great to see new and old faces out helping us monitor the winter spawning season. We have been seeing adults in the main stem of the Gualala as well as the major tributaries. From what we have been seeing and hearing it seems that the Steelhead run has been strong this year despite the lower flows.
Hopefully, through the expansion of our spawning survey program, we will be able to start producing accurate population estimates for salmonids in the Gualala. In the future, this will allow us to start to tie together what effect low or high rain years may have on salmonid populations and their ability to successfully reproduce.