Living on the edge of their natural range, Scott Creek in Santa Cruz County is one of the southern-most streams where coho salmon and steelhead have persisted for centuries. With¬in the last two decades, the coho salmon population nearly collapsed. While causes for the dramatic decline are being studied, it appears that human-induced impacts in combination with recent poor ocean conditions were the main driving factors.
Monitoring this watershed’s coho salmon and steelhead populations is critical in helping fishery biologists and resource managers understand the effects of human activities and natu¬ral phenomena on habitat so that we can effectively implement restoration and management strategies to recover these iconic species. Under the Coastal Monitoring Program, scientists from the University of California, Santa Cruz, monitor the life cycle of coho salmon and steel-head populations, generating crucial data on marine and freshwater survival, fish movement throughout the watershed, as well as genetic factors affecting the health of the population.