Video of some of thew 1800 salmon that entered Lower Putah Creek in 2016
More than 1800 Chinook salmon were counted in Lower Putah. Some of these fish were in the 30-40 pound range. Many are strays from Central Valley Hatcheries. I firmly believe that many were wild salmon that were born in the creek. Image of Eric Chapman, U.C. Davis Fisheries researcher holding a large Chinook carcass for the 2016 Putah Creek salmon run.
My main attention is not necessarily on the number of salmon. It is on the quality of the substrate selected by the female for digging her redd (rock nest).
Image shows a male Chinook (female in background). This redd (salmon nest) is armored by the larger cobble that surrounds the redd. Salmon nests such as this one - with the right size cobble - have survived flood waters better than those with smaller cobble. See Inadequate Gravel tab for example of smaller rocks.
Image shows a male Chinook salmon milting (fertilizing) eggs being laid by the female behind him. Ignore all that and look at the size of the gravel in the redd. This redd is in a research area and was buried by gravel mobilized by flood waters. Who knows why the female chose this site for her nest. Possibly because the prime spawning sites were already taken.
Image shows an area that was originally scarified in 2014. Soon after several pair of salmon spawned on the opened gravel. Spawning salmon in 2014, 2015, and 2016 have kept the gravel open and suitable for spawning in 2017. This site is now a control site for the next six years. It will be monitored. There will not be any additional mechanical scarification at this site.