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Friends of the Eel River presents these studies and final report as an answer to our continuing question about the health of the watershed. Pat’s enthusiasm to the task is why we engaged him. His voice is heard throughout his writing and his own opinions come to light in the conclusion. FOER sees this as a start of a discussion rather that a confirmed solution. The health and efficient management of this impaired watershed will see a constant need for studies like this in order to inform decisions made.
Fisheries biologist Patrick Higgins (at left) conducted an Eel River fall Chinook salmon survey for Friends of the Eel River from September through the end of December 2010. His field reports and final report are linked from this page. Instead of finding just a few hundred fish and very low flows, as anticipated, the run was one of the largest Chinook salmon returns in recent time and the flows were unusually high due to early rains. An estimated 10,000 to 30,000 Chinook salmon spawned in the Eel River basin in 2010 and the report recommends speedy action to help sustain this level of return and maybe increases it to 100,000 fish.