Commentary: A wild opportunity | Opinion – California News

Commentary: A wild opportunity | Opinion – California News

Thousands of Sonoma County residents represented by the Sonoma County Water Coalition and the local Democratic Party seek permanent protection of the headwaters of Felta Creek. Why is this, you may ask?

Felta Creek, west of Healdsburg, is the last place where wild Coho salmon have been found to survive in the Russian River basin. And upper Felta Creek is threatened by logging. This is occurring despite the fact that only restoration and removal of threats to this creek — a “core area” — are permitted.

On the bright side, the 160-acre property on which logging is proposed, is also on the market for resale. The public through our local government, or other conservation organizations in partnership with the county, is well positioned to acquire the property and thereby do an enormous service to protect the last wild Coho, a small subset of an already very small population, in the Russian River.

Why are wild Coho so important?  Coho once migrated up the Russian River in droves and supplied food and nutrients to people, animals and plants. They are a vital part of a sustainable redwood system. Their numbers tell us whether we are actually stopping the slide toward a polluted and damaged environment or not. And, are we moving toward balancing our activities with nature in a manner that sustains us both?

Wild Coho are important also because they have proven themselves over time and know how to survive. The wild salmon are strong and provide an important buffer against diseases and other problems that may arise during recovery…

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