How Many Salmon Return to Our California Streams?

The Status of California’s Salmon and Steelhead

In 2016/2017, estimates of fish returning to spawn in monitored California rivers were 119,000 Chinook, 7,500 coho, and 5,600 steelhead. Another 67,000 were known to return to California’s hatcheries and 38,000 Chinook were estimated to have been harvested in river. The total estimate of monitored fish is 237,000.

The upper Klamath River landscape in Klamath, northern California. The Yurok tribe owns land along the river and participates in a forest carbon offset program that was developed by the Nature Conservancy. © Kevin Arnold
The Shasta River shown flowing through the Nature Conservancy’s Shasta Big Springs Ranch below Mount Shasta in northern California. The upper reaches of the Shasta River hold the best hope for restoring salmon populations in the Klamath Basin of northern California and southern Oregon, and the Conservancy’s Shasta Big Springs Ranch is a key property in that recovery effort. The 4,136 acres Shasta Big Springs Ranch (formerly, Busk Ranch) is the source of large cold water springs that support over 80% of the coho salmon found rearing in the Shasta. Protecting this ranch is a major link in restoring the salmon habitat in California. © Bridget Besaw
View of oak woodlands and riparian habitat along the Michigan Bar in the Cosumnes River watershed, CA. Located on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, the Cosumnes River and its watershed of wetlands and deltas offers habitat for thousands of birds and native fish as well as unique valley oak streamside ecosystems. TNC works to protect these natural communities from development, over-pumping of groundwater and a variety of other threats associated with a burgeoning population in the Great Central Valley of California. © Karen Gregg Elliott/TNC
Image of Santa Clara River snaking through vegetation, with exotic species in the foreground. The Nature Conservancy has played a large role in protecting the Santa Clara River and its tributaries in Southern California. 1/3 of the river winds through Ventura County, and TNC is taking on the LA portion of the river to reach the goal of protecting 30,000 acres. The Santa Clara River is one of the most important and intact river systems in Southern California and offers some of the last riparian and freshwater habitat for wildlife in Southern California within hundreds of miles. © Barbara Wampole

Restoration From Headwaters to the Sea

Coho salmon, Chinook salmon and steelhead depend on all aspects of stream health during their lifecycle. From watershed headwaters to river’s mouth, salmon and steelhead rely on stream well-being for survival and reproduction.

Snapshot Watersheds

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Coho salmon, Chinook salmon and steelhead depend on all aspects of stream health during their lifecycle. From watershed headwaters to river’s mouth, salmon and steelhead rely on stream well-being for survival and reproduction.

Albion River

Coho
Year Population Trend
2017-2018 85
Fall-run Chinook
Year Population Trend
2017-2018 0
Winter Steelhead
Year Population Trend
2017-2018 54
Read more
Mouth of the Klamath River in Yurok territory in CaliforniaMouth of the Klamath River in Yurok territory in California. The Klamath is at the core of Yurok history and daily life. © Kevin Arnold

Restoration Partners

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The salmon conservation community involves people working in non-profit conservation organizations, federal, state, and local resource agencies, water agencies, tribes, and private entities, such as timber companies. Over 100 organizations around the state are listed here that are involved in salmon recovery and habitat restoration efforts. Learn about the restoration partners and their projects in the Salmon Snapshot watersheds.