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Sunday, December 26, 2010

First Conservation “Fish Bank” Along Coastal California

NOAA Approves First Conservation 
“Bank” Along Coastal

NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Fisheries Service has approved the East Austin Creek Conservation Bank designed to permanently preserve and restore over 400 acres of prime habitat for the preservation and recovery of federally endangered Central California Coast Coho salmon and threatened steelhead. The bank will be managed by the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in perpetuity.

A conservation bank is a free-market enterprise that offers landowners an economic incentive to protect, preserve and restore habitats for species listed as protected under the Endangered Species Act. In exchange, the landowner banks habitat “credits” that may be sold to groups like the Federal Highway Administration, the California Department of Transportation, local agencies, and others to compensate for adverse impacts on threatened or endangered species, or their habitats, caused by proposed projects.

The East Austin Creek Conservation Bank is located in the lower Russian River drainage and adjacent to the Austin Creek State Recreation Area; an area with perennial flows of cold water provide good habitat for salmon and steelhead, particularly during the critical summer rearing period. The location of the bank is designated in the draft Central California Coast coho salmon federal recovery plan as a “core recovery area;” the highest priority site for habitat restoration and preservation for critically endangered coho salmon.

The bank owner, Mrs. Nancy Summers, is not only conducting extensive restoration work but is also providing a new home for young coho salmon produced from broodstock raised in captivity by the collaborative Russian River Coho Salmon Captive Broodstock Program. The landowner has allowed program staff access to the bank property for in-stream habitat monitoring, fall out-planting of coho salmon this year, monitoring of adult returns and possible additional out-planting in later years. This represents a significant achievement of agency and landowner partnership on endangered species issues. The preservation and restoration of the property will also have ecosystem benefits by providing habitats to many of the rare and endemic plants and animals that depend on these habitats to thrive.
For more information regarding the bank please visit and scroll down to the East Austin Creek Conservation Bank.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at or on Facebook at

On the Web:
Photos of East Austin Creek Conservation Bank:
North Central California Coast Recovery:
NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service:
Russian River Captive Broodstock Program:

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