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47th Annual Salmon BBQ on July 7

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TASTE News Service, June 4, 2018 - For 46 years the Salmon Restoration Association has put on the biggest summer community party on the Mendocino coast.

It draws over 3,000 people, from California and locations all over the country. Each year, the motels, B&Bs, and campgrounds are sold out months in advance. There are some families who have come to every single SRA Barbecue and have a complete commemorative T-shirt collection to prove it!

Salmon BBQ 2 Picmonkey


On July 7 this year, the 47th great Coho salmon Party will take place with the help of many local organizations, businesses and hundreds of individuals who give of their time, talents, and goods. All of the net proceeds from the Salmon Barbecue are used to fund habitat restoration projects, assessments of fish health and numbers, and environmental education

The wild caught salmon is prepared with a special “secret” marinade before going on the grill and is served with corn on the cob, salad and garlic bread. A vegetarian option and hot dogs ensure that everyone will be well fed. And to drink, a selection of award-winning microbrews from North Coast Brewing, Fair Trade coffee from Thanksgiving Coffee and Barefoot wines, as well as soft drinks, are available. Local Cowlicks ice cream can top off the meal.

Music is another good reason to come to this party. Great local musical groups Earl Oliver, the Coastal Rangers, Highway One, Steven Bates and Friends and surprise celebrity musicians entertain all day.

Further information and tickets are available at www.salmonrestoration.org.


Editor’s Note: Though Taste California Travel has not attended this long-running salmon extravaganza, it sounds like a great party and one that supports a worthy cause. Following is some background information supplied by the organizers:

Why do we eat salmon to save salmon?

There was a time when some say you could “walk across streams on the backs” of the spawning local Coho salmon they were so numerous. Even in the last ten years the salmon fishing was so good that this barbecue was supplied entirely by fish donated by local fishermen and the fishing party boats. But the Coho species of salmon were not on the menu. Their population had declined alarmingly.

In the past few years the salmon served at the BBQ have come from Washington and Alaska, where several species are still plentiful. Often they have been caught by local Fort Bragg fishermen and women who had to take their boats north to make a living.

salmon fish footer Picmonkey

What happens to the money that SRA makes from the BBQ proceeds?

Since at least as far back as 1971, SRA has been a non-profit business dedicated to restoring the salmon population in our local streams and rivers. The ideas about saving fish have changed over the years, as science has guided restoration efforts. Where once there was a fish hatchery and many dams, there are now many waterways open to the salmon’s need to travel upstream to reproduce, and stream beds restored to the conditions that preceded the heavy logging practices of the past.

Habitat Restoration Projects

Here are a few of the restoration projects that the Salmon Restoration Association has approved and helped facilitate and fund in recent years.

- $30,000 as part of a $150,000 Noyo Watershed Alliance effort to replace a blocked salmon passage from the Noyo River into Kass Creek. A film of the Kass Creek restoration was done by Campbell Timberlands, paid for by the SRA and produced through the Noyo Watershed Alliance.

- $12,000 to Jughandle Farm for a Fort Bragg middle school project to restore native plants and stabilize stream banks in Fort Bragg’s Otis Johnson Park.

- $15,000 to Big River/Noyo Watershed coalition for stream restoration on Upper Noyo and Big River stream restoration projects.

- $3,000 for the James Creek Sediment Assessment and Fish Passage Planning Project.

- $5,000 for a salmon survey on Anderson Creek, a tributary to the Eel River.

- $39,486 for Big River Watershed Program of Mendocino Land Trust to remove two dams from the Little North Fork of Big River and Water Gulch, and to address a barrier to adult migration on lower James Creek. These dams prevented juvenile Coho salmon from accessing 9.5 and 2.6 miles of suitable upstream habitat respectively.

- $15,000 to Mendocino Land Trust for stream restoration on the upper Noyo River

- Several projects by Eel River Recover Project to assess fish health and numbers on the upper tributaries of the Eel River.

- This year we will be teaming with Trout Unlimited on stream restoration projects on more branches of the upper Noyo River.

The second mission of SRA is to provide environmental education.

- SRA helps fund the SONAR (School of Natural Resources) program at Mendocino High School. These students study not only the biology and ecology of our local river and stream systems, but they also use the scientific protocols for actual field research so their data can be used by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) and National Oceanographic and Aeronautical Administration (NOAA) for their studies of marine and estuarial ecology. Many SONAR students go on into careers in science.

- SRA Salmon Film Festivals provided fascinating information for the public with two days of long and short format films and introductory talks.

- $5,000 to provide forums to help local people understand the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative.

- SRA has also sponsored several other public forums to provide accurate and non-political information about issues critical to marine fisheries in our region.

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