Salmonid Restoration Federation

Kate presents on a panel about process-based restoration to the 2023 SRF attendees in Fortuna, CA. (Photo: Brock Dolman / OAEC)

The Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF) is an organization wholly devoted to salmon restoration in California. It is notable not only for its engagement with tribal entities, academics, research scientists, agency staff, and politicians but also for its deep involvement with restoration practitioners. SRF is well respected by both federal and state agencies.

SRF’s annual keynote conference, known as SRF, serves as a pivotal event that unites diverse partners within the salmonid restoration community. This convening offers invaluable opportunities to exchange ideas, foster collective learning, and advance our shared work. Additionally, SRF organizes smaller, regional sub-conferences and the Coho-specific, Coho Confab, which further enhances collaboration within the community. 

Brock first attended SRF in 2004, eager to introduce the beaver idea into salmonid restoration efforts. Brock was following beaver restoration efforts closely, knowing that beaver dams create complex, slow-moving aquatic habitats that provide food, shelter, and breeding grounds for many fish. Beaver restoration was starting to take off in Oregon and Washington, but there was no movement yet in California. He initially faced pushback from the community, being told that beavers aren’t good for the safe passage of fish and that they’re not native to California. 

This feedback illuminated the challenges and opportunities we were facing with the normalization of beaver restoration as a tool for salmonid recovery and we took it as important information. SRF remained open to the conversation and acceptance increased drastically when Brock encouraged them to invite NOAA Fisheries Ecosystems Analyst, Dr. Michael Pollock, to present at the 2010 conference. Pollock presented his research correlating the benefits of beaver to coho salmon helping legitimize the idea of beaver to the fish restoration community. Our papers in 2012 and 2013, presented to the SRF community, also introduced important evidence that beaver are native to California. SRF became so supportive of beaver for salmon restoration that they gave Brock the Golden Pipe Award in 2012 for beaver innovation, reflecting a critical pivot in turning our first beaver skeptics into beaver believers.

SRF has become one of our biggest supporters of both bringing back the beavers as well as the promotion of process-based restoration. We are so grateful for the now 20-year relationship. We are frequent speakers, panelists, emcees, and tour leaders at their annual conference and Coho Confabs. We are also pleased to have a number of WATER Institute projects featured in Collaborative Water Management: A Guide to Enhancing Streamflow and Water Supply Reliability in California’s Rural Watersheds and Communities a joint SRF & The Nature Conservancy publication. We appreciate the opportunities to achieve increasing beaver and process-based restoration literacy in the salmonid community.

The SRF community touring a process-based restoration project. (Photo: Brock Dolman / OAEC)