Tuesday January 28, 2014 Jenner CA.
An interesting day studying the river’s mouth area
There was a light fog as I entered Jenner this morning, but the wind was down so it was still nice.
The water was high, so the river’s mouth was still closed. No one else on the water as I put my boat in at the boat ramp and headed across to Penny Island.
Which way to go, up or down river?
Are big fish coming into the river over the closed mouth?
Hummmmmmmmmm, there was a real high, high tide this morning about 7:30 AM or so, 6.5 feet. And the ocean was real rough, so that meant that maybe some big fish came over the closed river’s mouth area during this time.
That made up my mind to go down to the mouth area and see if I could find any fish sign of what I suspect might of happened with the big fish?
It was about 11 AM so I’d be just on the back side of the high tide and the ocean was still real rough, so I didn’t waste any time getting on down that way.
What do those Turkey Vultures have?
And over to the left, behind the jetty, I spied some turkey vultures, so I went over to investigate. Could they just, by chance, be eating one of the big fish that might have come over the sand this morning? It’s the sort of thing I was looking for, but this was more then I expected.
The Turkey vultures let the raven get a bite of the big fish. Actually, non of the birds seemed too hungry, like they were all full. There were also a few hundred seagulls not far from this, sitting on the beach and only a few seagulls tried to get any of it. The vultures seemed to be controlling the situation.
I wanted to see the big fish closer. It was about 24 inches long. Note the sand chute coming down from the jetty. Likely big waves came over this, this morning, and this fish and likely a lot of others didn’t make it and got eaten. But, I bet a lot of them did make it.
I moved away from the dead fish and shortly the vultures came back. I was down there for about two hours and I never did see any of the birds eat that fish vigorously, so I really think they were all too full already. They just picked at it a bit.
It looks like a lot of ocean water came over the sand during the high, high tide
From there, I went over to where the rivers mouth usually is and took this photo. Things to note. The ocean is real rough as you can see it splashing over the jetty rocks. And all the foam in the water means a lot of ocean water has come over the sand and into the river as that’s where this foam comes from.
All this means that big fish likely came into the river on the high, high tide this morning.
From there, I paddled over to the very end of the river and sat for awhile looking around and pondering things.
More detective work
I decided to do a bit more detective work and headed down to the south end of the sandy beach of the river’s mouth area.
I’ve been coming down to Jenner kayaking almost every day for the last six years or so. One of the things I’ve noticed is the ocean is trying to break though this area at the south end of the beach. Those are rail road tracks cutting across the picture up there from the time they built the jetty and the rock jetty is under that sand too.
You likely can’t see it, but water has just recently come though this area big time, enough to bring big fish in at the high, high tide. Remove the jetty and the ocean could break though much easier and more often.
I think if the rock jetty was removed, it might be easier for big fish to come into the estuary during times of the mouth being closed, but during the high, high tides and rough oceans. It looks to me like the rock jetty impedes this process.
An old picture of the river’s mouth area
Here’s a picture of the river’s mouth area. It’s the oldest one I could lay my hands on. I think I found it at the Russian River Historical site, so am giving them credit, if I did?
Normally, the river goes out on the north side when the river is up in the winter and then in the summer works it way back to the south, which to my understanding, it used to go out in the south in the summer. But now the jetty stops it from going further south than the end of the jetty, so it never goes all the way south anymore. North is on the bottom.
That’s one reason to remove the jetty.
The other is because it looks to me like it impedes the spawning of the big fish, like the endangered Coho salmon. It impedes the process of the big fish entering the river when the river’s mouth is closed.
That’s my opinion anyway, from all I’ve observed I think it would be a good idea to put it back to the way it was so the area can function as it used to.
It started to mist
A real light mist started to come in, so I headed on in for the day.
Here’s a picture of the gauge at the visitor center. I made a mistake last night and said the visitor center floor would be flooded at nine feet. Checking that today, I find that I was wrong and it would flood closer to ten feet, which made me realize the gauge is actually indexed to the flooding of the visitor center at ten feet. The gauge is just under eight feet now and no signs have been posted to take out the mouth yet.
The ocean is rough out there
Another reason they might be waiting on taking out the river’s mouth is it’s been real rough out there and it can be dangerous to take equipment out on the sand to open it. Safety first,………. they had some close calls in the past.
I was home early, so had a nap and later went outside and pruned some of my fruit trees, peach and apples mostly. I did about five of them before my back was saying to stop.
Nice day, I learned a lot.