Chinook salmon are spawning in the upper-Columbia River system in Washington state for the first time in 80 years.
Tribal biologists have discovered 36 “redds” (where a female salmon deposits her eggs) along a prime eight-mile spawning stretch of a tributary of the Columbia called the Sanpoil River confirmed the Colville Tribe’s suspicions.
The restoration of the salmon was due to Confederated Tribes of the Colville System have been planning and researching how it would be possible to restore salmon populations to the river systems above two dams built in the 1930s and ’50s which prevented the fish from reaching the higher levels of the river system to spawn, as they had done for generations.
According to another report from public radio, it could be 10-15 years before the tribes big-picture feasibility studies are concluded, since they would need to observe salmon coming and going while spending years out at sea.
“Our ancestors carried a prayer that our salmon would one day return to the Upper Columbia,” Colville Business Council chairman Rodney Cawston said in a statement. “With all the prayers that were made historically and today, combined with all the efforts of our fisheries staff, our leaders and many others who are joined in this effort, we can bring our fish home.”