Salmon Habitat Restoration Aims to Boost Struggling Salmon Populations in American River

A salmon habitat restoration project along the American River near Carmichael is striving to provide a helping hand to the struggling fish preparing for their fall run.

This stretch of the American River has long played a crucial role in salmon spawning, particularly for fall-run Chinook salmon. Recently, salmon populations have dwindled to the extent that this year’s fishing season for them had to be suspended.

Over the past 15 years, the Sacramento Water Forum has been working tirelessly to transform this area into better salmon habitat. The project includes the transformation of rocks into gravel, a vital resource for fish during spawning.

“Thirty to 50% of the spawning on the river happens in our project sites, so we know that this construction is very important,” said Erica Bishop from the Sacramento Water Forum

California salmon populations have been decimated over the past decades, with a decline from 160,000 fish in 2003 to fewer than 20,000 in recent years. While habitat restoration projects are crucial, state water policies still play an important role as water temperature and availability significantly impact salmon survival.

As the project nears completion, salmon are gearing up to journey up the American River and Sacramento River in late October.

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