Wildlife Officials Release 500,000 Salmon into Klamath River During Dam Removal

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) celebrated a milestone achievement this week with the successful release of approximately 500,000 juvenile salmon into the Klamath River just below the Iron Gate Dam.

Joined by leaders from the Karuk, Yurok, Shasta Indian Nation, and the Quartz Valley Indian tribes on Tuesday, April 16, CDFW released about 90,000 yearling coho salmon. This marked the first major release of coho salmon, a state and federally listed threatened species, into the Klamath River since dam removal efforts began in earnest late last year.

The fish, which were trucked about 7 miles from CDFW’s new Fall Creek Fish Hatchery in Siskiyou County, were released following remarks and a Tribal blessing.

“We’re all here for the same reason. We’re all here to pray for these fish to make it and to see justice for our people down river,” said Kenneth Brink, Vice Chairman of the Karuk Tribe. “It’s a different time we are living in now. Our kids no longer have to see our river die. We are watching our river heal now. It’s a great time.”

On April 17, CDFW released over 400,000 fall-run Chinook salmon fry from the same location below Iron Gate, further contributing to the river’s revitalization efforts.

The Klamath River dam removal project stands as the largest of its kind in U.S. history, aiming to rejuvenate over 400 miles of river habitat essential for salmon and other aquatic species. By dismantling these longstanding barriers, the project promises to restore the river’s ecological balance and support the cultural and economic wellbeing of the communities and tribes that depend on it.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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