The following article is reprinted from October 13, 2022, published by Water Forum.
By Jessica Law, Executive Director
Water Forum teams are in the final clean-up stages at the Water Forum’s Habitat Project at Nimbus Basin, signaling the successful on-time completion of the Water Forum’s 2022 Habitat Projects at the Basin and Lower Sailor Bar.
Since August 1, teams have been working to enhance crucial habitat in the Lower American River for native fall-run Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, which return to the river to spawn during their annual migration from October through February.
In the egg-laying process, females create a “nest” (called a redd) in loose gravel in flowing water, depositing their eggs and then covering them up with more gravel. Once hatched, young salmon move to the river’s shallow, slower moving areas to find protection from predators and grow before eventually swimming out to the Pacific Ocean.
To aid this natural process, Water Forum teams collectively laid approximately 41,000 cubic yards of clean gravel into the flowing river and carved side channels into existing gravel bars. They also added large woody material into the side channels to create places for young fish to hide from predators, provide shade, and a place for insects to grow for feeding the fish and provide habitat for many other Parkway species.
The Water Forum now moves into the monitoring stage for the projects, carefully tracking and counting the number of redds over the next several months to monitor results. Previous projects have created a surge in native fish nests within several months following construction.
You can learn more about the 2022 Projects at waterforum.org/habitat2022.