Fish are jumpin’

By Lynne Goldsmith, former Bike Program Director, LA Metro

The ECOS Field Trip to the American River in October 2021 witnessed habitat restoration work, that is, gravel restoration in the lower American River to promote the wild spawning of native steelhead and salmon. The Nimbus and Folsom Dams limit the flow of gravel and sediments necessary for a quality spawning and rearing habitat in the lower American River. This habitat restoration project replenishes this resource. For more information, see the write-up below from

We accessed the river by just a short walk from the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, 2850 San Lorenzo Way, Carmichael.

Life-Giving Gravel: For over 10 years, the Water Forum has partnered with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), along with the city and county of Sacramento to implement gravel restoration projects in the lower American River to promote the wild spawning of native steelhead and salmon. This essential project is undertaken yearly because quality spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead is limited on the lower American River because of Nimbus and Folsom Dams.

Fall-run Chinook Salmon migrate upstream as adults to spawn from October through December. In the egg-laying process, females create a “nest” in loose gravel in flowing water, depositing their eggs and then covering them up with more gravel. Gravel is carefully placed in the river before fall-run salmon are triggered by cooling temperatures to spawn, and after the high spring and summer flows. Our channel restoration projects are designed to create habitat based on modeling that takes into account factors such as water velocity and depth. The project replenishes a resource that has historically been an important part of the lower American River and its delicate ecosystem.

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