As I noted earlier, I’m currently working as a consultant with KDH Environmental on a salmon spawning riffle restoration project.
You can go back and read earlier posts, but in a nutshell here’s the deal: The Stanislaus, because of New Melones, Goodwin and Tulloch dams, doesn’t receive new gravel every winter to replace the stuff that washes out in high water. Because of that, the river’s turned into a gravel-free ditch with little suitable spawning habitat for the river’s wild chinook salmon population, which dwindled down to just a couple hundred fish in the 1990’s.
We’re working on about a 2-mile stretch of river, trying to bring it back to life with a series of new riffles and spawning channels. We’ve also secured a bunch of 3- to 5-ton boulders to place in the river and, just today, got a line on what could be an unlimited supply of more big rocks. I’ll keep you posted on our progress, and here’s the first little update.
We moved a bunch of gravel over the past few days and turned this sluggish, fishless flat…
…into a beautiful riffle that the salmon should really love this fall.
There are actually two new riffles in this stretch (you can see the other one just a bit upstream) — and we’re not quite done yet — but they’ll be ready to go in a day or two. At that point, we’ll start working our way downriver. When it’s all said and done, we’ll have this stretch of river looking completely different…and more fishy!