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California tribe partners with state hatcheries to save endangered salmon

May 8, 2023  By Hatchery International staff

A California tribe has reportedly signed agreements with state and federal agencies to help endangered salmon populations to its traditional waters.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, members of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe are hoping to work with the U.S. government to return winter-run Chinook salmon in the McCloud River where their ancestors once lived.

“I think it’ll take everybody’s knowledge to really have them restored,” Caleen Sisk, the tribe’s chief and spiritual leader told LA Times.

The agreement was signed on May 1. The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife has also provided a US$2.3 million grant to support the tribe’s efforts.


Chinook salmon haven’t been able to reach the McCloud River since 1942, when the construction of Shasta Dam blocked fish from swimming upstream in the Sacramento River and sealed off traditional spawning areas.

Last year, Indigenous tribal members worked with state and federal biologists on an experimental project releasing thousands of juvenile winter-run salmon that were brought from a nearby hatchery. By mid-December, more than 1,600 of the fish had been recaptured and trucked downstream of the dam, where they were released to continue their journey.

Plans for this year have yet to be decided, but Michael Milstein, a spokesperson for NOAA Fisheries, told LA Times that a similar joint effort might take place again this year.

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