Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mokelumne Salmon

Nice overview of work that, in some way, is attempting to replicate what has already been done on the American River for the salmon.

Wild salmon of the Mokelumne: Saving a species
Salmon vital to environment, economy
Rebecca AdlerNews-Sentinel Staff Writer
Last updated: Tuesday, Dec 05, 2006 - 08:19:38 am PST

Tons of gravel are hauled in each summer to restore the Mokelumne River salmon habitat.Biologists and volunteers spend hours scouring the riverbed in search of salmon nests.

Others look for carcasses of the salmon that have already completed their life cycle.

In the hatchery, workers spawn the fish by hand in case something goes wrong with the natural process.

But what's the point in putting all this effort and spending millions of dollars to keep the local salmon run healthy? After all, there are salmon runs everywhere.

Biologists working on the river say there's a big point: the health of the river.

Millions of dollars are spent each year to improve dams, fish ladders and spawning habitat for salmon, not because salmon are the only important species, but because their presence indicates good water quality and a thriving ecosystem, said Bill Jennings, executive director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance.

Salmon also have economic value for commercial and sports fisherman, as well as restaurants and grocery stores.