Follow the Salmon to Learn About the Impacts of Dams, Fish Hatcheries & Hydropower Management

Deer Creek and its watershed are small compared to the Yuba, Feather, Klamath or Columbia Rivers, but the environmental, ecosystem and human health issues are the same. In this post the Chinook salmon, their life cycle, and the larger issues of dams, the development of fish hatcheries and the billions of dollars spent each year attempting to repair a broken natural system are covered.

“Salmon and steelhead are indicators of river health, from the headwaters to the ocean. When a watershed is able to support strong salmon and steelhead populations, the entire river ecosystem can thrive.” – SYRCL and partners

“West coast salmon runs have been in decline for decades, stemming largely from the damming of rivers and the pollution throughout the fish’s extensive range from freshwater mountain streams to deep offshore ocean currents. Analysts estimate that only 0.1 percent of the tens of millions of salmon that used to darken rivers every summer and fall up and down the west coast before white settlement still exist.” – Scientific American

Salmon Life Cycle & Ocean Nutrients Delivered Inland

The National Geographic Documentary below studies the loss of natural salmon runs.
It shows the impact of dams, fish hatcheries, loss of the fish’s genetic diversity,
and hydropower management along the Columbia River in the state of Washington.

“In 1851, we could observe a great decrease. Like the poor Indian, they are being driven westward into the sea. During hydraulic mining in the 1870s and 80s the salmon population of California was reduced to near extinction” – C A. Kirkpatrick reporting on the fate of the salmon.

Salmon Restoration Efforts in Deer Creek

April 2017

1:29 – A partnership between the South Yuba River Citizens League andUnited States Fish and Wildlife Service
has resulted in leadership and funding for adding spawning gravels to the Yuba River
near the confluence with Deer Creek.

Juvenile salmon in Deer Creek, May 2017

November 2012


Salmon & Steelhead in Deer Creek – Sierra Streams Institute report 
SSI has been monitoring salmon and steelhead in Deer Creek since 2009.
From 2011-2013 we implemented three gravel augmentation projects to increase
the availability of spawning habitat in Deer Creek, resulting in over a
500% increase in salmon redds observed in Deer Creek in 2013. 

Close Up Salmon Spawning


Additional Resources:

January 2008

Native People along rivers have been affected by dams and loss of natural salmon runs.
UC Davis panel on Salmon and Tribes
Klamath River System





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