Salmon Return to the Little Wind River after Habitat Restoration


For decades, Dan Gundersen has walked this
section of the Little Wind River located on his family�s land.
And in all of those years Gundersen never saw a single salmon in the small stream � that
is – until recently. I bring my grand-kids down here and we hike
along the river and we take pictures of the fish and so forth it�s really fun for them. Gundersen says he always knew S.W. Washington�s
Little Wind River had the potential to support salmon – it just needed help to bring them
back. And so I started asking – is there way we
could do some habitat restoration here. Gundersen reached out to the Underwood Conservation
District, of Skamania County, Wash. That�s when Local watershed experts assessed what
the river needed to support fish once again. They weren�t finding places to spawn or
rear or find refuge during storms. With mitigation money from the Bonneville
Power Administration, the conservation district hired local fish biologist Brian Bair to improve
the rivers fish habitat. Well what we did was actually rebuild the
stream bed Bair says the stream lacked large wood and
slow moving pools for fish to spawn in. .We started with the riffles and basically
large boulders within the riffles and a mix of smaller gravel and cobble and your pools
and log jams. Remarkably, within two weeks of completing
the first phase of the project – salmon found their way into the river once again and began
an annual fall ritual that is still happening today. Which was incredible, we don�t how the fish
found out about the river at that point but they did and they started coming in. I was really kind of humbled. I knew we would
get some response. I mean, they are the best critics that�s definitely what you wish
for. Scientists say streams such as the Little
Wind River can be resilient if just given a chance. Natural systems are more complex than any
engine; really the best we can do is reconnect the systems basic function and get out of
the way and let it reknit it

7 thoughts on “Salmon Return to the Little Wind River after Habitat Restoration

  1. Where is Little Wind River, I know and live by Wind River but never heard of Little Wind

  2. Salmon returns 2 weeks after project completion?!! Seriously, how did those fish know?
    Nature is amazing!

  3. Such a well done guys ♥️♥️♥️ I wish many more rivers would be so lucky to have you around!

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