Native American groups released several adult salmon into the Columbia River above Grand Coulee Dam on Friday, the first time those fish have been in that stretch of waterway since the 1940s.
Colville Confederated Tribes Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Michelle Campobasso explains some of the goals of the project.
“For the tribes we want to reconnect salmon to their historic habitat. All the releases that we’re doing are based on spawning harvest ceremonies that we have to do, our objectives,” she said.
One of the goals is to see if adult salmon who have not returned from the ocean to their home tributaries will try to spawn in the streams of the upper Columbia system.
“They’re tagged, so we're going to watch the behavior of the fish in the streams and the reservoirs up there. And we want to keep doing this. Even if they get up there and spawn, they’re going to be providing nutrients to the streams, to the habitat up in that area that hasn’t had in 80 years now, since the dams were built," Campobosso said.
Earlier this summer the tribes released adult salmon above Chief Joseph Dam, further downstream on the Columbia. Campobosso says the event was very emotional for many of the tribal elders that attended that release.
The salmon release event took place Friday at the Keller Boat Launch.