A chinook salmon spawns in a side channel of the North Fork Nooksack River that recently was restored by the Nooksack TribeThe Nooksack Tribe’s successful efforts to restore salmon habitat on the North Fork Nooksack River were covered by the Bellingham Herald:

Chinook salmon are already taking advantage of a new stretch of spawning channel on the north fork of the Nooksack River that was improved in the past year through a project overseen by the Nooksack Indian Tribe.

The fish spawning in the channel are part of the threatened spring stock of chinook that have been the target of restoration efforts for decades.

Tribal habitat biologist Ned Currence said he wasn’t expecting to see much activity in the three-quarter-mile stretch of riverbed upstream from Boulder Creek when he visited it just a few days ago. But he was thrilled to see dozens of the big fish pairing up to deposit their eggs in the gravel bottom.

“Last year, no fish spawned in there during the spring chinook period,” Currence said. “It was dry.”

In recent years, that side channel has held water only during winter floods, too late in the year to help the struggling spring chinook run. But with $370,000 in grants from state and federal sources, tribal biologists and the tribal public works department set about encouraging the river to flow through the channel in late summer. Logjams were anchored in place with steel cable to gently divert the river’s flow into the channel, and a bit of excavation work was done to enable the water to flow where it was needed.

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