Watershed Revolution - Natural Heroes
Produced by Jeff Chen, the "Return the Salmon Relay" tells the story of a relay event hosted by the Eklutna River Restoration Coalition in September 2022. Coalition leaders and community members gathered to return the salmon to Eklutna Lake by relaying plush salmon along the Eklutna River. The event brought attention to Coalition and community efforts to return water to the Eklutna River which has run mostly dry for 90 years. The Eklutna Dam was removed in 2018, and in 2021, the utility companies released water to the river for 2 weeks to support scientific studies. This was the first time water was returned to the river in living memory of the community. The Coalition is advocating for a long-term return of water to river to support all five species of salmon who call the Eklutna River home.
Removal of Nelson Dam on the Naches River tributary to the Yakima River will open 309 miles of habitat for coho and Chinook salmon, improve kayaking and fishing, provide irrigation water for the City of Yakima, stimulate the economy with hundreds of new jobs, and reduce flood risk.
Watch a timelapse of the removal of the Nooksack Middle Fork Dam Removal Project, which took place in July 2020. Removal of the dam is listed as one of NOAA Fisheries’ top recommended actions to recover Puget Sound Chinook salmon populations.
Video produced by California Trout: California Trout ranks Matilija Dam, located in the Ventura River watershed, as one of the top 5 dams to remove in California. Originally designed for water storage and flood control, Matilija has filled with sediment over the years, reducing water storage and rendering the dam obsolete. Removing Matilija Dam will reconnect access to critical spawning and rearing habitat for the endangered Southern California steelhead.