First time in years, chinook salmon spawn in upper Columbia River

Washington
Dying Salmon_302034

FILE – In this June 27, 2012, file photo, a Chinook salmon, second from the bottom, swims in the Columbia River with sockeye salmon at the Bonneville Dam fish-counting window near North Bonneville, Wash. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — For the first time in more than a generation, chinook salmon have spawned in the upper Columbia River system.

Colville Tribal biologists counted 36 nests along an 8-mile stretch of the Sanpoil River, a tributary of the Columbia, in September.

Colville Tribal member Crystal Conant says at first she was shocked and then overcome with joy.

The news is a step toward full reintroduction of the migratory fish and another watershed cultural moment for the region’s tribes.

Since the Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams were built in the 1950s and 1930s, salmon have been blocked from returning to spawning beds in the upper Columbia River.

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