The City of Redding is partnering on a project to construct a new Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Trout spawning habitat underneath the Market Street Bridge. The effort, led by the Sacramento River Settlement Contractors and Reclamation District 108, will add more than 8,000 tons of gravel to the Sacramento River – the equivalent of 10 football fields. The project, expected to be complete in mid-February, will provide critical support to endangered fish populations.

The $500,000 Market Street Spawning Habitat Project is funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Local, State, and Federal organizations have united for the project under a singular mission – to provide necessary protection for spawning salmon and trout. The project follows a comprehensive effort to recover all four runs of Chinook salmon in the Sacramento Valley Watershed and demonstrates the value of working collaboratively to address some of the most pressing issues affecting local and regional wildlife.

The goal of the project is to boost population numbers for the winter-run Chinook Salmon during a crucial time in the spawning cycle when the salmon seek safe and accessible spawning sites. Winter-run salmon are expected to spawn from late April through June.

Low water levels as a result of the drought have meant that spawning gravel has not been moved around as much, a process that is necessary to create a suitable spawning habitat.

“The main source of our water supply is also critical spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead. In addition to providing high-quality drinking water, we now have an opportunity to help fish. If we want to see population numbers rebound, we must address the entire life cycle, and that includes the upper reaches of the Sacramento River,” says Josh Watkins, Water Utility Manager with the City of Redding. “A healthy river system means that fish, wildlife, and people all thrive. We’re committed to finding ways to ensure that happens.”

The Market Street Spawning Habitat Project is one of several habitat improvement projects that will occur over the next several years in the Sacramento River. These projects touch on various points along a salmon’s lifecycle – from birth to their migration to the ocean, to their return as adults. If population numbers are to rebound, it is necessary to address their protection at all key points in their lifetime to help aid their journey up and down the river.

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