Friday January 20, 2023


A fish passage improvement project led by CalTrout and partners on Ótakim Séwi (Big Chico Creek), east of the City of Chico, has been recommended for funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The project is one of only 36 projects targeted by NOAA and was secured through a highly competitive grant application process.

CalTrout and partners, including the city of Chico, Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, The Mechoopda Tribe, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and others will be working to remove a fish passage barrier in Iron Canyon, restoring access to more than 8 miles of critically needed spawning and rearing habitat for steelhead and spring-run Chinook salmon in the upper reaches of the creek, including cold water habitat critical for climate resilience.

Kyle Henry, Mechoopda Indian Tribe Cultural Director and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, describes more of the project: “We will be consulting with CalTrout at every stage of the project, and our Traditional Ecological Knowledge crew will get native plants established once the fish barriers are removed. We will also be involved in the educational aspect of the project. The end goal for us is to give our kids a sense of connection to this place and to our ancestors, who lived here and were stewards of the land and waters. Salmon have sustained our people for thousands of years and they are the reason we are alive today. They are a part of our DNA. Being able to see this project go through to help out the salmon and to see them thrive is paramount for the Tribe.”

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