The 100 year return

It's been a century. 

A full hundred years and then some since some of these waters have seen fish. Not all - but some. Some fish have been returning to the Lemhi Valley in sporadic numbers for years.

But some places have not seen a salmon since the early 1900s.

And now, they return - as though the past were no matter, something easily forgotten. 

This year, chinook salmon returned to creeks in the Lemhi Valley in Idaho, due in part, to the restoration success that has been taking place over the past decade. 

In that time, Trout Unlimited and it's partners have been working hard to restore streams in the upper-Salmon basin damaged by agriculture and industrial activities (as seen in a recent article in the Idaho Falls Post Register).

But a full century...hard to wrap one's mind around it. In response, Matt Green and Jerry Meyers, who have spearheaded the projects in the area, had this to say:

"To me the really exciting thing is that we (all restoration partners in the upper Salmon Basin including landowners) are slowly starting to rebuild the system and reconnect tributary streams with good potential habitat, some of which have not had water flowing in them in summer months for more than a century. With these reconnections we are seeing a very quick response from the fish; whether that is juveniles entering them for cold water refugia in the summer or warmer spring waters in the winter or adults pioneering these newly connected streams looking to spawn in them or for the same cold water  refugia that the juveniles are seeking. So, I guess to sum it all up as to why this is exciting or important for the species is that these fish have one more option of really good habitat to help them survive during their freshwater life stages and they are using it."

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