Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River, once hailed as the greatest salmon-producing river in the world, hasn’t seen a significant spawn in its upper portion for 85 years. However, Indigenous-led salmon restoration efforts are currently underway to try to change that.
Since the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in 1939, salmon have been blocked from returning to the Canadian portion of the upper Columbia River. Despite this, Indigenous Nations have remained committed to the goal of salmon reintroduction. Five years ago, Bringing the Salmon Home: the Columbia River Salmon Reintroduction Initiative was launched. This initiative, led by the Syilx Okanagan Nation, Secwépemc Nation and Ktunaxa Nation, is in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, with support from Columbia Basin Trust. The initiative aims to reintroduce salmon to Indigenous food, social and ceremonial needs, as well as to benefit the region’s residents and ecosystems.
Combining Indigenous knowledge, Western science and cultural engagement, the initiative aims to reintroduce salmon to the Canadian portion of the Columbia River, a significant goal as nearly 40 per cent of the river’s main stem originates in southeastern BC. Ongoing efforts include ceremonial salmon fry releases and technical studies. Learn more at

Columbia Basin Trust