Maintaining Streams to Enhance Salmon Breeding

Each day, millions of litres of water flow from Canada’s streams to feed greater water bodies. These streams provide a habitat for thousands of salmon. The fish, in turn, provide sustenance for the communities that live around the streams.

It’s this delicate balance of life that drives the economy of such areas. However, the rapid pace of urban development, logging and agricultural activities threaten this balance. Therefore, everyone has to play a part in preserving the salmon’s natural spawning grounds.

We’ll go through a few things you that can help you in such a task:

What Are Ideal Salmon Breeding Grounds?

Ideal breeding grounds require water with specific conditions. The pH balance has to be just right and the oxygen supply has to be adequate to support marine life. Salmon also need various plants and insects for nourishment and they thrive in cold temperatures.

Salmon require certain types of habitats during various stages of life. Small ponds and stream banks make ideal habitats for young salmon. Such habitats have many hiding spaces for evading predators. Young salmon also need a way out of such habitats so they can move to the sea when they are mature enough.

Adult salmon, on the other hand, require riverbeds with fine sediments. However, human activity degrades riverbeds by adding gravel and other debris. Some human activities even block the smooth coursing of rivers, thereby impeding young salmon.

How to Make Streams More Salmon-Friendly

Human activity and some natural occurrences make streams less conducive. Luckily, there are cost-effective steps you can take to address these issues. Here are the factors that make streams more conducive to salmon breeding.

Riffles

These are areas with shallow raging waters and gravel beds. These are where female salmon lay their eggs. Young salmon will also nest in riffles until they are ready to transition into the sea. You can preserve such areas by avoiding any activities that may introduce rocks and other debris.

Logs and Other Debris

Logs and other natural debris can’t impede the migration of salmon. Therefore, you can use them to jam streams banks and to create natural pods. Such pools will create ideal nesting grounds for hatching salmon. They’ll also protect young salmon in the event of a flood.

Riverbank Vegetation

Plants that border streams provide shade to create ideal temperatures. This prevents the uncontrolled blooming of moss and algae, thereby maintaining an ideal pH balance and oxygen levels in the water. Such vegetation also shades leaves, fruit and other parts, which aquatic insects eat. The salmon feed on the insects in turn. Therefore preserving the vegetation cover next to streams has a multiplier effect on the whole ecosystem.

Maintained Floodplains

These flat low-lying areas border streams and riverbanks. They can be grasslands or forested areas within wetlands and are also known as riparian lands. Floodplains help salmon in many ways. For one they counter excessive soil erosion, which can introduce debris that can harm young salmon.

The deadfall from the vegetation provides shelter for young salmon. Insects that live on the vegetation also provide sustenance for salmon.