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Ceremony Welcomes Return of Spring Chinook Salmon

Thanks to years of stream restoration efforts on Omak Creek and a recent infusion of $625,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, the Confederated Colville Tribes (CCT) celebrated the return of migrating spring chinook salmon during its annual First Salmon Ceremony on June 18 at the Omak Longhouse.

The passage of spring chinook salmon was blocked by numerousbarriers for more than 80 years. The fish returned to Tribal waters in 2005, when several projects that removed those obstructions were completed. Since that time, members of the CCT have celebrated the salmon’s cultural significance through the annual ceremony. (Read more.)

The ARRA funding is helping remove other barriers that will open additional spawning waters for the salmon. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has provided technical assistance to the CCT throughout the project, which is expected to be completed later this summer.

This year’s ceremony included the traditional sunrise service with the “Calling of the Salmon,” longhouse program and meal. NRCS Chief Dave White also presented “Legacy of Conservation Awards” to various members of the tribe and CCT Fish and Wildlife personnel during the event.

During the Confederated Colville Tribe's First Salmon Ceremony's sunrise service, participants are encouraged to click river rocks together streamside, to call the salmon home.  Photo by Ron Nichols, NRCS
During the Confederated Colville Tribe’s First Salmon Ceremony’s sunrise service, participants are encouraged to click river rocks together streamside, to call the salmon home.

Photo by Ron Nichols, NRCS

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