OAKDALE — Those interested in the ongoing restoration project on the Stansilaus River may want to check out a new YouTube video entitled “Replenishing a River: Stanislaus River Honolulu Bar Restoration.”
The video highlights the Oakdale Irrigation District and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s $1.1 million effort to address the steep decline in salmon and steelhead trout populations in the river. The work was done over two years by biologists, engineers and technicians at FISHBIO.
Historically, tens of thousands of salmon return to the river to spawn. Only about 6,000 returned to spawn this year.
The Honolulu Bar project focused on a two-and-a-half acres site that was part of a dredge bar halfway between Oakdale and Knights Ferry. The goal was to restore the habitat so that juvenile fish could thrive and continue their trek through the Delta to the San Francisco Bay and eventually into the Pacific Ocean.
The film shows heavy equipment being used to improve the habitat as well as removal of non-native vegetation.
Though it is too early to tell if the efforts have been successful, it is believed that the new habitat will improve the fish populations over the long term.