Water Forum Habitat Restoration Projects

Sailor Bar 2019

Lower American River Gravel Augmentation Project Nurtures Record Number of Salmon Nests

Over a four-week period in fall 2019, restoration teams placed 14,000 cubic yards of gravel into the river as part of the Water Forum’s work to promote spawning of native salmon and steelhead, which has been limited because of Nimbus and Folsom dams. Teams also carved a 1,400 ft side channel into the north bank of the river to provide rearing habitat. Rearing habitat is important because it provides much-needed cover for juvenile fish after they’ve come out of the gravel.

The project produced a record number of salmon redds—underwater depressions or “nests” created by female salmon to lay their eggs. In 2018, there were zero redds counted in the area. By fall 2019, the area was teaming with redds—more than 1,000.

News clips about the project:

Learn more:

A huge “thank you” to the City of Roseville multimedia team for producing the video. https://www.roseville.ca.us/

Using aerial photography surveys, we have observed many more redds, or salmon “nests” following restoration at Upper Sailor Bar. This info graphic shared on Water Forum social media (@SacWaterForum) explains how we monitor fall-run Chinook salmon spawning in the Lower American River. Redd counts help us evaluate the success of our restoration projects.

Videos of Our Past Restoration Projects

Find more videos of Water Forum habitat restoration projects on our Videos Page.


River Restoration Since 2008

Water Forum and Reclamation have placed approximately 92,000 cubic yards of spawning gravel in the Lower American River since 2008. These restoration projects have also implemented side channel modifications and habitat structure placements (e.g. trees, trunks, rootwads and willows). We monitor how gravel moves in the living, changing system of the lower American River, and return to implement new projects at previously restored areas when needed.

Past Spawning Gravel Placement and Habitat Creation/Enhancement – 2008 to Present
Year Site Name River Mile Gravel Volume

(cubic yards)

Floodplain/ Side Channel Enhancement Instream Habitat Structure Placement
2008 Upper Sailor Bar 22.5 4,666    
2009 Upper Sailor Bar 22.5 7,066    
2010 Lower Sailor Bar 21.3 11,066   X
2011 Lower Sailor Bar 21.1 13,846   X
2012 Lower Sailor Bar 21.8 16,340 X X
2013 River Bend Area 13.5 4,750 X X
2014 Nimbus Basin 23.1 8,500 X X
2016 Sacramento Bar 19 25,800 X X
2019 Upper Sailor Bar 22.5 14,000 X  
Approximate Total to Date 106,034