Nez Perce Tribe’s fisheries department started the translocation of the Pacific Lamprey Eel in hopes to assist in the recovery of the Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon. In this film they are picking up eels from John Day Dam, which is located on the Snake River on the border of Idaho and Oregon, and relocating them to the Tribe’s Big Canyon Fall Chinook Acclimation Facility in Juliaetta, Idaho. The eels live in a large tank until they are released into area creeks.
“We had thousands of eel in here [Snake River], maybe even in the millions,” Nez Perce Tribal member and eel project coordinator, Elmer Crow said. “For the past five to six years all that’s come over Lower Granite Dam is double digits. So, we’ve got a problem."
"The biology, and the restoration, and keeping these things alive is very important,” Crow said, “but it’s just as important or more important to me personally because of the cultural and spiritual values of the Nez Perce people.”
He believes that the Pacific Lamprey Eel plays a role in maintaining healthy river ecology and that eels are an important part of the food chain. “One of the questions we’ve always asked,” Crow said, “ Is this a piece of salmon recovery that’s missing?” Preserve the source.