Building upon the projects to document the numbers of salmon returning to area streams and rivers, the NSFR&D team focuses their salmon rehabilitation efforts where they will have the most impact around the Norton Sound region.
NSFR&D operates the following salmon rehabilitation projects:
- South River Chinook
- Solomon River Chum
- Snake River Chum
- Snake River Coho
- Consultation work with Native Village of White Mountain for their Niukluk River Chinook incubation project
Currently, the NSFR&D team uses a process of egg takes, incubation and egg planting for the rehabilitation projects. In the late summer, eggs and milt are taken from fecund salmon and the eggs are fertilized and placed in incubators until the eggs mature. Once at the eyed-egg stage, the eggs are planted in the watersheds they were taken from.
The success of the rehabilitation projects can be monitored by means of a tiny ear bone called an otolith. During the incubation phase, technicians mark the then-microscopic bones through temperature changes. Once the salmon return to the river they were planted, technicians collect spawned-out salmon to analyze the otoliths to determine how many of the incubated salmon returned to the river.