If you’ve eaten produce from California, then you’ve probably been nourished by waters from the McCloud River, also known as the Winnemem River, that feeds into irrigation canals to grow your food.

If you’ve enjoyed the beauty and power of Mt. Shasta and the surrounding area, then you’ve been nurtured by the waters that flow through the McCloud River.

While you may have never heard of this river, you have most likely been in connection with it one way or another.

And although it may be far away from where you live, its waters have most likely influenced your life.

And a critical part of these waters are the chinook salmon that run and spawn in these waters.

The salmon are a keystone species in the northwest of the United States, and their existence is being threatened.

Less than 1% of the salmon that used to run this river now return to spawn. Drought, rising water temperatures, a giant dam, and loss of habitat all threaten the remaining salmon.

Ancient allies and relatives of these salmon are the indigenous Winnemem Wintu people, who have thrived on this land for thousands of years until settlers came and colonized their ancestral homelands.

Today this Federally unrecognized tribe is working against all odds to bring to life a vision of returning the salmon to these waters.

Over 70 years ago salmon eggs from the McCloud River were sent around the world, and evidence points in the direction of descendants of these McCloud River chinook salmon living in a river in New Zealand, where they are healthy, disease-free, and ready to return to the McCloud River.

The Winnemem Wintu people are raising the funding to have the salmon in New Zealand genetically tested, at the requirement of the US government, to prove they are the descendants of the McCloud salmon before bringing them home to be reintroduced into the McCloud River.

The necessary funding must be raised before the end of June because the winter spawning salmon are about to run in New Zealand, and the time to test is now!

If you feel called to donate to this cause, you can go to www.bit.ly/salmonwillrun.

And listen on for a conversation with Niria Garcia and Ayana Young (of the For The Wild podcast) about the salmon, environmental and indigenous activism, and how each and every one of us is a vital part of the collective who cares for the land, the wilderness, and the co-creative partnerships between humans and nature. No matter where you live, there is something you can do locally or abroad to help protect and nurture the waters and lands that nourish you.