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SACRAMENTO — Local Scientists are using tractors to move around rocks and carve out new channels in the American River.

All of September, crews have been dumping rocks into the bed of the river to create an ideal habitat for salmon to spawn. Dams along the American River cut off access to the salmon’s natural breeding ground.

“This gravel is life-saving gravel for these fish,” Lilly Allen, a Water Forum scientist, told FOX40. “We are absolutely rebuilding a habitat.”

Allen says salmon use the rocks for hiding and nesting.

“What we’re doing is we’re taking the gravel in the flood plain, sorting it, and putting it back in the main channel here, so they can use it for spawning,” Allen said.

Crews are also building a side-channel alongside the river.

“The side channel is a perfect rearing habitat. It’s like a nursery,” Allen said.

Allen says the channel will provide hiding spots and a source of food.

“Big salmon season starts in November and it’s important for us to be out of the river by the end of September,” Allen said.

They want to be out of the river as to not interrupt the natural life stage of salmon says Allen.

“It’s a wild and scenic river. Coming up here and seeing the salmon in your own backyard is a really important part of being a Sacramentan.”