Digital Assets: Using The Metaverse To Restore Chinook Salmon To A Native American Watershed In California

Pom, a Native American tribe leader in Northern California, will use blockchain to revive the native species of Chinook salmon his community once relied on.

Pom and his team have created Salmon Journeys, a video game on Decentraland. A user who snags a Chinook salmon in the game wins an exclusive non-fungible token (NFT) by Sawalmen, a Web3 entity that represents Indigenous spiritual values and raises funds for restoration efforts and the landback movement. (CoinDesk)

Pom will use funds raised by the game to conduct a real life salmon restoration effort near his ancestral home. “Since the Shasta Dam was built 75 years ago, the salmon have been unable to return to their home waters in our ancestral watershed near Mt. Shasta, California,” Pom says.

Shasta Dam and salmon (Wikipedia)

The Shasta Dam has had a severe negative effect on populations of Pacific salmon in the Sacramento River watershed ever since its gates were first closed in 1943. The massive structure completely prevents salmon migration from the lower reaches of the river to the Upper Sacramento, Pit, McCloud and other tributary streams. It is estimated that half of the best salmon habitat in the Sacramento basin lies upstream of Shasta Dam. Also, the dam caused temperatures in the river to rise because it released waters from higher elevations of Shasta Lake, which are warmed by the sun far more than the surface of the original river pre-dam. Warm waters are harmful to salmon, which prefer colder temperatures, and also impact other fish populations such as steelhead and wild California trout.


Web3athon, a crypto hackathon presented by CoinDesk and Crypto Research and Design Lab, has helped Pom advance the video game project, and get in touch with teammate Ayush Arora, a software engineer based in India. Arora is playing a key role in the development of the Decentraland video game.

“The goal is to have this game tell our story in as many metaverses as possible so that people will hear about our efforts, have fun playing a cool game, win and gain value back for themselves, and support actual salmon returns to the McCloud River,” Pom said.

Related Story: AI Helps More Accurately Count The Number Of Sea Lice On Salmon

Image credit (Chinook Salmon): Wikimedia Commons

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