Lesson Series
The Story of Nimbus Fish Hatchery

The Story of Nimbus Fish Hatchery

Lesson Overview

This lesson series is about how the combination of human activity and climate change have affected the life cycle of salmon and what Nimbus Fish Hatchery is doing to mitigate these problems.


  • Grade 3
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 5

Environmental Topics

Coastal & Marine Education, Watershed Education, Environmental Justice, Environmental Sustainability, Land Ecosystems, Pollution Prevention, Climate Change

Environmental Literacy Core Principles

For a summary of the environmental literacy principles and concepts embedded in this lesson series, please visit Green Guardians Environmental Literacy Core Principles.


ELA: RL.3.1, RL.3.2, RL.3.3, RL.3.4, W.3.7, W.3.8, SL.3.1, SL.3.2, SL.3.3, SL.3.4, SL.3.6, RL.4.1, RL.4.4, RL.4.7, W.4.7, W.4.8, W.4.9, SL.4.1, SL.4.2, SL.4.3, SL.4.4, RL.5.1, RL.5.3, RL.5.4, W.5.7, W.5.8, W.5.9, SL.5.1, SL.5.2, SL.5.3, SL.5.4
History-Social Science: HSS-3.3.2, HSS-4.1, HSS-4.2.1, HSS-4.3.3, HSS-4.4.4, HSS-4.4.7, HSS-5.8.1, HSS-5.8.2
Science: 3-LS1, 3-LS2, 3-LS3, 3-LS4, 4-LS4, 4-LS1, 4-ESS2, 4-ESS3, 5-LS1, 5-LS2, 5-ESS2, 5-ESS3


Teacher Guide

This project may easily be extended into optional family discussions and activities around biodiversity, water use, fish hatcheries, and the effects of human development on the environment. To facilitate this engagement, a family guide has been created which teachers may choose to forward to interested parents and guardians.

Family Guide


Three lessons of 40-60 minutes each.

Lesson 1: A Visit to Nimbus Dam

On a camping trip, Dean and Bruno went to Nimbus Dam and learned about the history behind the Folsom and Nimbus dams­—namely, rapid population growth, environmental degradation during the Gold Rush, and the need for flood control in the Sacramento area. While the dams solved one set of problems, they created another—threats to ecosystems, especially wildlife.

Lesson 2: The Story of Chinook Salmon

To learn more about Chinook salmon, Dean and Bruno went to Nimbus Fish Hatchery and was greeted by Mr. Jason. He tells them the extraordinary journey salmon take to complete their lifecycle and how the dams cut off their journey back home. As a keystone species, salmon also play a crucial role in their ecosystems.

Lesson Materials

Lesson 3: Nimbus Fish Hatchery

In the third lesson, Mr. Jason shows Dean and Bruno the fish ladder at Nimbus Fish Hatchery. The hatchery enables 10-20% of the entire salmon population to spawn if they have gotten this far without being able to nest in the river. Jason explains how the combination of dams and climate change affect salmon’s survival, making the boys wonder how they can help improve salmon’s natural habitat.

Lesson Materials

Lesson 4: A Fishing Trip 

In the last lesson, Dean, Bruno, and their friends go on a fishing trip on Folsom Lake. While the experience is fun and informative, the little anglers get a glimpse at water pollution when Poppy keeps “catching” trash in the lake.

Lesson Materials

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