Dec 16, 2015

More bad news on California salmon

Sacramento River, CA
Sacramento, CA
USA
by
Dale Kasler
,
Phys.org
Firefighters fighting the Cuesta fire. Image Credit: Sarah Stierch, Flickr
Firefighters fighting the Cuesta fire. Image Credit: Sarah Stierch, Flickr

In 2014, about 95 percent of the juvenile winter-run Chinook salmon died because  made the Sacramento River too warm to sustain them. And this year's run has fared even worse: The National Marine Fisheries Service estimated there are 29 percent fewer juvenile salmon in the river compared with a year ago. Because the salmon have only a three-year spawning cycle, 2016 is shaping up as a critical year for the fish, who are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. "There's been the 'e-word' tossed around, extinction," said Garwin Yip, a branch chief with the fisheries agency, in testimony before the State Water Resources Control Board. In an effort to keep the fish alive, the  board is expected to vote on a proposal to hold back more water at Lake Shasta next summer. Holding more water at Shasta is designed to ensure the water that is released is colder, giving the juvenile salmon a better chance at survival.