Latest drought summer deadly for Chinook salmon

Oct 28, 2015 7:50 PM by News Staff

Another deadly summer of drought has heightened fears of extinction for California's endangered, winter-run Chinook salmon.

Officials with the National Marine Fisheries Service said Wednesday that preliminary counts show hot, shallow waters from the drought killed most of California's juvenile winter-run Chinook before they made it out of the Sacramento River.

If a final count in December confirms the bad news, it would mean a second summer in a row that 5 percent or less of the young fish survived California's drought. Since the iconic native fish spawns on a three-year cycle, it makes management of next year's water critical for the salmon's survival in the wild.

Federal officials curtailed water deliveries from Lake Shasta to try to keep water cool enough for the fish. A move that delayed the delivery of water to hundreds of Central Valley farmers and brought protestors to the Shasta Dam on numerous occasions.

The announcement is also a cause for concern to the North State fishing industry. In an effort to protect the salmon, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife banned fishing from May to August on a stretch of the Sacramento River in Shasta County. The industry could be looking at similar restrictions next year.


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