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CA - Devastating: 'Nearly All' Young Sacramento River Winter Chinook Salmon Could Perish This Year

On July 6, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife published an update on the status of federally and state-protected Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, which warns “it is possible that nearly all in-river juveniles will not survive this season.”

On July 6, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife published an update on the status of federally and state-protected Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, which warns “it is possible that nearly all in-river juveniles will not survive this season.” This is because the cold water pool in Lake Shasta is depleted earlier than scientifically modeled for, due to increased downstream water deliveries during the hot weather.

The winter-run Chinook salmon is listed as “endangered” under both the federal Endangered Species Act and the California Endangered Species Act. The once abundant sub-species of salmon declined from a high of 117,000 in 1969, to 200 fish in 1991.

Previous reports from the CDFW documented a large mass of winter-run Chinook in stressed conditions below Keswick Dam, including adult fish dying before spawning in the relatively warm water conditions.

While the CDFW attributes the potential loss of nearly all juvenile winter-run chinook this year to the hot weather and the “persistent heat dome,” representatives of fishing and environmental groups attribute the dismal situation to state and federal mismanagement of water.

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