West Coast
NIMBUS FISH HATCHERY

CA - Dire drought warning: California says ‘nearly all’ salmon could die in Sacramento River

The drought is making the Sacramento River so hot that “nearly all” of an endangered salmon species’ juveniles could be cooked to death this fall, California officials warned this week.

The drought is making the Sacramento River so hot that “nearly all” of an endangered salmon species’ juveniles could be cooked to death this fall, California officials warned this week.

In a brief update on the perilous state of the river issued this week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife made a dire prediction about the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon and its struggles against consistently hot weather in the Sacramento Valley.

“This persistent heat dome over the West Coast will likely result in earlier loss of ability to provide cool water and subsequently it is possible that nearly all in-river juveniles will not survive this season,” the department said.

Given that the salmon generally have a three-year life cycle, a near-total wipeout of one year’s run of juveniles “greatly increases the risk of extinction for the species,” said Doug Obegi, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The winter-run salmon endured two years of severe mortality during the last drought as well.

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