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One of California’s most prized native fish Chinook salmon will be facing more danger during this year’s spawning season, said experts. The endangered winter-run Chinook salmon’s population this year is estimated to be far lower than previous year’s.
One wrong turn taken by Chinook salmon while navigating up the Sacramento River to return to their spawning habitat can put them in big trouble of risking their lives.
The number of young salmons migrating this year from their Sacramento River spawning grounds is lower than it was at this time last year, said experts.
Maria Rea, a regional official of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a statement that this is not at good news for the fish population. She said she was not at all ready to declare this year a total loss.
Managers have also developed some risky plans this year to ration cold water releases from Shasta Dam to avoid what happened in 2014, when they ran out cold water late in the spawning season and only 5% of the young salmons survived.
In order to stretch the cold water reserves into the fall, they had to reduce the size of releases this summer, raising the river temperature above the optimum for egg incubation, experts said.
But the egg survival rate appears to be very less. Only about 217,000 juveniles have been counted swimming downstream at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam this year, which is almost 22% less than last year’s count at the same time.