This story from the Fresno Bee is wonderful news.
As work to restore the San Joaquin River continues, scientists are seeing promising signs that salmon can thrive in the river as hatchery fish reach new milestones.
A recent breakthrough came in fall 2017, when spring-run Chinook salmon created their nests, called redds, in the deeper and colder parts of the river below Friant Dam. The fish successfully spawned, laying eggs that incubated and hatched into tiny fry as the sexually mature fish died, part of the species’ unusual life cycle.
Biologists working with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s San Joaquin River Restoration Project began catching the juvenile fish in traps in November and December.
It was the first time in 60 years that spring-run Chinook successfully reproduced in the embattled San Joaquin, which for years has remained one of the nation’s most endangered rivers.
“Having these spring-run spawn in the river really starts to build scientific evidence that yes, spawning is possible,” said Alicia Forsythe, the restoration program manager. “One year doesn’t prove that this is going to work in the future and everything is great … We definitely need to see a number of years of data to help us come to those conclusions. But, it’s promising.”
Spring-run Chinook essentially disappeared from the San Joaquin after the Friant Dam was completed in the 1940s, drying out a 60-mile stretch of the river for more than half a century. Salmon couldn’t complete their journey back from the ocean to the river where they reproduce.
Federal officials, farmers and conservationists in 2006 ended an 18-year lawsuit with a settlement to reconnect the river with the ocean and revive long-dead salmon runs. Experimental flows began in 2009. The settlement’s two goals are to restore the river and fish populations while continuing to honor water rights and provide irrigation supplies to farmers.
Retrieved January 31, 2018 from http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article197490734.html