Feds May Have Harmed Sacramento River Salmon

The federal agency that regulates water releases from the Shasta Dam in Northern California drastically cut those releases in November, and one fisheries group is afraid that the move could have killed millions of eggs laid by fall-run chinook salmon in the Sacramento River below the dam.

According to the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA), the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec) cut releases from Lake Shasta from 6,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) to 3,750 CFS between November 1 and 25. This caused river levels downstream to drop dramatically, which means that any salmon eggs laid in parts of the river that died up will almost certainly be lost.

This isn’t the first year BuRec has cut November water releases from the dam, and those cuts have hurt salmon in previous years. As many as 15 percent of the Sacramento river’s fall-run eggs were lost after a similar move in 2012, and almost a quarter of the run’s 2011 eggs were killed the same way, according to GGSA.

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