With rivers running very low and unseasonably warm this fall, Federal and State fishery managers in California are scrambling to ensure salmon, trout and steelhead aren’t devastated by drought conditions.
Ground was broken this week to install a $1 million water chiller at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery on the American River. The giant refrigeration unit will keep the water cool enough inside the hatchery so that the fish won’t perish. A similar unit was added to the Livingston Stone Hatchery at the base of Shasta Dam earlier this summer to protect endangered winter-run Chinook fry from water temps in the high 60’s.
Fish heads are also considering a practice called egg injection on the Sacramento, in which Chinook eggs are raised in a hatchery until water temperatures in the river cool enough. At that point, the eggs would be injected into the gravel with a hose and then left to hatch naturally. The method, never used before in California, has shown great results in parts of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
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