As it’s been said, desperate times call for desperate measures. The ongoing drought in California has made conditions beyond desperate for salmon stocks (as well as plenty of other fish and game). As a result, hatchery managers there are planning to give salmon smolts a lift by transferring them via water trucks to the ocean if water levels in the Sacramento River drop below a pre-determined level, the Sacramento Bee reports:
_”[S]tate and federal wildlife officials announced a plan to move hatchery-raised salmon by truck in the event the state’s ongoing drought makes the Sacramento River and its tributaries inhospitable for the fish. They fear the rivers could become too shallow and warm to sustain salmon trying to migrate to sea on their own. Shrunken habitat could deplete food supply for the young fish, and make them easier prey for predators. It also would make the water warmer, which can be lethal to salmon.
“The conditions may be so poor as to produce unacceptable levels of mortality for the out-migrating juveniles,” said Bob Clarke, fisheries program supervisor at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”_
The article goes on to state that the Sacramento River won’t be the only waterway that hatchery-raised salmon could skip this year. If conditions dictate, the American, Feather and Mokelumne Rivers may see a similar trucking plans put in place.