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Will California Save the Last Winter Run Salmon This Year?



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California’s State Water Board can save this year’s population of endangered winter run chinook salmon eggs and fry from cooking to death in too-hot river temperatures, as the fish did in 2014 and 2015. And they can improve the chances for later-spawning fall run chinook— the backbone of the salmon fishery—to survive below Shasta Dam as well. But they have to act now.

New modeling from the National Marine Fisheries Service shows that, if the State Water Board fails to act, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation operates Shasta Dam as it plans to this year, about 80% of endangered winter run salmon will die from temperature-dependent mortality alone.

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