California’s drought is causing a lot of problems for the residents, and now the animals too. Millions of trout are being trucked downstream by federal wildlife officers for protection. The drought has caused rivers and streams to become depleted, endangering young salmon.
The process of moving all the salmon could take up to 10 weeks and includes several phases. The first phase was completed on Tuesday and involved moving 450,000 hatchlings from a Northern California hatchery to the Sacramento River.
“This is a Herculean effort to try to stave off a fishery disaster,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries branch chief Stafford Lehr said. “We want to jump-start these young fish past the trouble spots and give them a better chance to survive.”
Wildlife officers decided to intervene when they realized that the young trout would not be able to swim downstream on their own this year due to reduced water flows, increased water temperatures and greater threats from predators.
Wildlife officers are worried that moving the salmon could confuse them when it comes time for them to travel back home to spawn, but say that it is a risk they are willing to take in order to prevent a major die-off and protect California’s $1.4 billion-a-year salmon fishing industry.
Wild fish are also being monitored closely to determine if they are in need of assistance as well. Wild salmon are more adapted to such conditions, but could still face problems if the water conditions continue to become unfavorable for them.
By the time the project is finished, over 30 million salmon will have been moved over 160 miles to their new home.
Do you think moving the salmon is a good idea or do you think it will end up confusing the fish?
Image via Wikimedia Commons