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Fishing Groups Ask for Emergency Steps to Save Salmon
Dan Bacher
Four fishery conservation groups have asked state and federal fishery and water officials to convene an urgent meeting to save California Central Valley Chinook salmon runs from the drought. “We have a potentially dire situation in which a large percentage of 2013 Central Valley salmon may be lost if no action is taken,” said Bill Jennings, Executive Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. “Salmon have been suffering from a manmade drought for decades and this years’ lack of rainfall exacerbates the problem. We’re calling on the state and federal government to save this year’s salmon run, which can be done if we act now.” “All four of the Central Valley Chinook runs are in immediate peril due to the drought and a large percentage of the 2013 production may be lost if no action is taken,” said Marc Gorelnik of the Coastside Fishing Club. Poor water management of rivers and reservoirs by the Brown and Obama administrations has also exacerbated the impact of the drought. Last summer, high water releases down the Sacramento, Feather and American rivers left Shasta, Oroville and Folsom reservoirs at dangerously low levels. Shasta is at 36 percent of capacity and 54 percent of average; Oroville, 36 percent of capacity and 54 percent of average; and Folsom, 7 percent of capacity and 34 percent of average. Yet Pyramid Lake in Southern California is at 98 percent of capacity and 105 percent of average; and Castaic Reservoir, 86 percent of capacity and 105 percent of average. The state and federal water agencies exported massive quantities of water to agribusiness interests and Southern California water agencies, endangering local water supplies and fish populations as the ecosystem continues to collapse. Now that our salmon populations are in this crisis situation, it is crucial that the officials meet with key leaders from the recreational and commercial fishing community, along with non-government fishery scientists and other stakeholders, to map out a drought action plan. Photo of Pyramid Lake by Gene Beley. While Folsom and other northern California reservoirs are at record low levels after a summer of massive diversions of water to corporate agribusiness, oil companies and Southern California water agencies, Pyramid Lake in Southern California is at 98 percent of capacity.

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