Pilot Program Will Reintroduce Chinook Salmon The The Upper McCloud River

Great lengths are being taken to head off the extinction of Chinook Salmon in the Sacramento River watershed. Before Shasta Dam was built, Millions upon Millions of Winter-Run Chinook used to make the journey from the Sacramento and McCloud Rivers to the ocean and back. Now the vast majority of survivors must spawn in the Sacramento River below Keswick. Water is pumped from the bottom of Lake Shasta to try and keep temperatures low enough for the eggs to survive, but climate change is making that more difficult. State and federal fish biologists are using various strategies to save the Chinook. This Fall a pilot program will reintroduce Chinook to the Upper McCloud. When hatchlings become juveniles and instinctively head downriver, they’ll be funneled by a boom and a net as the cold river water enters Lake Shasta. Then they’ll be trucked to the lower sac and swim to the sea from there. Once the system is fully tested, Salmon will be introduced to begin the process. A lot of help will be provided by the Winnemum Wintu, who lost most of their ancestral lands when the dam was built, and have been seeking a way to restore the Salmon for years. Biologists are also returning about 300 adult salmon to the North Fork Battle Creek about 20 miles east of Cottonwood for the first time in over 110 years, since they were blocked by PG&E dams. Still more Salmon are being released at the upper reaches of Clear Creek just below Whiskeytown.