Salmon advocates say they know how to restore sustainable salmon runs in the Central Valley – 26 different ways.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association says two years of study have resulted in a 26-project salmon rebuilding plan to reverse the steep decline of California’s four salmon runs, including two considered endangered and threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act -- the winter and spring runs.
The fall and late fall-runs, which support the sport and commercial fishery, declined by 90 percent and 87 percent respectively from 2001 to 2011, the association says.
“The salmon problems are not in the ocean but rather in the freshwater rivers where salmon reproduce and then try to migrate downstream through the many hurdles that exist on their journey to ocean waters,” says GGSA Chairman Roger Thomas.
The 26 projects are divided into three tiers to prioritize completion. In April the first eight high priority projects were selected with most underway or in the pipeline for 2014. The second tier is currently being considered by federal agencies for implementation.
The rebuilding plan can be broadly broken into two categories of projects, says the association. The first calls for better flows for salmon in the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The second are projects aimed at healing manmade structural impediments built in and along the rivers.
The loss of many baby salmon at the pumping facilities that divert water from the Delta for export south is another problem the GGSA says its plans address.
“Between 2000 and 2012 over 100 million fish were pulled into the South Delta pumps killing most of them,” says GGSA Secretary Dick Pool. “We believe this is the highest destruction of fish in North America. A major part of these losses are valuable salmon, striped bass and other game fish. GGSA has a plan to reduce these losses.”