California commercial salmon season closes again this year

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Also to blame is a ocean warming and acidification, Toxic tire dust that kills fish in hours.dams blocking migration routes, managers diverting water flows for storage, and climate-fueled storms complicating river systems.

With all these challenges, the state could lose almost half of its native salmon and trout species within 50 years, according to a study co-authored by UC Davis professor Robert Lusardi.

Lusardi, who studies freshwater and wetland ecology, said the closure of the salmon season is a direct result of humans altering salmon habitat. Historically, nearly two million salmon swam in rivers within the Central Valley. This year, Lusardi expects just over 200,000 to be bred.

“What we are left with are small populations that I would say are not diverse, meaning they are unable to acclimate to changing environments,” he said.

‘We need these habitats like yesterday’

In January, Governor Gavin Newsom outlined his administration’s strategy to restore salmon populations “Amid a warmer, drier climate exacerbated by climate change.” The extensive plan includes improving salmon migration paths, removing dams that prevent fish from spawning, upgrading hatcheries and restoring flows in some waterways.

California, along with environmental groups, tribes and scientists, has begun restoring floodplains where juvenile fish can grow into what conservationists call “Floodplain Gordos,”, which is a nickname for well-fed salmon that feed on insects in flooded areas. the state is remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River in part to give fish more room to spawn.

“That’s a glimmer of hope for the future, but it has to happen at a faster pace,” Lusardi said. “We need these habitats like yesterday.”

State scientists, including Colin Purdy, environmental program director for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, are tasked with implementing the governor’s plan. They have a considerable feat ahead of them. While some of the actions outlined in the state’s new plan are already underway, Purdy said changing the way fisheries operate “takes years of pilot studies to flesh out the details” before hatchery managers can reintroduce the fish in their habitats.

“The sooner we can start those things, the better,” he said.

The Golden State Salmon Association and other groups criticized the governor’s plan. They argue that, while it has some suitable components, California is also pursuing projects (a new reservoir and a 45-mile water tunnel beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to divert more water south) that could decrease the amount of cold water in the rivers that Salmon need to live.

“This smoke and mirrors scenario is distracting for us,” said Scott Artis, the association’s executive director. “If we don’t address water diversions, we will continue to see salmon numbers decline and we will continue to be in a situation where there will be closures.”

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