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State of the SJ River

"So far this year, no salmon fry have been found, but it’s early yet."

Nov 26, 2018

We find it a little more than ironic that on the same day the Fresno Bee writes a story about the progress in bringing salmon back to the San Joaquin River (San Joaquin River salmon make big gains, but don’t call it a comeback yet) they also headline the latest story on global warming (Climate change could triple the frequency of large wildfires, says new federal report).  It's ironic because global warming is the biggest threat to salmon returning to the river because the fish need cold water.  Now, we don't care if you believe in global warming or not, but it's clear the leaders of California including the Governor, the legislators, the water bureaucrats, etc. all do.  It they believe global warming is real, why continue this fools errand?

Apparently they just can't help themselves.

Remember, the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement was signed into law in 2006.  It's now 12-years later.  What do we have to show for it?  The article, which is written with the most positive spin possible reports "So far this year, no salmon fry have been found, but it’s early yet."  They go on to say "It takes a couple of weeks for fish to hatch and a lot depends on water temperature."  If climate change is true the water temperature thing is going to be a bigger and bigger problem.  

Progress has been slow, but "they’ll have all the necessary work completed by the end of 2024."  “Progress is slower than required, and that is disappointing,” said NRDC lawyer Doug Obegi in an interview with The Bee.  

We would also like to remind those who say farmers get free water that in addition to paying for their water farmers are paying a surcharge to fund the restoration.  They are not only losing the water, but paying the surcharge on the water they're not getting to fund the project.  

Other article highlights:

This year, 168,000 juvenile hatchery fish were released into the river and last year it was about 150,000. Similar numbers have been released since 2014. It takes two or three years for them to return as adults.  So far, returning adult Chinook salmon have not yet been seen in the San Joaquin River.

Because of physical barriers still in the river that stop the migrating fish, the fish will be netted downstream and trucked to the waters below Friant Dam, he said.

One major unknown, meanwhile, is the effect of climate change on the San Joaquin River salmon.   But it’s water temperature that is the crucial factor for salmon survival, he said.

“People are going to say, ‘This can’t be done,’ ” Portz said. “But if we do our fish passage right, and provide the habitat that’s necessary, I think it is attainable.”


San Joaquin River salmon make big gains, but don’t call it a comeback yet

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