The drought in California is severe. It has dried up rivers and forced officials to consider banning bottled water. With the rivers turning into dry rock beds, juvenile salmon, which normally swim downstream to open waters can’t make their migratory swim. Don’t worry, though, some truck drivers are giving the fish a lift.
As the Huffington Post reports, the state and federal agencies in California are organizing what may be the state’s largest fish lift in history. The agencies are sending convoys of trucks to help transport the young fish to San Francisco bay. The fishes’ normal routes have become too shallow or the water to warm for them to survive the already arduous trip. Stafford Lehr, chief of fisheries for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, has been hard at work getting the juvenile salmon downstream via trucks since February.
“It’s huge. This is a massive effort statewide on multiple systems… We’re going to unprecedented drought,” Lehr said. “We’re forced to extreme measures.”
Eight 35,000 gallon trucks have been used to help transport the young salmon. The truth is, these trucks are the only think saving the fish from death. The four-year drought has proved traumatic for California’s native fish species. In fact, 95 percent of the winter run of Chinook died due to the extreme conditions.
Not a good thing when some species of salmon, like the coho, are already endangered. Protective measures are already being set up for those remaining coho that may need some assistance.
“Starting in June, months earlier than usual because of the drought, Brown and others with local environment group Salmon Protection and Watershed Network, will search the waterway. In cooperation with wildlife agencies, they will try to rescue coho and other fish stuck in drying pools of water 4- or 5 inches deep.”
Unfortunately, many of the salmon die due to predators like raccoons and the drying times.
However, there is a method of last resort that the state has had to utilize. If the fish cannot be transported, they can be moved to a state-run hatchery. Since last year, two native Californian species have been hanging on in such a hatchery, snacking on flies the rangers catch in bug zappers.
The drought in California is a major environmental concern. Farmers and cities are claiming their stake of the state’s water, leaving little for native species like the chinook and coho. Juvenile salmon are getting their lives cute short in rivers of rock. At least some, with the help of a convoy of trucks, will get the life-saving trip to the open ocean.
[Images via Jeff T. Green/Getty Images]