The California drought conditions and sizzling temperatures have raised several concerns about the survival of hatchery salmon in the devastated Central Valley all the way north to Redding.
But extreme measures seem to be in the works as a desperate attempt to help fish survive sinking water levels. Artificial coolers are going to be utilized.
From the Associated Press:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service workers installed the coolers at the Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery at the foot of northern California’s Shasta Dam this summer when water temperatures hit the mid-60s — too tepid for the half-million winter-run baby salmon growing there, said Scott Hamelberg, a federal hatchery manager. …
The big water coolers are a first for the federal hatchery, necessitated by warmer-than-normal water in California’s third year of drought.
At the American River hatchery east of Sacramento, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife also are installing giant coolers to bring down water temperatures for the hatchery’s young salmon and trout, hatchery manager Gary Novak said.
Certain endangered species of trout at that fishery “don’t really tolerate the heat too well,” Novak said.
Smaller coolers in tanks are cooling various other fish rescued by wildlife officials after California’s drought dried up their home stretch of rivers and streams entirely.
The fish refrigerators are the latest unusual measure taken by fish and wildlife managers to protect fish and California’s $1.4 billion commercial and recreational fishing industry while most of the state remains in the most severe category of drought. In June, state wildlife officials used tanker trucks to evacuate 2 million fish from hatcheries deemed dangerously warm.