Californians are probably wondering what faucet was turned on to help recover from the drought, as rain has been pounding the state (condolences to the loved ones of the motorist killed in San Diego by a fallen tree).
The steady rain should help the desperately low Northern California rivers. But the drought surely had an impact on what was a dismal estimate of 2015 juvenile salmon to survive the conditions.
Only 3 percent of the juveniles of an endangered salmon species survived the drought along the Sacramento River in 2015 despite extraordinary efforts by federal and state officials to save them, federal officials said Monday.
It marked the second straight year that the vast majority of juvenile winter-run Chinook salmon were cooked to death on the Sacramento, according to data released by the National Marine Fisheries Service. In 2014, only 5 percent of the juveniles survived.
Scientists with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife measure a Chinook salmon captured in Wallace Weir in the Yolo Bypass and Colusa Basin Drain on Wednesday, December 23, 2015, in Yolo County. Randy Penchrpench@sacbee.com
Because Chinook have a three-year spawning cycle, the 2016 season is considered critical to keeping the salmon from heading to the brink of extinction. Federal and state officials are working on a new plan to preserve the species this year.