West Coast drought impacting salmon population

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KNTV/NBC) – California’s drought spawns concerns over one of the bay area’s most prized fish: salmon.

This dry summer is bringing just a trickle of water to the Lagunitas Watershed in west Marin County, home to one of the state’s last runs of endangered Coho salmon. Environmentalists say the numbers are a scant 10% of what they used to be with a few fish that didn’t make it out to sea surviving in drought-ravaged puddles, but likely not for long without some human help.

There are fears across the rivers and creeks of California that the drought will upset already delicate salmon populations with concerns it is silently doing its damage now. But because salmon head out to sea for several years before returning to their spawning grounds, we won’t see the impact for a while.

“We’re living on salmon that were born 2 ,3, 4 years ago, so this year you’re not going to see it as much as you’ll see it in a few years,” explained John McManus with the Golden Gate Salmon

Association. “They’re going to swim up into rivers and streams to spawn that are too hot to sustain the eggs they’re going to lay.”

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