Realizing that we had a busy week in store for us, Laura and I decided to take Zephyr out to the Tuolumne River in La Grange to A) get away from it all & B) see the rare salmon or two spawning. We successfully spent two hours at the river exploring, throwing rocks, finding aquatic snails and shed snake skins. We most definitely did not find a chinook salmon spawning.
The drought and the resulting lower flow regimes from the Don Pedro Dam have been devastating to the population. Just a few more than 200 came up to spawn last year, and thus far 2016 isn't going much better: 48 fave been counted by FishBio to date. The state is trying to increase the flow regime of the Tuolumne, Merced and Stanislaus rivers to boost the salmon population and increase the health of the Delta downstream (while also possibly exporting more Sacramento River water south). I think it will work, but many farmers are willing to fight to prevent the extra flows from ever happening. It will take a novel collaboration to reduce the amount of groundwater pumped in the face of reduced surface water deliveries within the Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts. I would really love for my son to see a healthier river with lots of salmon some day soon. I'd love to be able to take him salmon fishing on our river.
Ryan J Hollister - Geoscience & EnviroSci Educator, Avid hiker, Landscape photographer, WildLink Club Advisor, Central Valley Advocate.