This morning while I was watching the morning news, they did a story on the closing of the American River and Nimbus Dam Hatcheries. The thing is, they are in the same place, just raise different fish. One raises Rainbow Trout the other raises Salmon and Steelhead.
The information they are providing on TV is a little confusing. They talk about two and three pound fish, talk about putting fish in the American River, but it sounds like they are putting those two and three pound fish in the river, but this is not the case.
About 1 million Rainbow trout will
be planted throughout the state mostly in Sierra Nevada lakes, but at a much younger age and smaller size.
The department also will release 430,000 Steelhead from
Nimbus Hatchery into the American River about six months earlier than
usual. Because they have not yet matured to the point where the instinct to
swim downstream takes hold, they will remain vulnerable to
warm temperatures and predators, including birds and striped bass.
Steelhead are normally released from the hatchery when they are about 1
year old. These are half that age.
State and federal officials took
extraordinary measures, earlier this year, to protect some 12 million hatchery salmon from
warm water temperatures and low river flows throughout the Sacramento Valley. Most of those Chinook salmon made their downstream migration in tanker trucks to the Delta rather than via the Sacramento River, as a means to assure that more of them will survive the drought.
One bright side to this is the facility will be able to do some much needed maintenance and repairs that they've not been able to do, since they've only been shut down once since World War II.
The other bright spot is that there are going to be a BUNCH of fish out there to catch.