U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Biologists are welcoming a surprise in the Sacramento River this spring. Some of the endangered Winter-Run Chinook Salmon have returned early and it is a good sign for the future of the species.
Biologists found that at least 13 male juvenile Winter-Run Chinook Salmon have already returned after being released into Battle Creek one year ago. These fish were part of a group of 214,000 released into the river last year.
Experts say it is exciting news because the only place this species of fish exists is in the Redding area.
“They’re important because they’re an endangered fish species. We’re trying to recover them. It’s also important because this particular run of Salmon used to be in the hundreds of thousands right here in Red Bluff and they used to support a very healthy in river fishery. So, this is a step toward recovering these fish and the potential for having another healthy fishery in the river,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Project Leader Jim Smith.
The Winter-Run Chinook Salmon population has overcome a lot of hurdles to see this progress. In 2014 and 2015 drought nearly wiped out the entire juvenile population.