Wednesday April 12, 2023

Red Bluff Daily News

Ten million pounds of gravel will go into the Sacramento River next week, with the hope of preventing extinction for a critically endangered fish population.

That’s the goal of a continuing effort to boost the population of winter-run chinook salmon, as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Sacramento River Settlement Contractors are set to begin placing 5,000 tons of spawning gravel just north of Redding Monday.

The five-day project will seek to bolster the Keswick Dam Gravel Injection Site, where the two groups dropped 20,000 tons of gravel in April 2022. The resulting spawning habitat is crucial to the survival of the salmon, which have suffered in recent decades from disruption to their migration routes due to dams. Warmer water has also caused higher mortality to eggs in spawning zones, U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologists have determined, along with thiamine deficiency in the fish.

The salmon now depend entirely on artificially created spawning habitat and cold-water releases from Shasta Lake by way of Shasta and Keswick dams.

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