Monday November 28, 2022

Modesto Bee

Seven canoes carried 11 people to see how Tuolumne River salmon are faring after three years of drought.

The Tuolumne River Trust organized the Nov. 12 trip to press its point that too much water goes to farms and cities.

The group paddled the two miles between the La Grange and Basso bridges, near the upstream end of the 25-mile spawning stretch. Chinook salmon come here each autumn after a few years in the Pacific Ocean to reproduce and die, one more turn of an ancient life cycle.

The returning fish contend every fall with the massive pumps that send water far south from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Dry years like 2022 reduce the volume of the Tuolumne and can raise its temperature. Many of the gravel spawning beds were disrupted long ago by mining and dams.

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