Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Salmon in the San Joaquin?

In very good news, someday soon, as the water begins flowing again, reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the salmon will return.

An excerpt.

“Water has begun flowing down 64 barren miles of the San Joaquin River in what is being touted as California's most ambitious effort to bring back long-lost native salmon.

“The floodgates of the colossal Friant Dam outside Fresno were opened last week so researchers can study how the water flows down California's second longest river.

“The releases, which will continue until Dec. 1, will accelerate this spring until enough water is flowing down the parched riverbed to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool in less than a minute.

“It is all part of a historic agreement reached after two decades of legal wrangling over efforts to bring back the salmon that were wiped out a half-century ago when the 319-foot dam was built.

"The resumption of restoration flow releases down the San Joaquin River, even at a fraction of its once mighty flows, is a monumental event," blogged Monty Schmitt, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is a party to the agreement along with the Friant Water Users Authority and the federal government.

"These flows and the restoration effort are an example of how farmers, fishermen, environmentalists, and state and federal agencies can work together to implement real solutions to California's conflicts over water resources," Schmitt wrote.

“The Friant Dam was built in the 1940s so that 1 million acres of farmland could be irrigated. It plugged the river gorge and held back nearly the entire flow of water, causing 64 miles of the river to completely dry up. The native chinook - once so plentiful that farmers used to scoop them out of the river to use as hog feed - disappeared by the early 1950s.”