Salmon Returns a Mixed Bag

In February, the California Department of Fish and Game released its Grand Tab (linked below) of Chinook salmon escapement in the Central Valley.

Central Valley fall-run Chinook salmon returns increased this past year; aided by improved ocean conditions, export pumping restrictions and a trucking program that transports juvenile salmon around poor in-river and Delta conditions.  In 2010, 163,181 fall-run salmon (51,726 hatchery and 111,455 in-river) returned, up from last year’s historical low of 53,129 (22,703 hatchery and 30,426 in-river).  The numbers represent an improvement over the dismal returns of the last few years but remain far below previous levels.  For example, 872,669 returned in 2002.

However, the other three runs of salmon, which are listed under state and federal Endangered Species Acts, were not as fortunate.   State and federal Endangered Central Valley winter-run took a huge hit and plummeted almost 65% from 4,537 to 1,596.  State and federal Threatened spring-run dropped slightly from 3,801 (989 hatchery and 2,812 in-river) to 3,792 (1,661 hatchery and 2,131 in-river).  Late-fall-run salmon, a federal Species of Special Concern, were down slightly from 9,982 (6,429 hatchery and 3,553 in-river) to 9,895 (5,505 hatchery and 4,390 in-river).

DFG GrandTab February 2011

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