Critics say effort is premature, waste of money
For the first time in 62 years, Chinook salmon have been reintroduced to their historic spawning areas in the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam.
But farming and water experts say their premature introduction to a part of the river that isn’t ideal for breeding, much less living, will mean certain death for the salmon — and a waste of funds.
State biologists have trapped more than a hundred Chinook salmon since October and successfully transported 92 of them via water tank trucks from the Hills Ferry Barrier near the confluence of the Merced River and the San Joaquin River in Merced County to their historic spawning areas near Fresno.
The trap and transport study is part of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, which was created as part of a settlement agreement between the federal government and the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2006. NRDC filed suit in 1988 to restore flows and salmon to the San Joaquin River after 60 miles of it had dried up from the diversion of water by Friant Dam...