The Central Coast coho salmon are on both the state and federal endangered species list. The few wild populations that remain are struggling to swim upstream this time of year to spawn.
“We’re hyper-concerned about it,” says Stafford Lehr with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
He says water levels are so low that sandbars are preventing the fish from getting into rivers and streams.
“And those that have gotten into the streams, they’re habitat is shrinking as we speak," he says. "We’ve got a lot of people out on the ground monitoring the situation, and if we’ve got to rescue the fish, we’ll rescue them.”
Get the latest on the California Legislature's final hours of work for the 2013-14 session.
Releasing reservoir water to keep salmon from dying is one of many tough water allocation decisions in this third year of the California drought.
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Researchers say California has been overdrawing its water account for a century.
Researchers at UC Davis fear that California’s drought may soon claim its first victim, the Red Hills Roach. The tiny fish is losing its water. Scientists fear it may soon be pushed to extinction.