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.”
Record dry January expected in many Northern and Central California cities as drought drops reservoir levels.
The California Department of Water Resources says the state’s snowpack is “dismally meager.” A lack of snow in the Sierra is keeping rivers low and drying up some reservoirs.
The City of Roseville is yanking grass and replacing it with drought-resistant landscaping to conserve water. Roseville also offers homeowners a 'Cash For Grass' rebate program.
The City of Sacramento says water customers in 2014 "cut water use to the lowest level per person per day in 100 years."
Salmon rely on cool water temperatures and aquatic plants to survive. So California’s drought has hit them particularly hard. But UC Davis researchers have found one area where the fish are flourishing.