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.”
Overall water use decreased again in September compared to last year in the Sacramento region. Water providers are also pumping less groundwater, despite a heavier reliance on it in the drought.
If a flood were to hit Twitchell Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta it would threaten much of California’s water supply. It’s why emergency management agencies are holding flood-fighting exercises during a drought.
UC Davis researchers have identified 'high priority' dams in California where releasing water may be a key for the survival of native fish species.
California Governor Jerry Brown says the state can lead the way with its water policies just as California is leading the way with initiatives for renewable energy and climate change.
A winter forecast from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center Thursday shows the California drought may persist or intensify in parts of the state.