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.”
California regulators are responding to the drought by adopting tighter landscaping rules for new construction and renovation. That means new water limits for residential, commercial, school and hospital lawns and other plantings.
A University of the Pacific economic forecast shows that drought has had a "relatively mild" impact on California's economy.
Another water district in Sacramento County is offering cash rebates for customers to remove grass.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and meteorologists in other countries show that strong-to-moderate El Niño conditions are present in the tropical Pacific. But it won't end the drought in California.
Stream fishing around Lake Tahoe and western Nevada is struggling because of the drought. But fishing may actually be better at the lake itself.