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Wildlife Officials Take Steps To Restore Largest Salmon Run in California

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Fish biologists from the Department of Reclamation move trapped salmon at the confluence of the San Joaquin River and Merced River in this file photo from 2013.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Before the Friant dam was built near Fresno in the 1940’s, tens of thousands of salmon spawned in the San Joaquin River. But their populations plummeted and a section of the river now runs dry.

As part of the San Joaquin River restoration project, wildlife agencies will release 54,000 hatchery-produced juvenile sprin-run Chinook salmon. They’ll be transported below Friant dam and acclimate to the San Joaquin for several days before being released.

The juveniles are expected to return to the river as adults in 2017. The returning adults will be monitored to determine their survival rate and their spawning location. Fish and wildlife agencies hope to use the information to help future populations survive.