A Voice for the Sacramento River System Since 1984

Protect Sacramento River Chinook Salmon

Salmon on their Redds (Nests) Where They Spawn

Project Info

Project Description

The Sacramento River Preservation Trust sued to protect Sacramento River Winter Run Chinook Salmon.  It also helped support the listing of the Sacramento River Spring Run Chinook Salmon. The Trust also participates in ongoing litigation to defend salmon Biological Opinions against attack to weaken by water interests.

Salmon Run Descriptions
From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife The Sacramento-San Joaquin River system is the principal producer of Chinook salmon caught in California’s ocean fisheries. Its salmon runs also contribute to the ocean fisheries of Oregon and Washington.

The fall run has been monitored since 1952, spring since 1960, and late fall and winter runs since 1970. The four runs are distinguished as follows:

Late-fall run: These salmon spawn mainly in the upper Sacramento River and its tributaries near and upstream of Red Bluff. They arrive in this area beginning in October, with spawning occurring from December through April. Adults of this run are usually larger in physical size than fall- and winter-run salmon spawning in the same area.

Winter run: These salmon spawn almost entirely in the Sacramento River and its tributaries upstream of Red Bluff, arriving as early as December, with spawning occurring from April through August.

Spring run: Once widespread in Central Valley tributaries, this run has been extirpated from most of the streams in which dam construction has blocked access to upper watershed spawning habitat. Spring-run spawners return to the system from the ocean in late January through August; early arrivals to their natal streams over summer in holding pools. Spawning occurs from mid-August through October.

Fall run: These are presently the most numerous and widely distributed salmon in the Central Valley. They return from the ocean during June through November and spawn from early October through late December. Monitoring of salmon escapement in Central Valley tributaries is an important component of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fishery management function. The primary objectives of this work are to determine size and composition of salmon populations. Changes in salmon abundance, distribution, and habitat conditions that may reflect adverse effects on salmon are noted to determine if corrective action is necessary.

Much more needs to be done to protect the remaining salmon populations and to enhance the habitat on which they rely to survive and thrive.

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