Lower Mokelumne River salmon spawning habitat
As we prepare our newsletter for publication, the East Bay Municipal Utility District
has announced that nearly 14,000 fall-run Chinook salmon have returned to the lower Mokelumne River to spawn this fall. About 20 percent of the salmon harvested to date were hatched in the river. The rest came from the Mokelumne River Hatchery at Camanche Dam. The hatchery is operated jointly by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
EBMUD attributes the higher salmon returns this year to improvements in spawning habitat in the river, closing of the Delta Cross-Channel gates at key times, higher pulse flows in fall allowed by the higher reservoir levels, barging young fish through the Delta to the Bay, and innovative feeding techniques at the hatchery designed to help the young salmon smolts transition from freshwater to saltwater fish.
Steelhead numbers are also higher on the river this year.