Lost in migration

Salmon swimming up the Sacramento River are taking a wrong turn

Advocates are calling on the California Department of Water Resources and the Federal Bureau of Reclamation to clear migratory pathways for salmon in the Sacramento River.

For the last several weeks, many salmon have been taking a wrong turn and getting lost in the dead-end Yolo Bypass drainage canals near Woodland, according to a press release from Golden Gate Salmon Association, Cal Marsh and Farm and CalTrout. About 60 salmon were recently found dead in one of the canals, and an estimated 600 winter-run chinook—listed as a federally endangered species—swam into the canals last year.

Previously, a small fish trap prevented the salmon from swimming up the drainage ditches, but it was removed after being overwhelmed by high water from recent storms. Stakeholders are now pushing for the installation of gates that would block fish from getting off-course.