Drought threatens Central Coast coho salmon
January 26, 2014
The lack of rain could lead to the extinction of coho salmon in the waters off the Central Coast of California. [SFGate]
Following heavy winter rains, coho salmon swim up the rivers and creeks to spawn. However, many of the already threatened species are stranded in the ocean waiting for the surge of water that signals the beginning of their annual migration, a sign that may never come because creeks are blocked by sand bars, according to biologists.
“It may already be too late,” said Stafford Lehr, chief of fisheries for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to the San Francisco Chronicle. “The Central Coast coho could be gone south of the Golden Gate.”
Coho are born in freshwater rivers and streams where they live for about a year before heading to the ocean. At about age 3, the fish swim upstream to lay and fertilize eggs.
Steelhead trout, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, are also stranded offshore. However, steelhead are more resilient than coho and can wait a year to spawn.