For the latest updates about the California drought go to www.californiadrought.org.
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This week in… Chinook Salmon
Salmon in Northern California’s Klamath Basin are starting to feel the effects of the drought. In a population survey this week, the Department of Fish and Wildlife found 54 adult and hundreds of juvenile salmon dead in the Salmon River. A majority of the dead fish were chinook salmon, which usually die in the fall after spawning.
Fisheries managers are worried about the impact of low levels and higher temperatures in the Klamath and its tributaries, the same conditions that led to a massive fish kill in the Klamath in 2002. The water level in the Salmon is currently 42% of average, exacerbating the already unseasonably warm temperatures California has been having this year. According to the National Climate Data Center, 2014 has been the warmest period on record in California, with the average temperature between January and June 4.8°F above the 20th century average. The warm water stresses the fish and makes them more susceptible to diseases such as gill rot. The Klamath Fish Health Assessment Team continues to monitor the situation.
In other news…
- The Public Policy Institute of California conducted a state-wide poll of California residents. In an open-ended question about the most important environmental issue facing California today, 35% cited water supply or drought. This is the first time water supply has been cited as the top concern since the annual survey was implemented in 2000.
- A poll published by the Groundwater Voices Coalition found strong public support for comprehensive proposal establishing a groundwater management plan and approach for California.
- CAL FIRE has responded to 3,562 wildfires on 37,840 acres since January 1. The year-to-date historical average is 2,619 wildfires on 34,192 acres. The Bully Fire, which started on July 11th, is now fully contained, having burned 12,661 acres.
- The State Water Resources Control Board continues to receive responses to its water conservation survey (the details of which are being criticized, most vocally from the San Diego County Water Authority).
- A new report from the Groundwater Voices Coalition indicates subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley is at record high levels, in some areas occurring at a rate of one foot per year.
California Drought Status
Drought conditions were mostly unchanged this week.
Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing more than 27 million acre-feet of storage, are at about 37% of total capacity and 54% of normal.
Seasonal Drought Outlook
The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the drought will continue through October.