State, feds unveil Central Valley salmon restoration plans

State and federal wildlife officials on Tuesday unveiled ambitious plans to assure the long-term health of endangered salmon and other species in the Central Valley.

Although the two plans differ somewhat, officials said they have a common goal to restore three species from the threat of extinction: endangered Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, threatened Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, and threatened Central Valley steelhead.

The National Marine Fisheries Service released a formal recovery plan for the three species, which describes actions proposed over a number of years to restore habitat and allow the three fish species to access additional habitat. About 90% of the original spawning habitat for the species has been blocked by dams, one of the primary factors in their decline.

Also Tuesday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife released a Central Valley ecosystem restoration program, which takes a broader view of habitat improvements to benefit the three fish species as well as all other wildlife in the region.

Actions proposed under the plans include habitat restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, improved water flows in major rivers in the Valley, targeting tributaries to re-establish healthy populations of salmon and steelhead, and improving the function of fish hatcheries to minimize harm to protected species.

Read more from The Sacramento Bee and get links to the plans