California trucks salmon downstream

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The severe drought in California is prompting state and federal wildlife officials to launch an unusual rescue operation involving millions of 6-month-old salmon that are at risk of dying in depleted rivers and streams.

The first phase of what is expected to be a 10-week effort got underway Tuesday, when about 450,000 hatchlings took a 160-mile trip in tanker trucks from a government hatchery in Northern California and released into the Sacramento River.

The young salmon, known as smolts, normally rely on currents to help them get downstream and eventually out to sea.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries branch chief Stafford Lehr told the Contra Costa Times that officials are giving them a lift this year because the lack of rain has led to reduced flows and increased water temperatures.

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