600,000 Baby Salmon Head to the Pacific, With a Little Help
Drought and man-made obstacles lead fishery to boost releases of Chinook into Sacramento River, in hopes that a few thousand return to spawn.
SHASTA LAKE, California—Thigh-deep inside a holding tank, wearing his U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uniform and waders, Beau Hopkins had to bend over to scoop each netful of squiggling baby salmon. One tank held 40,000 babies. By midafternoon Hopkins had been at it for two and a half hours: three tanks emptied, one more to go.
In the background rose the slope of Shasta Dam, the massive concrete construction that restrains the Sacramento River on its course to the Pacific Ocean. But the hurried campaign for which Hopkins had been pressed into service was remarkably rudimentary: a sort of bucket brigade of men and women passing salmon-heavy scooping nets, one by one, up to the trucks that would give the