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Reclamation and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Launch Plan to Aid Winter-Run Chinook Amid Droughts

REDDING— The Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are partnering to protect winter-run Chinook salmon from California’s third consecutive drought year. Installing water chilling units at the Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery is an attempt to combat the anticipated rise in water temperatures from Shasta Lake. The USFWS works the hatchery while the bureau provides water, power, and funding to sustain operations and maintenance of the facility. Behind the scenes, water managers, fish biologists, and project managers from the bureau and the USFWS have been working together to meet the critical water needs anticipated during this unparalleled drought.

“We are pleased to work with our federal partners in this third year of unprecedented drought to benefit winter-run Chinook salmon at this stage of their life cycle,” said Reclamation Regional Director Ernest Conant in an Aug. 3 press release. “Implementing this unique strategy at this critical time is essential to their survival.”

With the help of these chillers, the hatchery will continue to deliver a critical safety net for winter-run Chinook salmon while in-river conditions stay poor. Water temperatures must be maintained below 56 degrees for winter-run reproduction to thrive; the chilling units will cool the hatchery’s water supply up to 20 degrees at 3,000 gallons per minute. Since water supply to the hatchery is drawn directly from Shasta Dam, there are intricate exchanges between the water temperatures in the hatchery and dam operations. As a result, technicians on-site monitor the chilling units 24 hours a day to ensure success.

The contract to install, maintain and monitor the chilling units was awarded to Montcal, LLC, a joint venture between Native American and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses.

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