SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Researchers are hailing as a success an experiment in which chinook salmon were introduced into flooded rice fields in Northern California.
The goal was to determine whether the fields, flooded between harvests, could function as substitutes for now-depleted wetlands that served as a massive nursery for juvenile salmon.
The researchers from the University of California-Davis, state Department of Water Resources and a nonprofit called California Trout found the rice field salmon grew big and fast. Their conclusion: the fields could help California’s populations of chinook salmon recover.
The researchers have submitted their findings to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Their experiment took place in the Yolo Bypass, which diverts floodwaters from Sacramento. Thousands of salmon were introduced into replicated rice fields that were built there.