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Klamath River Spring Chinook Salmon Added To California’s Endangered Species List

Scott Harding`
Salmon River Restoration Council

Salmon populations in the Klamath River have been struggling for years. Late last week, the Klamath Spring Chinook Salmon was added to California’s Endangered Species List.

Although Spring and Fall Chinook Salmon are technically the same species, there are key genetic differences that cause them to spawn in different seasons.

Klamath Fall Chinook Salmon have been recognized as endangered for several years, limiting conservation funding that goes to Spring Chinook.

Karuna Greenberg is with the Salmon River Restoration Council. She says that now the Spring Chinook Salmon have been recognized as endangered, it will make conservation efforts much easier.

“It’s huge on the level that we will really be able to focus on the Spring Chinook and how do we recover them and have the funds to be able to back that up and make those actions happen," said Greenberg.

Most salmon restoration efforts in the region have been focused on the more abundant Fall Chinook Salmon, which were declared endangered years ago. Greenberg says recognition of the Spring Chinook’s dwindling population is a long-awaited accomplishment.

“Up until now, there’s been this strong struggle to really get the significance of how important they are recognized, and to make sure that they are being managed for that difference," said Greenberg. "And that just hasn’t happened, which has been a great detriment of the population.”

Now, state funding for restoration and conservation projects can be directed to the Spring Chinook Salmon, as well.