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WATER SUPPLIERS FUND PROJECT TO SAVE SALMON

 SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- For California salmon migrating to the ocean, the shortest and safest distance between two points is a straight line.
 That's the concept behind a half-million dollar effort by federal and state water contractors to provide underwater speakers to encourage juvenile Chinook salmon smolts migrating to the ocean to remain in the Sacramento River and steer clear of the myriad of sloughs and canals in the Delta's interior.
 The speakers, to be placed 1,000 upstream from the entrance of the Georgiana Slough, will broadcast computer-generated sounds that signal danger to Chinook salmon. The speakers will be put in place in late April, and extensive testing will continue through June to determine the success rate of keeping fish migrating west in the Sacramento River.
 "This experiment is an important first step in what we hope will be an ongoing effort to move water through the Delta in a way that adequately protects fisheries," said Dan Nelson, executive director of the San Luis & Delta Mendota Water Authority. The authority represents 39 agricultural, urban and wetland water districts south of the Delta that receive water from the federal Central Valley Project.
 "As water suppliers, we recognize the importance of the Delta, both to the environment and to the millions of people throughout California who rely on the estuary for drinking water and employment," Nelson said. "We are hopeful that this experiment will open the door for further cooperation between the variety of interests who depend on the Delta."
 The sound barriers, if successful, will keep large numbers of migrating salmon from straying into the slough and allow them to continue a direct journey to the ocean.
 "If we can keep salmon migrating down the Sacramento River and into the Pacific Ocean, that could provide a significant contribution to the recovery of the winter-run Chinook salmon," said Chuck Hanson, a consulting fisheries biologist for the project. "The Sacramento River provides a more direct route to the ocean, where the salmon have a greater chance of survival."
 The underwater speaker system represents a cooperative effort by federal and state water suppliers, along with regulatory agencies charged with environmental protection. The project's permits, design and testing have been coordinated with the state Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Water Resources.
 The San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority has agreed to underwrite the funding of the experiment. The State Water Contractors, which represents 27 public agencies receiving water from the State Water Project, has committed to provide up to $200,000 from contributions to the Interagency Ecological Studies program. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and other water agencies throughout the state also may help underwrite the test.
 Construction of the sound barrier will begin next week. Test results should be available by October 1993.
 -0- 4/23/93
 /CONTACT: Dan Nelson, executive director, 209-826-9696, or Frances Muzuno, operation supervisor, 209-836-6216, both of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority/


CO: San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority ST: California IN: AGR ENV SU:

JB-LS -- LA032 -- 0334 04/23/93 19:22 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 23, 1993
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