SONOMA COUNTY (CBS / AP) — Endangered coho salmon are returning from the ocean to spawn in the Russian River and its tributaries in numbers not seen in years, a sign that a hatchery program may be helping the struggling species.
Biologists with a research group called the California Sea Grant say a decade ago coho numbers were near zero, so they began raising young fish at a hatchery on Lake Sonoma to release into the wild.
In 2001, fewer than four adult coho were returning to the Russian River. But biologists say this year more than 190 adults were counted in the river’s watershed.
Paul Olin, a program advisor with the group, says the hatchery program is meant to allow coho to become self-sustaining.
If successful, the program could be used to help restore the coho population in other areas.
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