Biologists on Wednesday placed 54,000 young salmon into the San Joaquin River near Friant Dam northeast of Fresno, acclimating the fish to the river in hopes of having them return to spawn in a few years.
The effort is part of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, a long-term project to reconnect the river with the ocean and re-establish salmon runs.
On Wednesday, spring-run Chinook salmon juveniles from the Feather River Fish Hatchery in Northern California were lowered into the San Joaquin in pens, where they will remain for a few days. Because the river has barriers, such as dams, and dry stretches, the pens must be moved downstream to the confluence of the Merced River. The fish will be released for migration to the ocean.
The biologists involved in the project are from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serv-ice and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.