California wildlife officials have banned fishing in several rivers to protect salmon and steelhead trout during a severe drought that follows the state’s driest year on record.
Fish populations are in danger as low levels in many of the Golden State’s waters could prevent them from migrating and spawning, according to a statement from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“Two-thirds of the wettest part of winter is now behind us and conditions are looking increasingly grim,” Charlton Bonham, the department’s director, said in the statement. “Under these extreme drought conditions, it is prudent to conserve and protect as many adult fish as possible to help ensure the future of fishing in California.”
Among the waterways that will be closed until further notice are the San Lorenzo River, the Big Sur River and the Pescadero Creek.
Earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency in the state and directed state agencies to help prevent water shortages from having detrimental effects on agriculture and fish and wildlife.
State officials announced this week that 17 communities across California, including Cloverdale in Sonoma County and Camp Condor in Kern County, are in danger of running out of water in 60 to 120 days.