Salmon release is step in Calif. river restoration

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King Salmon

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FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – Biologists are hoping that two Chinook salmon released into the San Joaquin River will make their way to historic spawning areas near the Friant Dam.

The release on Wednesday is part of an $800 million San Joaquin River Restoration project to restore the river’s flows and, ultimately, salmon to their southernmost habitat.

California’s second-longest river once teemed with salmon that swam from the San Francisco Bay to spawn near Fresno. But 62 years ago, the Friant Dam diverted the river’s water to serve agriculture needs.

In 2006, environmental groups settled a lawsuit with the federal government to restore enough water to the 320-mile river for it to reach the bay.

Since then state biologists have been working on a path for the salmon to migrate.

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