troutIt’s summertime and the livin is easy. But not if you’re a wine country salmon or trout. Summer is dangerous for young fish. Ted Grantham, a researcher at the University of California, Davis, and his colleagues spent nine years counting young steelhead in streams and pools along Maacama, Green Valley, Mark West and Santa Rosa Creeks. What they found was sobering: On average, across the areas they sampled, about 30 percent of the fish present in early summer lasted through the season. During bad water years and in highly developed areas that number could be much lower. Vineyard managers and other water users, Grantham says, should change how they collect and use throughout the year. If they do, we can have our fish and our wine too.

caddCadd originally installed the sensors because he wanted to know if his operations were affecting fish. For his land it doesn’t look like they are. He sits on an aquifer and its levels aren’t directly related to the water levels in the stream, he says. Cadd, a former president of the Russian River Property Owners Association, is involved in a lawsuit against the State Water Resources Control Board, which in 2009 drastically restricted pumping water for frost protection. However the lawsuit goes, he plans to continue collecting data for his own peace of mind.

maacamaThe data set compiled by Ted Grantham and his co-authors for the study recently published in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society is unique. Here he discusses how they got their information.

Images: 1) Roger Tabor (USFWS)/Flickr; 2) Danielle Venton; 3) Peter Stetson/Flickr.

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