The Delta Cross Channel gates were closed Tuesday around 10 a.m. to cut the connection between the Sacramento and Mokelumne rivers. The closure is an experiment that officials hope will increase the number of fall chinook salmon migrating from the ocean back to their spawning grounds along the Mokelumne.
With stronger currents coming from the Sacramento River where it connects with the Mokelumne, the salmon can become confused and get lost in the various channels. By cutting off the flow of stronger currents, it will be easier for salmon to migrate and eventually return to the hatchery.
"The idea is to help them get to where they need to go while returning from the ocean," said Pedro Lucerno from the Mid-Pacific Region of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The bureau worked with East Bay Municipal Utility District and the Mokelumne Fish Hatchery to arrange for the closure.
The gates will remain closed for 10 days, through Oct. 14.