In a warehouse filled with large basins of cold water, where the smell of fish fills the air, about a dozen biologists help bring life to the next generation of salmon.
In recent years, the Chinook salmon population in California has shrunk dramatically.
Each spawning season, Department of Fish and Game biologists at the Mokelumne Fish Hatchery dispatch hundreds of salmon to grow the population by hundreds of thousands.
With hammer-swings followed by dull thuds, mature salmon are killed. The lifeless salmon are then rinsed clean of blood with hoses. Eggs are cut from the bellies of females and mixed with milt from males.
The fertilized eggs are raised in basins until they become smolt. They are then tagged and released into the Delta.
The process, though a somewhat brutal end for the adult salmon, is necessary to keep the population of salmon up.
In the spring, more than 300,000 salmon will be released into the Delta.