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Flooding Sacramento rice fields could also produce larger wild salmon

Geese in Sacramento rice fields

Geese in Sacramento rice fields

What’s that, you say, Sacramento CA has rice fields? Yes, and quite a lot of them too. In fact, the area produces much of the country’s rice. Researchers have found if they flood the fields in just the right way, then release baby wild salmon, that the fish grow much faster. They are in effect reproducing what happened before the rivers there were dammed. Routine flooding produced millions of salmon, other fish, and animals.

A two-year experiment led in part by UC Davis scientists has revealed that baby chinook salmon can thrive in submerged rice paddies, where sun-warmed waters generate algae and phytoplankton that provide essential food for young fish and other creatures.

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