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    Posted July 8, 2014 by
    Kingsburg, California
    Related to: My trip down the most endangered river in America
    CNN's John Sutter took a three-week trip down the most endangered river in America: California's San Joaquin. See the tweets from his adventure.
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your favorite river

    Large salmon in the Kings River


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     DarrenPalm grew up along the Kings River near Kingsburg, California, and described is as 'a place to have fun outside and learn about the workings of the natural world.' Since then, he said there's 'noticeably less water flowing down [the river] and it dries up more often.' The Kings River is located south of the San Joaquin River, considered America's 'most endangered' river.
    - katie, CNN iReport producer

    I was lucky to grow up on a farm along the lower Kings River near Kingsburg (the next river south from the San Joaquin River), and these photos show my grandfather and his brother with big Chinook salmon from the 1930-40's. He is the original owner of the family farm along the river starting in the 1920's, which we still farm today, and these photos show some large salmon caught from the Kings. A few years back I sent these photos to Dr. Peter Moyle, a well-respected fish expert at UC Davis, and here's his response:

    "Mr. Palm- wonderful photos! Glad to see some salmon from the Kings. Haven't seen any other such photos. There were actually regular runs of Chinook up the Kings River from the early 1900s until Friant Dam was closed and cut off flows from the San Joaquin (about 1946).. There is some evidence that fish came up on a regular basis before then, by way of Fresno Slough, at least during high flow years. Apparently Fresno Slough was ditched in the late 19th century to help drain the Tulare basin, which made access for salmon easier. The last known spawning, however, was in 1969-70 a very wet year, when I collected some juvenile salmon from the river.

    Thanks for sending the photos."

    Peter Moyle
    Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology
    Center for Watershed Sciences
    University of California
    1 Shields Ave
    Davis CA 95616

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