By Lisa Meadows

RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — Together, state and federally operated hatcheries raise 40 million juvenile salmon for release into California waters each year.

On Wednesday, the Nimbus Hatchery in Rancho Cordova opened its salmon ladder to start of the spawning season on the American River. This is one of eight state run salmon and steelhead hatcheries participating in the salmon spawning effort.

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Gregg Bates with the Dry Creek Conservancy of Roseville studies how many salmon they see in their creeks throughout the years and says the numbers have been low in recent years. “Which may have been due to low water flows due to the drought,” says Gregg Bates.

To combat the effects of prolonged dry years, California has created projects to make sure the fish population stays up. one measure, releasing rain water to protect salmon habitat.

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In the bay area, Sonoma County environmental managers watch over the Russian River fish ladder. It manages more than just the water flow itself.

David manning, “not only do we deliver water, we make sure that the watershed that we get that water from is healthy, is in excellent condition and these fish are a great indicator of that.”

Back here in the central valley, the Feather River, Mokelumne River, and Nimbus Hatcheries will take in about 24 million salmon eggs in order to produce Chinook salmon for release next spring.

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Each of these hatcheries have a viewing area where visitors can watch the spawning process. The Russian River Ladder in Sonoma County spent 12 million dollars on special feature. One of which, to view the fish at night.