By Renée Santos

GOLD RIVER (CBS13) — California’s suffering salmon is getting some help to survive: a man-made boost a decade in the making and a much-needed assist from Mother Nature.

A new fish ladder and flume fishway are now operating at the Nimbus Hatchery in Sacramento County.

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Part of the American River is now accessible to salmon just in time for this year’s run, giving salmon a little bit more room to do what comes naturally.

Chuck Bonham, the director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, says it’s promotes spawning.

“Gives them a little bit more natural area in the American River to lay birth to the new eggs and start the cycle of life again,” he said.

The lack of rain and snow during California’s ongoing drought has threatened the survival of salmon impacting the fishing industry.

So, did the recent storm save this year’s salmon run? Chuck says not quite, but it did help.

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“Now, we love that rain we just got, but we are going to need a whole heck of a lot more,” he said.

But it is giving salmon a break. The cool rain is helping lower water temperatures and boost low flows.

John McManus is the president of the Golden State Salmon Association.

“Our hope is that fish that return to the hatcheries will actually have a successful spawn. The hatcheries are able to keep the water a little bit cooler, and on the other hand, we will still have salmon coming in out of the ocean,” he said.

To help this season, the hatchery is planning to raise 500,000 additional baby fall-run Chinook.

Bill Templin says anything that helps salmon spawn and survive is needed.

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“These fish can spawn naturally upstream as well, so this is great everybody loves to see salmon the wild,” he said.