The federal fisheries service is considering the Klamath River spring run of Chinook salmon for the endangered species list.
The Karuk Tribe proposed the listing along with an environmental group. They emphasized genetic differences between spring and fall Chinook in the Klamath.
Biologist Peter Moyle at the University of California-Davis says 14 of California's 32 salmonid species are already listed. If no actions are taken, that number can increase
"Really what all this means is if we don't take the kind of actions we've been talking about, we'll lose a lot of these fish in the next 50 to 100 years," Moyle said.
There are hundreds of spring-run Chinook salmon in the Klamath, but they once numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Four hydroelectric dams are slated for removal in the next few years, which could help some fish runs.
The federal fisheries service has until next year to decide whether to list the fish as threatened or endangered.