California Film Features Salmon and Quagga Mussels

Spring-run Chinook salmon and quagga-sniffing canines play a starring role in the latest adventure in the "California's Water" series, produced by Huell Howser and underwritten by members of the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA). The segment, titled "Living with Nature," is set to air on Sept. 23 in Los Angeles. Following its debut, it will air statewide on PBS stations (check local listings for details).

In his most recent water adventure, Huell explores the relationships between water and nature in California and how each affects the other. The first stop in the journey is Butte Creek in the northern Sacramento Valley, where Western Canal Water District and state and federal agencies have removed four dams to improve passage for endangered salmon and other fish.

The segment includes interviews with Western Canal General Manager Ted Trimble and a California Department of Fish and Game team that conducted a snorkel survey in the creek to help determine how many salmon have returned. Huge pods of salmon are visible as the team snorkels along the creek.

From Butte Creek, the adventure moves to Clear Lake, where Huell gets a close look at an invasive species known as the quagga mussel. The mussels, which attach themselves to boats and other surfaces, can clog pipes and water intakes and cause tremendous damage to water delivery systems.

During the segment, the Department of Fish and Game uses three specially trained dogs to detect mussels hidden on boats as part of a demonstration. Each dog finds the mussels -- which are nearly invisible to the naked eye -- in less than a minute.

"This is all another example of living with nature," Huell says at the close of filming. "It's about solving problems and protecting species, and it' all part of California's water story."

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