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The State

March 03, 1986

The most relentless chain of storms in decades that killed 13 people and inflicted more than $300 million in damage in Northern California, also punished the land, officials said. The force of the swollen Eel River toppled giant redwoods that had been growing for 1,000 years, an irretrievable loss. Some campsites along streams and rivers were obliterated. The San Francisco Bay Commission said the record flow of water from the mountains to the Golden Gate helped flush pollutants from the bay and lowered salinity levels in the bay delta. But muddy sediment could make it hard for fish and other wildlife to find food. In the Sacramento and American river tributaries, young Chinook salmon were expected to get a quick ride to the sea. John Hayes of the state Department of Fish and Game observed: "The same thing occurred in 1983 and was partially responsible for the large run (of returning fish) we got last fall," and he hoped there might be a replay in two or three years.

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