PESCADERO, Calif.—Federal officials say an experimental channel through a central California beach sandbar has saved hundreds of threatened steelhead trout.

Volunteers dug a channel through a sandbar that forms every year at Pescadero State Beach, trapping water in in a lagoon that became stagnant and has killed fish for decades. The San Mateo County beach is 14 miles south of Half Moon Bay.

The San Jose Mercury News ( http://bit.ly/VeES5g) says observers counted 235 dead trout.

But Coastal Alliance for Species Enhancement spokesman Steve Simms says the fish kill was much higher.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regional supervisor Patrick Rutten says the experiment was an unequivocal success. It will likely be tried again next fall.

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Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com