The San Joaquin River drains California’s Central Valley, but has been negatively impacted by dam construction, poor streamflows, and poor water quality.
Formerly home to the nation’s largest spring-run of Chinook salmon, the river was dammed in 1942 to provide water to farms and cities in the San Joaquin Valley.
In the 1980s, environmental organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council filed suit to restore water flows to a 60-mile dry stretch of river and to boost the dwindling salmon populations. The lawsuit was settled in 2006.
The San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement’s goals were to refill the 60-miles of dry river bed and salmon runs while minimizing water supply impacts to farmers. Congressional action set the plan in motion.
Water releases are now used to restore the river and to provide habitat for naturally reproducing populations of self-sustaining Chinook salmon and other fish. Long-term efforts also include measures to reduce or avoid adverse water supply impacts from the restoration flows.
We ventured through California’s Central Valley, known as the nation’s breadbasket thanks to an imported supply of surface water and local groundwater. Covering about 20,000 square miles through the heart of the state, the valley provides 25 percent of the nation’s food, including 40 percent of all fruits, nuts and vegetables consumed throughout the country.
As work to restore the San Joaquin River continues, scientists are seeing promising signs that salmon can thrive in the river as hatchery fish reach new milestones. A recent breakthrough came in fall 2017, when spring-run Chinook salmon created their nests, called redds, in the deeper and colder parts of the river below Friant Dam.
Participants of this tour snake along the San Joaquin River to learn firsthand about one of the nation’s largest and most expensive river restoration plans.
The San Joaquin River was the focus of one of the most contentious legal battles in California water history, ending in a 2006 settlement between the federal government, Friant Water Authority and a coalition of environmental groups.
A decade ago, environmentalists and the federal government agreed to revive a 150-mile stretch of California’s second-longest river, an ambitious effort aimed at allowing salmon again to swim up to the Sierra Nevada foothills to spawn.
Years late, the first major project of the San Joaquin River restoration is closer to liftoff with a $326 million price tag and a load of political baggage. … The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation this month is unveiling plans and seeking public comment.
In the chilly January fog, Bee photographer John Walker and I last week stood at a spot where the San Joaquin River died in the 1960s — the Sand Slough Control Structure in Merced County. We were researching the river restoration story that published in Sunday’s Bee.
For more than 15 years I have lived within a mile of the San Francisco Bay. However it recently dawned on me that I had never actually spent any time on the water exploring this place where Central Valley Rivers and the Pacific Ocean ebb and flow. … For that reason, I am excited by the launch of the San Joaquin River Access Guide, available at SJRiver.org.
The peace and quiet of the moment is suddenly broken by a splash in the middle of the river. It’s the sound of fall run Chinook salmon returning to the San Joaquin, bringing with them the foundation for new life and a cause for celebration.
A few seats remain for the Foundation’s Nov. 6-7 San Joaquin River Restoration Tour. This two-day, one-night tour offers you the opportunity to learn the latest about one of the largest river restoration projects in the nation. The tour starts and ends in Fresno.
Join us on the Nov. 6-7 San Joaquin River Restoration Tour that will explore the challenges associated with restoration of the San Joaquin River, a program that is the result of a legal settlement. See firsthand the progress being made and discuss the current conflicts so you can better understand the coordination taking place to implement one of the largest river restoration projects in the nation. The two-day, one-night tour starts and ends in Fresno.
No longer will Lawrence K. Karlton’s roar be heard reverberating through the spacious 15th-floor courtroom at 5th and I Streets where he presided. … First, it’s important to understand that the environment is one of Karlton’s favorite areas of the law, especially its place in the California water wars.
This 30-minute documentary-style DVD on the history and current state of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program includes an overview of the geography and history of the river, historical and current water delivery and uses, the genesis and timeline of the 1988 lawsuit, how the settlement was reached and what was agreed to.
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.
This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, features a map of the San Joaquin River. The map text focuses on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, which aims to restore flows and populations of Chinook salmon to the river below Friant Dam to its confluence with the Merced River. The text discusses the history of the program, its goals and ongoing challenges with implementation.
This beautifully illustrated 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing and display in any office or classroom, focuses on the theme of Delta sustainability.
The text, photos and graphics explain issues related to land subsidence, levees and flooding, urbanization and fish and wildlife protection. An inset map illustrates the tidal action that increases the salinity of the Delta’s waterways. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the California Bay-Delta Authority.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project explores the history and development of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), California’s largest surface water delivery system. In addition to the history of the project, the guide describes the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the benefits the CVP brought to the state, and the CVP Improvement Act (CVPIA).
A new look for our most popular product! And it’s the perfect gift for the water wonk in your life.
Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the state. On this updated version it is easier to see California’s natural waterways and manmade reservoirs and aqueducts - including federally, state and locally funded projects - the wild and scenic rivers system, and natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects, wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado River.
This issue of Western Water looks at the political landscape in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento as it relates to water issues in 2007. Several issues are under consideration, including the means to deal with impending climate change, the fate of the San Joaquin River, the prospects for new surface storage in California and the Delta.
This issue of Western Water explores the implications for the San Joaquin River following the decision in the Natural Resources Defense Council lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation and Friant Water Users Authority that Friant Dam is required to comply with a state law that requires enough water be released to sustain downstream fish populations.
The San Joaquin River provides the water that enables farms up and down the San Joaquin Valley’s eastern side to produce a substantial agricultural bounty. For more than 50 years, the majority of the river has been halted at Friant Dam and diverted north and south for use by farms and homes throughout parts of five counties, in the process making that part of the valley the most productive agricultural region in the world.