California’s two primary salmon species, Coho and Chinook, have
experienced significant declines from historical populations.
Of particular importance is the Chinook salmon because the
species supports commercial fishing and related jobs and economic
activities at fish hatcheries.
The decline in salmon numbers is attributed to a variety of
manmade and natural factors including drought, habitat
destruction, water diversions, migratory obstacles created by
local, state and federal water projects, over-fishing,
unfavorable ocean conditions, pollution and introduced predator
species. Wetlands have also been drained and diked; dams have
blocked salmon from reaching historic spawning grounds.
Years of declining populations represent a significant economic
loss and have led to federally mandated salmon restoration plans
that complicate water diversions and conveyance for agriculture
and other uses.
At the turn of the century, the plight of coho salmon on the
Russian River was severe — so severe that the Russian River
Coho Salmon Captive Broodstock Program was initiated in 2001 to
prevent extirpation (or localized extinction) of coho in the
river. Scientists at the Broodstock Program at Don Clausen Fish
Hatchery in Sonoma County have worked to pull the fish back
from the brink in the decades since, with the eventual goal of
re-establishing self-sustaining salmon runs in the
watershed. A new study published in Conservation
Letters offers genetic rescue — a captive breeding
intervention that crosses an at-risk species’ population with
the same species from another geographic area — as a viable
method to keep Russian River coho salmon from
To hear water stakeholders tell their stories, the connection
to the Russian River is every bit as personal and spiritual as
it is professional in nature. Take, for instance, Dry Creek
Rancheria Tribal Chairman Chris Wright. The Pomo Indians tribal
leader is spearheading a major grant-funded,
multi-million-dollar, drought-resistant water capture plan. He
hopes it will spark interest from Healdsburg-area wineries and
farms in a 7,000-acre area to help with the water supply that
keeps the Russian River economic microcosm going. … The
phased-in project aims to replenish the groundwater basin with
up to 9,000-acre feet of water savings annually, when the
Russian River increases to high flows. Traditionally, that
stormwater runoff represents a wasted supply.
Shortly after sunrise on April 19, employees of PacifiCorp and
the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) opened all six outlet
gates along with nine of the spillway bays on Link River Dam,
initiating this year’s “surface flushing flow” for the Klamath
River. … The surface flushing flow is based on 2017
“guidance document” prepared by scientists and policy advisors
from the Yurok, Karuk, and Hoopa Valley tribes. Reclamation
formally adopted the surface flushing flow as part of Klamath
Project operations in 2019, after being required by a federal
court to implement these flows in 2017 and 2018. The purpose of
the flushing flow is to disturb river sediment and thereby
dislodge the colonies of microscopic worms that act as an
intermediate host for Ceratanova shasta, a parasite that
The Bureau of Reclamation’s California-Great Basin Region today
announced the selection of Kristin White as deputy regional
director of operations. White will oversee regional
operations that include the Northern California Area Office,
Central California Area Office and South-Central California
Area Office, as well as the Central Valley Operations Office,
Bay-Delta Office and the San Joaquin River Restoration Program.
White previously served as CVO operations manager where she was
responsible for the daily water and power operations of
Reclamation’s Central Valley Project, one of the world’s
premier water storage and delivery systems.
A new salmon habitat has been created on the Sacramento River
in Redding thanks to an improvement act providing millions and
partnerships between state, local, and tribal partners. The
Kapusta Open Space Side Channel Project was built on the
Sacramento River near the Kapusta Open Space to protect the
endangered chinook salmon. Wednesday representatives from all
over came to celebrate. The channel will provide a
year-round spawning habitat for the fish where they are
protected from prey. The channel is about a half-mile long and
was excavated this winter and completed this spring. This
is just the first of five projects Chico State
Enterprise has received $27 million through
the Central Valley Project Improvement Act to create.
We are thrilled to share that (de-)construction for removal of
the Klamath River dams is well underway. Copco 2, the first of
four lower dams slated to be removed, will be removed by the
end of September, according to Mark Bransom, CEO of the Klamath
River Renewal Corporation. How will Copco 2 be
removed? In a recent interview with KDRV, Bransom
explained that contractors will drill small holes into the
large concrete structure of the dam, pack those holes with
explosives, and then detonate them. This will enable crews to
break up larger pieces of concrete into smaller pieces that are
more easily managed by their equipment. When will the
other dams be removed? By the end of 2024, the remaining
three dams — Copco 1, Iron Gate Dam, and J.C. Boyle Dam — will
On May 16, 2023, the California Department of Fish and
Wildlife, National Marine Fisheries Service, and Yuba Water
Agency announced a plan to design and build a fish bypass at
Daguerre Point Dam on the lower Yuba River (see Figure below).
At present, the dam has fish ladders on both ends of the dam
that don’t work well. The plan’s conceptual design is for
a bypass channel that would allow fish to circumvent the
existing dam; the plan would retain the dam. The plan
would reconfigure the diversion works at the dam’s south end
and add effective fish screens to the agricultural diversion
infrastructure at both ends of the dam. Essentially, the bypass
would operate as a long, high-capacity fish ladder that would
also allow passage of sturgeon and lamprey, which cannot use
the existing fish ladders.
The fight to maintain water levels in Northern California
rivers for fish received a push after the Karuk tribe and the
Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations filed a
petition with the California Water Resources Control Board
seeking to permanently enforce minimum flows on the Scott
River. Located in Siskiyou County, California, the Scott River
is a 60-mile tributary of the Klamath River and home to several
trout and salmon species, including some of the last Southern
Oregon-Northern California coho salmon – a species listed as
threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1997.
… The petition filed Monday is not unlike the
tribe’s petition filed in 2021, which spurred the state’s water
board to adopt drought-related emergency regulations that set a
minimum flow standard for the same river.
The California Fish and Game Commission acted unanimously to
enact a full closure of California’s recreational salmon
fishing season in the Klamath River Basin and Central Valley
rivers through its annual process for adjusting seasons and bag
limits on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. In a separate
emergency action, the Commission voted to close recreational
salmon fisheries in the Smith River and Eel River, and the
summer season in the Klamath and Trinity rivers. Additionally,
in the same emergency action, the Commission voted to allow
federally recognized tribes that currently or historically used
the river segments affected by the recreational fishing
closures, to continue fishing under existing inland sport
fishing regulations. The regulations are expected to take
effect no later than July 1, 2023, following approval by the
Office of Administrative Law.
In a widely-broadcasted press conference held on the banks
of the lower Yuba River yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom,
the Yuba Water Agency, the California Department of Fish and
Wildlife (CDFW) and the National Marine Fisheries Service
(NMFS) announced a controversial plan to build a fish passage
canal around Daguerre Point Dam and begin a reintroduction
trap-and- haul effort around New Bullards Bar Dam. Shockingly,
no representatives of fishing groups, environmental groups and
Tribes were invited to be part of the negotiations for the
restoration effort nor invited to the press conference by a
state government that has constantly gushed
about “inclusion” and “diversity” but has done the very
opposite in practice.
They come from four counties and have only months to work.
Their interests often diverge and sometimes even conflict with
one another. But they have a common goal: Find a path forward
in a world without Pacific Gas & Electric’s Potter Valley power
plant. The stakeholders include water providers, agricultural
users and elected officials whose constituents depend on
diversions from the Eel River to help fill Lake Mendocino and
feed the upper Russian River in Mendocino and Sonoma counties.
They also include fishery interests that want two aging dams
removed from the Eel River to improve fish passage and restore
the river’s ecological function.
Preliminary construction work has begun as the Klamath River
Renewal Corporation prepares to remove a total of four dams.
Copco 2 — the first dam to go — will be removed from the
Klamath River by the end of September, according to Mark
Bransom, CEO of the KRRC. … The other three dams — Copco 1,
Iron Gate Dam and the John C. Boyle Dam — will be removed by
the end of 2024. Bransom says up to 400 crew members will be
working on this project through the end of next year. Right
now, multiple recreation sites near Copco 2 have been shut down
to allow more room for construction teams and traffic. As a
result, local recreation businesses like rafting companies may
see fewer customers this summer.
There is a stir of excitement at the Klamath Tribes Ambodat
Department with the first steps being taken to bring Chinook
salmon back to their Klamath homeland. Recently, Shahnie Rich
and Lottie Riddle, Klamath Tribal members and employees at
Ambodat, joined a team of biologists and partners in tagging
juvenile Chinook in order to study their downstream movement
through the Upper Klamath Basin. Rich was one of several fish
surgeons that implanted acoustic tags in the juvenile salmon to
track their movements from their release sites on the Wood and
Williamson Rivers, through Upper Klamath Lake and downstream in
the Klamath River. This was a collaborative effort involving
the Klamath Tribes, Trout Unlimited, Bureau of Reclamation,
Bureau of Land Management, California Department of Fish and
Wildlife, Cal Poly Humboldt, Oregon State University, U.S.
Geological Survey, National Marine Fisheries Service and U.C.
Citing the need to boost survival rates for imperiled salmon
and sturgeon along the heavily dammed Yuba River, state, local
and federal officials have announced a $60-million plan to
build a channel that will allow fish to swim easily around a
dam that has impeded their passage for more than a century. …
Already, some environmentalists and fishing advocates have
blasted the Yuba River plan, saying it was the result of
closed-door haggling between government agencies and doesn’t do
enough to protect threatened species. Some say that a better
solution would be removal of the dam.
The operating theater is simple: sponges; a few instruments;
and what looks like a foam yoga block. Rachelle Tallman, a
graduate student in Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology at
UC Davis, places a small fish—a juvenile spring Chinook
salmon—into the ovoid depression on top of the block. Working
quickly but carefully, she uses a scalpel to make a small
incision along the fish’s belly, then gently places a
lentil-sized object—an acoustic transmitter—into the incision.
… The effort is part of a collaborative
project being led by ODFW to release young Chinook into
the upper portion of the Klamath watershed. The fish were
brought here from the Trinity River Hatchery in California as
fertilized eggs, in 2021.
California’s Yuba River, a vital breeding ground for salmon and
other fish, could enjoy a new chapter as an expanded habitat
under a new $60 million federal and state replenishment
project. Governor Gavin Newsom joined several state and
federal leaders at Daguerre Point Dam in Marysville, to
announce the new plan to remove obstacles and expand vital fish
habitats in the river. Chuck Bonham, director of
the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said
at a briefing in front of the dam that the structure has not
evolved since 1910, and is currently a complete barrier to
sturgeon and lamprey that need more miles of habitat.
Bay Area biologists remain uncertain about the status of the
region’s endangered and threatened salmon species after
challenges posed by the recent onslaught of winter rainstorms
inhibited their research and may have prevented some of the
fish from successfully breeding and laying eggs. Marin
Municipal Water District ecologist Eric
Ettlinger told the Marin Independent Journal the
historic storms have not only prevented surveyors from
monitoring the numbers of coho and Chinook salmon for several
weeks but also apparently damaged a number of their spawning
beds, which are referred to as redds, in Marin County, home to
the largest population of coho salmon from Monterey Bay to the
Noyo River in Mendocino County.
Just a few weeks ago, we found ourselves in the heart of
Fortuna, California, soaking up the knowledge and camaraderie
at the 40th Annual Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF)
Conference. CalTrout staff members were thrilled to be part of
the bustling crowd of fellow scientists, conservationists, and
policy-makers, all equally passionate about the world of
aquatic conservation. The conference kick-started with 2 days
full of immersive workshops and exciting field tours. This was
followed by a half-day plenary session that delved into the
many intricacies of the Klamath River. (We highly recommend
watching the talks from that session here.) The subsequent day
and a half were packed with technical, biological, and
policy-related concurrent sessions.
Full of cold, fresh rainwater and snowmelt from the Sierra, the
San Francisco Bay is in a strikingly different place than it
was last summer. Water gushing out of the delta is
flushing out pollutants and contaminants and giving endangered
baby salmon a helpful push into the ocean. Longfin smelt and
yellowfin gobies are spawning in the usually swampy southern
end of the bay, and sediment coming in from mountain streams is
replenishing the structure of its basin. Just eight months ago,
the bay was murky brown and its perimeters were piled with dead
fish. Unprecedented in known Bay Area history, a harmful algae
bloom that followed three years of drought killed off thousands
of long-lived sturgeon and smaller fish.
A federal judge considered Wednesday a preliminary injunction
request from Native American tribes and anglers who seek to
protect endangered whales and threatened salmon by blocking the
federal government from delivering water for irrigation. The
petition is the latest in the fight over the Klamath River and
sustaining flows for the threatened Southern Oregon and
Northern California coast coho salmon and endangered southern
resident killer whales that depend on Klamath River Chinook
salmon as prey. Judge William H. Orrick, US District Court for
the Northern District of California, said he’ll take under
advisement arguments from tribes, fishermen, water users, …
Linda MacElwee, watershed coordinator for the Mendocino County
Resource Conservation District (MCRCD), still receives numerous
calls every fall as a bar of sediment builds up at the mouth of
the Navarro River. She explained that the state used to open up
this bar, which is created by low flows and big waves and
blocks fish passage into the river. … The Navarro
estuary has been a “black box” of research on salmon habitat,
MacElwee explained. But this year, it was included in an $8.3
million grant proposal by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) pursuing
floodplain reconnection and habitat restoration for Central
California Coast (CCC) coho salmon and threatened California
Coastal Chinook at three different rivers and seven different
sites in Mendocino County.
In 2002, a massive fish kill left over 70,000 salmon floating
belly up in the river, dead from diseases that flourish in
waters drained low by drought and agricultural diversions. Dr.
Kayla Begay, then a freshman at Hoopa Valley High, remembers
the incident well. “Nobody in our lifetime had seen something
like that happen, where so many fish died before they ever got
to spawn,” said Dr. Begay, now Assistant Professor of Native
American Studies at Cal Poly Humboldt. Begay decided to do
something about it. Begay joined forces with fellow Hoopa
Valley tribal citizen Tasha James and their classmates Erika
Chase, a Hoopa Valley tribal citizen and of Shinnecock descent,
and Chelsea Reed, a citizen of the Yurok Tribe.
In March, the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife delivered
grim news to Californians: only 62,000 adult Chinook salmon had
returned from the Pacific Ocean to Sacramento River basin
tributaries in 2022. The number is substantially fewer than the
targeted minimum of 125,000 fish set by the Pacific Fishery
Management Council (PFMC), the entity that manages groundfish,
coastal pelagic species, highly migratory species, and salmon
fisheries on the West Coast of the United States. …
Reports and posts accompanying the salmon season closure have
been rife with misinformation, repeating three persistent and
self-serving myths regarding the factors that have contributed
to the imperiled state of Central Valley salmon runs. What are
California has begun the public process for a potential
regulatory proposal expanding the list of chemicals that may be
regulated under its Safer Consumer Products Program
(SCP). The California Department of Toxic Substances
Control (DTSC), part of the California Environmental Protection
Agency, has proposed adding microplastics and
para-Phenylenediamine (PPD) derivatives to its Candidate
Chemicals List (CCL) in an attempt to control their impact on
human health and the environment. PPD derivatives are a family
of chemicals used in a variety of industrial
applications. The only PPD derivative currently on the CCL
is 6PPD, a substance used to prevent deterioration of
motor-vehicle tires but that has also been found to hurt
certain species of salmon when it transforms into a toxicant
known as 6PPD-quinone.
A California tribe has signed agreements with state and federal
agencies to work together on efforts to return endangered
Chinook salmon to their traditional spawning areas upstream of
Shasta Dam, a deal that could advance the long-standing goal of
tribal leaders to reintroduce fish that were transplanted from
California to New Zealand more than a century ago and still
thrive there. Members of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe have long
sought to restore a wild salmon population in the McCloud River
north of Redding, where their ancestors once lived. The
agreements that were signed this week for the first time
formally recognize the tribe as a partner participating in
efforts to save the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon.
Over the past year we’ve been showing you California’s effort
to save the winter run chinook salmon – a fish that has almost
been lost to dammed rivers and warming waters. It’s part of a
growing partnership between state and federal wildlife agencies
– and a small California tribe that’s been fighting to save
those fish for years, and bring them back home. On Monday, a
historic pact was signed to expand on those
efforts … For Sisk and the Winnemem Tribe this day
would have seemed improbable, or impossible, just a few years
ago. A tiny California tribe without federal recognition,
signing a formal agreement with state and federal partners.
When the moment arrived to actually sign the documents, the
tribe’s spiritual leader couldn’t help but acknowledge
generations of mistrust.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries
and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe signed agreements to restore
Chinook salmon to the mountains north of Redding, California,
on May 1, 2023. The agreements support a joint effort to return
Chinook salmon to their original spawning areas in cold
mountain rivers now blocked by Shasta Reservoir in northern
California. The goal is ecological and cultural restoration
which will one day renew fishing opportunities for the tribe
that depended on the once-plentiful salmon for food and much
more. The tribe signed a co-management agreement with CDFW and
a co-stewardship agreement with NOAA Fisheries, reflecting the
way the two agencies describe accords with tribes. This
three-way collaboration is a historic achievement that advances
our common goals.
The photo is a common one (Fig 1). Large numbers of fish are
being released into a river, stream or estuary – products of a
fish hatchery. A politician or government leader looks on, or
even participates in the release, says a few words, and then
grabs a photo opportunity for the press or social media. It
*looks* good, like we are doing our best to save and improve
fisheries. But, does it actually work? On the surface,
fish hatcheries strike many as an example of a management
approach that is effective. If we don’t have enough fish, why
not just grow more fish in a hatchery and release them into the
wild to boost populations? Yet on closer inspection, a variety
of problems arise from reliance on hatcheries to support
fisheries or to ‘save’ endangered species.
In April 2023, the permitting and design phase began at Big
Chico Creek, or Ótakim Séwi, for the Iron Canyon Fish Passage
Project which will create a path for anadromous and other
migratory native fish to travel beyond Iron Canyon to Big Chico
Creek Ecological Reserve and into critical cold-water habitats.
The project team will approach project permitting and design
simultaneously as we work towards construction in 2025. What
happens during this phase? Before project construction
can begin, the project team must obtain necessary permits to
meet relevant state and federal regulations.
Researchers from NOAA Fisheries and University of California
Santa Cruz will tag several groups of juvenile salmon in the
Sacramento River system. The tags will help us measure the
benefits from the river’s first “pulse flow.” A pulse flow is a
rapid increase and decrease in dam released water designed to
resemble natural spring runoff. The researchers want to know if
the pulse flow increases the survival of juvenile salmon and
improves their chances of returning to the river as an adult to
spawn. They plan on measuring this by implanting tags into
juvenile salmon migrating downriver before, during, and after
the pulse. They will compare their speed and survival on the
way to the ocean.
For 19-year-old Danielle Frank, California’s Trinity River is a
cultural lifeline. “We are water people. We are river people,”
she says. “And we believe that when our river drains and there
is no more water left, we will no longer be here.” Frank
is a Hoopa tribal member and Yurok descendant. The Trinity
River runs through her homeland. … The river has been
dammed, and water from the Trinity is often diverted to the
Central Valley. Frank says those diversions — combined with
droughts and global warming — are causing fish kills.
… So Frank is pushing for change. As the youth
coordinator for the nonprofit Save California Salmon,
Frank helps young people maintain their connection to the river
and learn how to influence water policy.
This tour 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.
Land and waterway managers labored
hard over the course of a century to control California’s unruly
rivers by building dams and levees to slow and contain their
water. Now, farmers, environmentalists and agencies are undoing
some of that work as part of an accelerating campaign to restore
the state’s major floodplains.
Biologists have designed a variety
of unique experiments in the past decade to demonstrate the
benefits that floodplains provide for small fish. Tracking
studies have used acoustic tags to show that chinook salmon
smolts with access to inundated fields are more likely than their
river-bound cohorts to reach the Pacific Ocean. This is because
the richness of floodplains offers a vital buffet of nourishment
on which young salmon can capitalize, supercharging their growth
and leading to bigger, stronger smolts.
One of California Gov. Gavin
Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade
Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within
weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that
Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.
That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach”
on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded
floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.
The growing leadership of women in water. The Colorado River’s persistent drought and efforts to sign off on a plan to avert worse shortfalls of water from the river. And in California’s Central Valley, promising solutions to vexing water resource challenges.
These were among the topics that Western Water news explored in 2018.
We’re already planning a full slate of stories for 2019. You can sign up here to be alerted when new stories are published. In the meantime, take a look at what we dove into in 2018:
In 1983, a landmark California Supreme Court ruling extended the public trust doctrine to tributary creeks that feed Mono Lake, which is a navigable water body even though the creeks themselves were not. The ruling marked a dramatic shift in water law and forced Los Angeles to cut back its take of water from those creeks in the Eastern Sierra to preserve the lake.
Now, a state appellate court has for the first time extended that same public trust doctrine to groundwater that feeds a navigable river, in this case the Scott River flowing through a picturesque valley of farms and alfalfa in Siskiyou County in the northern reaches of California.
This tour explored the Sacramento River and its tributaries
through a scenic landscape as participants learned about the
issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply.
All together, the river and its tributaries supply 35 percent of
California’s water and feed into two major projects: the State
Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. Tour
participants got an on-site update of Oroville Dam spillway
An hour’s drive north of Sacramento sits a picture-perfect valley hugging the eastern foothills of Northern California’s Coast Range, with golden hills framing grasslands mostly used for cattle grazing.
Back in the late 1800s, pioneer John Sites built his ranch there and a small township, now gone, bore his name. Today, the community of a handful of families and ranchers still maintains a proud heritage.
Farmers in the Central Valley are broiling about California’s plan to increase flows in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems to help struggling salmon runs avoid extinction. But in one corner of the fertile breadbasket, River Garden Farms is taking part in some extraordinary efforts to provide the embattled fish with refuge from predators and enough food to eat.
And while there is no direct benefit to one farm’s voluntary actions, the belief is what’s good for the fish is good for the farmers.
This tour explored the Sacramento River and its tributaries
through a scenic landscape as participants learned about the
issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply.
All together, the river and its tributaries supply 35 percent of
California’s water and feed into two major projects: the State
Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. Tour
participants got an on-site update of repair efforts on the
Oroville Dam spillway.
Before dams were built on the upper
Sacramento River, flood water regularly carried woody debris that
was an important part of the aquatic habitat.
Deprived of this refuge, salmon in the lower parts of the upper
Sacramento River have had a difficult time surviving and making
it down the river and out to the ocean. Seeing this, a group of
people, including water users, decided to lend a hand with an
unprecedented pilot project that saw massive walnut tree trunks
affixed to 12,000-pound boulders and deposited into the deepest
part of the Sacramento River near Redding to provide shelter for
young salmon and steelhead migrating downstream.
Protecting and restoring California’s populations of threatened
and endangered Chinook salmon and steelhead trout have been a big
part of the state’s water management picture for more than 20
years. Significant resources have been dedicated to helping the
various runs of the iconic fish, with successes and setbacks. In
a landscape dramatically altered from its natural setting,
finding a balance between the competing demands for water is
Less than 50 miles northeast of Chico, California, begins the
93-mile Butte Creek – a tributary of the Sacramento River. It is named
after Butte County, which was in turn named for the nearby
volcanic plateaus, or “buttes,” and travels through a massive
canyon on its way southwest to the Sacramento Valley.
As a watershed, it drains about 800 square miles, both for
agricultural and residential use. The upper watershed is
dominated by forests, while the lower watershed is primarily
20-minute version of the 2012 documentary The Klamath Basin: A
Restoration for the Ages. This DVD is ideal for showing at
community forums and speaking engagements to help the public
understand the complex issues related to complex water management
disputes in the Klamath River Basin. Narrated by actress Frances
For over a century, the Klamath River Basin along the Oregon and
California border has faced complex water management disputes. As
relayed in this 2012, 60-minute public television documentary
narrated by actress Frances Fisher, the water interests range
from the Tribes near the river, to energy producer PacifiCorp,
farmers, municipalities, commercial fishermen, environmentalists
– all bearing legitimate arguments for how to manage the water.
After years of fighting, a groundbreaking compromise may soon
settle the battles with two epic agreements that hold the promise
of peace and fish for the watershed. View an excerpt from the
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
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
This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays
the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas
and Indian reservations within the Truckee River Basin, including
the Newlands Project, Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe. Map text
explains the issues surrounding the use of the Truckee-Carson
rivers, Lake Tahoe water quality improvement efforts, fishery
restoration and the effort to reach compromise solutions to many
of these issues.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Flood Management explains the
physical flood control system, including levees; discusses
previous flood events (including the 1997 flooding); explores
issues of floodplain management and development; provides an
overview of flood forecasting; and outlines ongoing flood control
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an
excellent overview of the history of water development and use in
California. It includes sections on flood management; the state,
federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water
rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for
stretching the water supply such as water marketing and
conjunctive use. New in this 10th edition of the guide is a
section on the human need for water.
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 project’s history, the guide describes
the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the benefits the CVP
brought to the state and the CVP Improvement Act (CVPIA).
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing
uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta,
its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex issues
with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural
drainage, fish and wildlife, and water distribution.
The Red Bluff Diversion Dam, its gates raised since 2011 to allow
fish passage, spans the Sacramento River two miles
southeast of Red Bluff on the Sacramento River in Tehama County.
It is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation and operated and
maintained by the Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority.
Battle Creek, a tributary of the
Sacramento River in Shasta and Tehama counties, is considered one
of the most important anadromous fish spawning streams in the
At present, barriers make it difficult for anadromous fish,
including chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead trout, to
migrate. Battle Creek has several hydroelectric dams, diversions
and a complex canal system between its north and south forks that
This issue of Western Water looks at the BDCP and the
Coalition to Support Delta Projects, issues that are aimed at
improving the health and safety of the Delta while solidifying
California’s long-term water supply reliability.
This printed issue of Western Water features a
roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources
consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development
with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor
to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial
page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of
research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of
This printed issue of Western Water examines the issues
associated with the State Water Board’s proposed revision of the
water quality Bay-Delta Plan, most notably the question of
whether additional flows are needed for the system, and how they
might be provided.
This printed issue of Western Water examines science –
the answers it can provide to help guide management decisions in
the Delta and the inherent uncertainty it holds that can make
moving forward such a tenuous task.
This printed issue of Western Water examines the Russian and
Santa Ana rivers – areas with ongoing issues not dissimilar to
the rest of the state – managing supplies within a lingering
drought, improving water quality and revitalizing and restoring
the vestiges of the native past.
This printed copy of Western Water examines the native salmon and
trout dilemma – the extent of the crisis, its potential impact on
water deliveries and the lengths to which combined efforts can
help restore threatened and endangered species.
This printed copy of Western Water examines the Delta through the
many ongoing activities focusing on it, most notably the Delta
Vision process. Many hours of testimony, research, legal
proceedings, public hearings and discussion have occurred and
will continue as the state seeks the ultimate solution to the
problems tied to 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.
Fresh from the ocean, adult salmon struggle to swim hundreds of
miles upstream to spawn — and then die — in the same stream in
which they were born. For the salmon, the river-to-ocean,
ocean-to-river life cycle is nothing more than instinct. For
humans, it invites wonder. The cycle has prevailed for centuries,
yet as salmon populations have declined, the cycle has become a
source of conflict. Water users have seen their supplies reduced.
Fishermen have had their catch curtailed. Environmentalists have
pushed for more instream flows for fish.