The San Joaquin River, which helps drain California’s Central
Valley, has been negatively impacted by construction of dams,
inadequate streamflows and poor water quality. Efforts are now
underway to restore the river and continue providing agricultural
lands with vital irrigation, among other water demands.
After an 18-year lawsuit to restore water flows to a 60-mile dry
stretch of river and to boost the dwindling salmon populations,
the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement is underway.
Water releases are now used to restore the San Joaquin River and
to provide habitat for naturally-reproducing populations of
self-sustaining Chinook salmon and other fish in the San Joaquin
River. Long-term efforts also include measures to reduce or avoid
adverse water supply impacts from the restoration flows.
New Melones holds four times as much water as it did at this
time last year. That’s good news if the state shifts back into
a dry pattern. But if California gets hit with another string
of atmospheric river storms this winter, there won’t be enough
room to hold it all back.
Participants of this tour snaked along the San Joaquin River to
learn firsthand about one of the nation’s largest and most
expensive river restoration projects.
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 Users Authority and a coalition of environmental
The 2-day, 1-night tour traveled along the river from Friant
Dam near Fresno to the confluence of the Merced River. As it
weaved across an historic farming region, participants learn
about the status of the river’s restoration and how the
challenges of the plan are being worked out.
A prehistoric fish that looks like it dropped straight out of
the dinosaur age has found its way back to the San Joaquin
River watershed. Biologists have confirmed the presence of a
green sturgeon — a threatened species under the federal
Endangered Species Act — in the Stanislaus River near Knights
A few tickets are still available for our Nov. 1-2 San Joaquin River
Restoration Tour, a once-a-year educational opportunity to
see the program’s progress first-hand. The tour begins and ends
in Fresno with an overnight stay in Los Banos.
Explore more than 100 miles of Central California’s longest river
while learning about one of the nation’s largest and costliest
river restorations. Our San Joaquin River
Restoration Tour on Nov. 1-2 will feature speakers from key
governmental agencies and stakeholder groups who will explain the
restoration program’s goals and progress.
As California continues an epic regulatory effort to reallocate
water supplies for salmon habitat, an equally big question
looms over the process: How much water do salmon and other
native fish really need? The question is at the core of a
process led by the State Water Resources Control Board to take
water from existing human uses – both agriculture and urban –
and rededicate it to instream environmental flows in the San
Joaquin River, the state’s second-largest river.
The Sacramento and San Joaquin are the two major rivers in the
Central Valley that feed the Delta, the hub of
California’s water supply network.
Our last two water tours of 2017 will take in-depth looks at how
these rivers are managed and used for agriculture, cities and the
environment. You’ll see infrastructure, learn about efforts to
restore salmon runs and talk to people with expertise on these
A state agency has issued a notice of violation to Modesto for
discharging roughly 755 million gallons of partially treated
waste water in to the San Joaquin River in March because the
city’s sewer system had been overwhelmed by storms and rising
To protect pond levees and its water treatment infrastructure,
the city of Modesto began releasing partially treated
wastewater into the San Joaquin River on Thursday afternoon.
… Working with the California Department of Water
Resources’ dam-safety division, there was a shared concern that
increased elevation in treatment ponds, combined with wind and
wave action, could erode levees, he [city Utilities Director
Larry Parlin] said.
Modesto appears to have bought itself some time before it may
have to release partially treated wastewater that poses a
public health risk into the San Joaquin River. The city’s sewer
system has been overwhelmed by the recent storms and rising
river water, and it is reaching its capacity to store the
While crews kept up emergency levee repairs on Tyler Island on
Tuesday, the San Joaquin River woke up and stretched her arms,
finally reaching flood stage after languishing for several
years as a weed-choked, drought-diminished trickle.