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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

STOCKTON FWO: Fisheries Management Planning For the San Joaquin River Restoration Program

Region 8, February 1, 2008
Dewatered Section of the San Joaquin River below Sack Dam (Photo: USFWS)
Dewatered Section of the San Joaquin River below Sack Dam (Photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a

Paul Cadrett, Stockton FWO

The San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP),  initiated in late 2006,  implements the settlement between the Natural Resources Defense Council, U.S. Departments of Interior and Commerce, and the Friant Water Users Authority resulting from an 18-year lawsuit regarding long-term water service contracts.  The restoration program's goal is to restore and maintain fish populations, particularly spring-run Chinook salmon, in good condition in the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam. 

 

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is the lead agency charged with restoring the fish populations and is working with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, California Department of Fish and Game, California Department of Water Resources, and National Marine Fisheries Service to develop a fisheries management plan. 

 

The Fisheries Management Work Group (FMWG) has completed a document titled: Conceptual Models of Stressors and Limiting Factors for San Joaquin River Chinook Salmon.  As described in this document, the restoration of a spring-run Chinook salmon population in the San Joaquin River will be a challenging task.  The historical population was extirpated in 1949 when portions of the river were dewatered.  In addition, the 150 miles of river to be restored have been highly degraded by flow diversions, loss of floodplain habitats due to agricultural conversion, diversion structures that block fish passage, in-river gravel mining, and non-native invasive species.  The FMWG will be working hard to produce a fisheries management plan, which will describe an adaptive management strategy to implement restoration and flow management to ensure that the SJRRP's goals are achieved while simultaneously learning from all restoration and flow management actions. Carl Mesick AFRP contributed to this report.

 

 

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov