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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
STOCKTON FWO: Friends of the Lower Calaveras River Connects Residents With Stockton’s Local River    
Region 8, April 19, 2009
Donnie Ratcliff, Fish Biologist with the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office explains the life cycle of Chinook salmon at the Stockton Earth Day Festival (photo: Beth Campbell, USFWS).
Donnie Ratcliff, Fish Biologist with the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office explains the life cycle of Chinook salmon at the Stockton Earth Day Festival (photo: Beth Campbell, USFWS). - Photo Credit: n/a

By Donnie Ratcliff, Stockton FWO
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined other members of the Friends of the Lower Calaveras River (FLCR) at the 21st annual Stockton Earth Day Festival on April 19, 2009.  FLCR is a diverse group of stakeholders united in the common goal of public awareness and education involving the Lower Calaveras River.  This group effort was accomplished by combining many of FLCR’s members in one booth under the FLCR banner.  The group was able to draw on the expertise and various educational materials provided by members to inform the public about the current state of the Calaveras River and opportunities to aid in its restoration.

Fish and Wildlife Service biologists Beth Campbell and Donnie Ratcliff focused on the current state of fish populations, aquatic habitat, and water quality in the system.  Kari Burr, biologist with the Fishery Foundation of California, was able to discuss the foundation’s involvement with fish monitoring on the Calaveras and efforts to acclimate outmigrating salmon smolts before they enter the Pacific Ocean.  Other members of FLCR were able to convey the values of the river as a place for recreation, a source of residential and agricultural water, and a unique local opportunity for restoration and community education.

A wide variety of contacts were made, ranging from long-time Stockton residents who knew very little about their local river to school children who were fascinated to learn about the long journey that Calaveras River salmon and steelhead must make to complete their life cycle.  In addition, FLCR was able to garner new friends for the river, recruit volunteers for group activities and river clean-up efforts, and inform the public about future plans to facilitate youth education events on the river.

Contact Info: Ramon Martin, 209-334-2968 ext. 401, ramon_martin@fws.gov