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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
STOCKTON FWO: Service Biologist gives guest lecture at the University of the Pacific
Region 8, March 24, 2010
The salmon life cycle. (graphic: USFWS Anadromous Fish Restoration Program)
The salmon life cycle. (graphic: USFWS Anadromous Fish Restoration Program) - Photo Credit: n/a
Juvenile salmon rearing in the American River. (photos: John Hannon, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation)
Juvenile salmon rearing in the American River. (photos: John Hannon, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation) - Photo Credit: n/a

by Beth Campbell, Stockton FWO
On March 24, 2010, Beth Campbell of the Stockton Fish & Wildlife Office gave a guest lecture in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of the Pacific as part of  the “Plenty of Fish in the Sea?” seminar on sustainable fisheries.    Her lecture, entitled “Central Valley Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Restoration: Issues and Approaches” focused on the special problems associated with maintaining anadromous fish populations in California. 

Anadromous fish such as salmon and steelhead are born in fresh water, migrate downstream to the ocean where they live and grow, and then return to their natal freshwater streams to spawn.  The students, mostly biology non-majors, learned that anadromous fish must change both physically and physiologically in order to migrate between fresh and salt water.  Migrating fish in California may encounter various hazards on their journey, including water diversions that may entrain juveniles, areas of high predator abundance, inadequate temperature or dissolved oxygen, or elevated levels of pollution.  Also, the best freshwater habitat for salmon and steelhead spawning and rearing is typically blocked due to the presence of large dams, most constructed in the last century. 

Habitat restoration actions occurring downstream of the dams often focuses on maintaining an adequate supply of the cold water needed by native anadromous fish; minimizing flow fluctuations which can strand eggs, larvae, and juveniles; and adding or rehabilitating important habitat features such as appropriately-sized, clean spawning gravel, logs and trees to provide cover and resting places for juveniles, and floodplain areas for rearing and feeding, including appropriate riparian vegetation . 

Students asked questions about topics such as the timing of migration and the physiological changes that salmon and steelhead undergo.  Beth encouraged them to become active in their local watersheds and support habitat restoration activities that will help recover Central Valley Chinook salmon and steelhead.  She also encouraged students to consider the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a career!

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