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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

STOCKTON FWO: Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office takes part in the Smelt Turbidity Study

Region 8, December 20, 2010

By Amber Aguilera, Stockton FWO

 The Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office (FWO) participated in the 2010/2011 Smelt Turbidity Study. The purpose of this study was to see how an increase of turbidity (sediment load in the water) within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta triggers delta smelt, an endangered native species, to migrate upstream, and how these small fish use the ebb and flood tides to accomplish upstream migration. Sampling for the Smelt Turbidity Study took place between December 20, 2010 and January 2, 2011, when the first turbidity pulse was projected to flow into the Delta. Sampling was done over roughly 12-hour periods which encompassed a full tidal cycle.

The study involved several different agencies including the United States Geological Survey, California Department of Fish and Game, San Francisco State University, and the University of California, Davis. The Stockton FWO’s portion of the study encompassed the near shore monitoring of fish using beach and purse seines within the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, respectively. The Sacramento River sampling was completed by Stockton FWO crew members Paul Miklos, Crystal Castle, Denise Barnard, Cole Paris, David LaPlante, and Jerrica Lewis. The San Joaquin sampling was completed by Stockton FWO boat operator Ron Hagins and crew members Amber Aguilera, Kate Erly, and Phil Voong. Sampling on both rivers was a success and the Stockton FWO looks forward to future collaborative studies that will attempt to elucidate the relationships between environmental conditions and native fish migration within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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