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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

STOCKTON FWO: Local  Service  Staff  Participate at the 'Green on the Stream' Festival in Modesto, Calif.

Region 8, May 21, 2011
Carl Mesick, USFWS Fish Biologist, explains the affects of water management on the salmon populations in the Tuolumne River.
Carl Mesick, USFWS Fish Biologist, explains the affects of water management on the salmon populations in the Tuolumne River. - Photo Credit: n/a

By Carl Mesick, STFWO

Zac Jackson and Carl Mesick, biologists from the Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office, participated on the “Green on the Stream” festival, which was on the Tuolumne River at Legion Park in Modesto, Calif., on May 21, 2011.

The purpose of the festival was to promote parks for people, a healthy river, and livable communities by making the lower Tuolumne River Parkway a centerpiece of the community where friends and families can explore, enjoy and learn about the River. The festival, now in its third year, was sponsored by the Tuolumne River Preservation Trust and other local businesses and environmental groups. 

The California Department of Fish and Game and environmental firm FishBio also had booths at the festival. The Service distributed water bottles, rulers, and carabiners to children and showcased the salmon life cycle as well as invasive species that are prevalent in the Central Valley of California.

The Service also had posters and displays on habitat restoration activities and anadromous fish population trends and showed how these are affected by water management. Many adult visitors were concerned about the low numbers of salmon returning to the river and were interested in the display on fish population trends. The display showed how the magnitude of flow releases from Don Pedro Reservoir (a major impoundment on the Tuolumne river) during the spring was highly correlated with the number of juvenile salmon migrating from the Tuolumne River and the number of adult salmon that returned two to four years later.

Service biologists explained how low spring flow releases affect water temperature, which affects the ability of the juvenile salmon to undergo smoltification (the process juvenile salmon undergo to prepare for life in saltwater). The process of smoltification not only requires low water temperatures, but it is also highly stressful, which causes the juveniles to be susceptible to disease if water conditions aren’t within an acceptable range. Most visitors said that it was important to them to maintain the salmon population in the Tuolumne River.

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