female chinook salmon icon Definitions

Direct Human Intervention - The definition of natural production precludes "...direct human intervention..." in the spawning, rearing, or migration processes of an individual, naturally produced fish. A definition of direct human intervention is key to understanding the definition of natural production. Humans have pervasively intervened in the structure and function of the Sacramento-San Joaquin system. All anadromous fish that spawn in the system have been impacted by this intervention. Indeed, Title 34 has as one of its purposes "...to address impacts of the Central Valley Project on fish, wildlife, and associated habitats..." (Section 3402[b]). But not all human intervention is direct. The word direct is an important component of the phrase "...direct human intervention...".

Direct human intervention is any action taken in the absence of intervening elements. Any form of intervention that requires handling of fish is direct intervention due to a lack of intervening elements. Any action that includes one or more intervening elements would be considered indirect intervention.

Hatchery and artificial propagation, including supplementation and out-planting of eggs or any other life-stage, requires handling of fish by humans during the spawning and rearing processes and therefore are forms of direct intervention. Transporting fish, including truck and barge transport, and fish salvage require capture and handling of fish during the rearing or migration process and therefore are forms of direct intervention. Hatchery and artificial propagation, transport and salvage of fish, or any process that requires handling of any life-stage of fish will be considered direct human intervention.

Title 34 clearly states that fish produced with direct human intervention should not be included in counts of natural production. In developing the Program, we will avoid counting hatchery-produced fish or fish produced with any other form of direct human intervention in counts of natural production. The Core Group has determined that there will be one exception to this rule: the progeny of naturally spawning fish salvaged at the John E. Skinner Delta Fish Protective Facility and the Tracy Fish Protective Facility, if they reach adulthood, will be counted as naturally produced.

An example of a form of intervention that does not fit the definition of direct intervention is flow manipulation. When we manipulate flow to benefit fish, flow acts as the intervening element. Humans directly alter flows and flows alter fish spawning, rearing, or migration processes. Therefore, flow manipulation is not a direct but an indirect form of intervention. Construction of fish ladders, screens and barriers are forms of indirect intervention because each of these structures act as the intervening element. Reservoir or flow manipulations (including Delta flows and flows to maintain desired stream temperatures), ladders, screens, barriers, and other forms of habitat alteration and enhancement activities will not be considered direct human intervention because each of these is or has an intervening element and does not require handling of fish.

Because the definition of natural production in Title 34 includes the phrase "...produced to adulthood...", fish that are not subject to direct human intervention until after they reach adulthood would still be considered naturally produced. For example, a naturally produced fish that returned to a hatchery and was spawned in the hatchery would be considered naturally produced. Obviously, its progeny would not be considered naturally produced because they were produced in a hatchery. Similarly, naturally produced adult fish whose migration was subject to direct human intervention would still be considered naturally produced, although their progeny would not be considered naturally produced.

Source: Final Restoration Plan [  A-3 ]