Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

female chinook salmon iconAFRP OVERVIEW: SCIENTIFIC RATIONALE

Developed by a group of professionals knowledgeable and experienced with the Central Valley fisheries, the scientific rationale for the Final Draft Restoration Plan for the Anadromous Fish Restoration Program: A Plan to Increase Natural Production of Anadromous Fish in the Central Valley of California (Restoration Plan) was based on a comprehensive synthesis of the best available scientific information on the distribution and status of Central Valley anadromous fish populations and the principal factors limiting their production. The basis of this effort was published in the Working Paper on Restoration Needs: Habitat Restoration Actions to Double Natural Production of Anadromous Fish in the Central Valley of California (The Working Paper).

The Working Paper was developed under the direction of a scientific Core Group composed mostly of representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service USFWS, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation USBR, National Marine Fisheries Service NMFS, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA, California Department of Fish and Game CDFG, and California Department of Water Resources CDWR. The Working Paper actions included both non-flow actions (e.g. gravel restoration or use of fish screens) and flow actions (e.g. the purchase of water to supplement insufficient flows). The Working Paper also included estimates of target levels of long-term, average production for four races of Chinook salmon, steelhead, striped bass, American shad, and white and green sturgeon.

The Working Paper identified a list of restoration actions that, if implemented in its entirety, would likely result in at least doubling the natural production of anadromous fish without regard to implementation feasibility. The Working Paper relied on the scientific research that was available at the time, with acknowledgment that scientific uncertainty was a reality in many areas. To best incorporate the most complete science, The Working Paper did not attempt any consideration of whether the actions were "reasonable" as required under the CVPIA. Reasonableness criteria was subsequently addressed and incorporated in the Restoration Plan.

Implementation of the AFRP is guided primarily by The Restoration Plan. The Restoration Plan is a programmatic-level document that presents the goal, objectives, and strategies of the AFRP; lists reasonable restoration actions and evaluations by watershed; and describes how the AFRP identified and prioritized these actions and evaluations. The Restoration Plan defines production targets for each species of anadromous fish covered under the CVPIA and lists specific restoration actions for Central Valley streams that supported anadromous fish populations during the 1967-1991 reference period.

The Restoration Plan is a “static” document that describes the AFRP in broad, programmatic-level terms, and provides long-term focus for the program by watershed region. This web page, by contrast, is meant to function as an active planning tool that encompasses long and short-term time scales as well as spatial scales at Central Valley-wide, regional, watershed and project-levels. It is meant to be a “living” document subject to frequent update and modification as projects are completed, monitoring data are received and analyzed, and new information becomes available. Its principal objectives are to articulate the rationale guiding implementation of the AFRP, describe past, present and likely future AFRP-sponsored projects, and to facilitate communication between AFRP staff and both existing and potential future partners.

As more information becomes available, the working assumptions, empirical relationships and other cfmects of the scientific rationale guiding the AFRP will undoubtedly change, and thus, an adaptive management approach is required. This web page provides an effective way to communicate these changes to AFRP partners, stakeholders and other interested parties and serve as an “Implementation Gateway” for the AFRP.

Prior to the beginning of each federal fiscal year, the AFRP develops an Annual Work Plan (AWP) that packages a descriptive program list of projects for the coming fiscal year. The AWP is presented at a public meeting at the beginning of the fiscal year (usually in late September or early October). In addition to projects under development for the coming fiscal year, the AWP summarizes the current status of the AFRP and the principal accomplishments achieved during the previous fiscal year by watershed region.

The Restoration Plan acts as an “umbrella” document, providing guidance to all of the Department of the Interior's agency and private partner's efforts to make all reasonable efforts to at least double the natural production of anadromous fish including efforts directed by other sections of the CVPIA. However, this web page and the annual work plans described here include only those efforts that are not specifically included in other sections of the CVPIA such as actions of the Anadromous Fish Screen Program pursuant to section 3406(b)(21), or the Clear Creek Restoration Program pursuant to section 3406(b)(12) of the CVPIA.

Last updated: August 24, 2011