Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region
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Trinity River Restoration Program
Arcata Fish & Wildlife Office Fisheries Program

The Issue:  

Fishery resources in the Trinity River have declined significantly from historic levels, largely in part due to habitat loss and degradation resulting from construction and operation of the Trinity River Division of the Central Valley Project. Restoration of anadromous fishes to the Trinity Basin entails restoration of flows and in-channel habitat, as detailed in the Trinity River Record of Decision (ROD) 2000 and necessary to address Tribal Trust fishery resource issues.

Fish swimming

  • The Trinity River joins the Klamath River 42 mi. from the ocean and is the Klamath’s largest tributary draining, 25% of the watershed.
  • In 2000, the Secretary signed a ROD for the Trinity River EIS/R based on the USFWS 12-yr Flow Study.
  • Recommendations called for increased instream flows, restoration of the river channel, and watershed rehabilitation.
  • The ROD established a Trinity Management Council (TMC) to guide an Adaptive Management Program for restoration efforts implemented by the Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP).
  • Federal contributions to the TRRP come primarily from the Bureau of Reclamation ($6M) and FWS ($2M).
  • A FACA chartered group provides the TMC with input from public partners and stakeholders.
Restoring Flows:  
  • Critical elements of natural flow patterns will be restored to improve river habitat and fish populations.
  • The TRRP has focused on the modification of infrastructure, especially bridges and dwellings, to accommodate the release of peak ROD flows. Bridge construction was completed in 2005 and efforts to address other structures are ongoing.
Before restoration improvements
After restoration improvements
Restoring Habitat:
  • Planning and design for the first series of instream restoration projects was completed in 2005 and the first site, Hocker Flat, was completed in 2006.
  • Increased flows continue to contribute to improved habitat conditions.
ation improvements
After restoration improvements
Evaluation of Success:
  • A comprehensive Integrated Management Plan will be completed in 2007, and once in place, will be used to guide and evaluate future restoration efforts to ensure that fishery resources are being benefited.
Program Challenges :  
  • Environmental compliance associated with restoration projects has created delays in implementation.
  • In 2003 and 2004, additional flows were released from Trinity Reservoir in the fall to avoid conditions in the lower Klamath River that led to the 2002 fish die-off. However, releasing flows of an unnatural magnitude and duration to address water quality issues in the Klamath River may have negative effects on Trinity River salmonid populations
  • With legal barriers removed, in-river restoration and increased flows have begun to benefit depleted salmonid runs

For more information contact Joe Polos, Supervisory Fish Biologist, Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office, 707.822.7201


Last updated: April 16, 2015