Restoring fish habitat in California's Central Valley

Fish populations in California’s Central Valley have declined for many reasons. One set of problems is related to habitat degradation related to the federal water re-distribution project known as the Central Valley Project. The Central Valley Project was constructed in the 1930s and 1940s and plays a key role in California's powerful economy, providing water for six of the top 10 agricultural counties in the nation's leading farm state.

In 1992 legislation was signed that included the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, or CVPIA. The CVPIA directed the secretary of the Department of the Interior to amend previous authorizations of California's Central Valley Project to include fish and wildlife as priorities, as well as irrigation and domestic use of water.

The legislation also established a fish restoration program to increase naturally produced populations of anadromous fish in California's Central Valley streams on a long-term, sustainable basis. This program is known as the Anadromous Fish Restoration Program (AFRP). Since 1995, staff working under the guidance of the AFRP have implemented over 195 projects to restore natural production of anadromous fish.

In California, the best-known anadromous fish are salmon and steelhead which hatch in small freshwater streams, migrate to the ocean to live for a few years, then return to the same streams where they were hatched, spawn and die shortly thereafter. Sturgeon are also anadromous. Salmon, steelhead and sturgeon are capable of migrating hundreds of miles upriver.

The Red Bluff Fish and Wildlife Office works with partners and willing landowners on projects that help protect and restore natural channel and riparian riparian
Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

Learn more about riparian
habitat values through habitat restoration actions. For example, projects that affect stream flow, water temperature, water quality and riparian areas are high priority.