Implementation of the San Joaquin River Settlement Agreement Restore Chinook Salmon to the San Joaquin River, California

A large-scale restoration project focused on reviving one of California's largest rivers, the San Joaquin River, is currently underway. A legal settlement established a Restoration Goal and a Water Management Goal that drives the multi-agency efforts of channel modification, restoration hydrograph development, and reintroduction of Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. The Restoration Area, which begins at Friant Dam and continues downstream to the confluence of the Merced River, is approximately 153 miles long and historically maintained one of the largest spring-run Chinook salmon populations in California, with annual escapement ranging from 200,000 to 500,000 adult spawners. However, completion of Friant Dam and subsequent diversions resulted in blocking salmon from portions of historic spawning and rearing reaches and ultimately dewatering large sections of the lower river. Extirpation of Chinook salmon occurred over 60 years ago with the last documented run of spring-run Chinook salmon consisting of 36 individuals in 1950. Restoration of the remaining anadromous portion of the river is a complex process involving implementing agencies, cooperating agencies, settling parties, a technical advisory committee and local stakeholders. The goal of this session is to focus on the restoration program accomplishments to date, involving: spring and fall-run Chinook salmon introduction; fisheries model development; structural river channel improvements to allow for full restoration flow releases; and planning for large-scale fish passage and channel improvements.
Erin Strange and Zachary Jackson
Erica Meyers and Jerrad Goodell
See more of: Symposium Entries