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San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

San Francisco Bay Fund Inventory of Projects

San Joaquin River Restoration Project

Organization: Natural Resources Defense Council
2000, 2001, 2002 & 2005 Grant Recipient - Contra Costa and Solano counties

Purpose

This grant was designed to restore ecological functions, including a self-sustaining anadromous fishery, to the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam by reconnecting the river's upper reaches to the Delta. Restored flows will provide recreational, educational and other benefits to local communities as well as improve water quality to the over twenty five million Californians who draw their drinking water from the Delta.

2012 Update

This year marks the sixth year of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program and the third year of renewed river flows. For almost 60 years, the operations of Friant Dam diverted the entire flow of the river and dried out approximately 60 miles of downstream river bed, wiping out the historic salmon runs on the San Joaquin River. Thanks to years of hard work on the part of state and federal agencies, farmers, conservation groups, water districts and other stakeholders, the San Joaquin River once again flows all the way to the sea. In preparation for reintroducing salmon in 2012, the Restoration Program successfully achieved many key milestones. For descriptions of the following accomplishments, read more ...

  • Renewed Flows in the River
  • Successful Salmon Experiments
  • Improved Flood Protection
  • Water Supply Benefits
  • Project Planning and Permits
  • Reintroducing Salmon in 2012

NRPI Database Entry:
http://www.ice.ucdavis.edu/nrpi/NRPIDescription.asp?ProjectPK=405

Documents

  • The San Joaquin River Restoration Program website contains links to a wealth of information about the restoration effort including supporting documents, permits and reports. Website: http://www.restoresjr.net
     
  • Water Supply Study - Executive Summary. Prepared by URS Corporation. October 2002. (45 pp.)

    This study was jointly developed by NRDC and the Friant Water User Authority and describes several bundles of actions which together provide the water supply needed for restoring the San Joaquin River.
     
  • San Joaquin River Restoration Plan Background Report Introduction and Contents Edited by McBain & Trush, Inc. December 2002. (60 pp.)

    The background report provides a comprehensive picture of the historic and existing conditions of the San Joaquin River. Sections within the report cover such topics as hydrology, geomorphic processes, salmonids, riparian and wetland habitats, water supply infrastructure and land use. Also discussed are some of the major opportunities and constraints to restoration of the rivers physical and biological processes including salmon.

Primary Contact for the Project

Monty Schmitt
Senior Water Resources Scientist
Natural Resources Defense Council
Phone: (415) 875-6100
E-mail: MSchmitt@nrdc.org

Quick Links

Project Photos

The San Joaquin River (shown as a yellow line) is California’s second largest river, and it is a major tributary to the Bay-Delta. Historically, this river supported a thriving fishery and riparian ecosystem.

The San Joaquin River (shown as a yellow line) is California’s second largest river, and it is a major tributary to the Bay-Delta. Historically, this river supported a thriving fishery and riparian ecosystem.

The Friant Dam, completed in 1944, diverted virtually all of the natural stream
flow resulting in the

The Friant Dam, completed in 1944, diverted virtually all of the natural stream flow resulting in the "dewatering" of over 50 miles of river.

The Friant Dam caused the expiration of spring and fall run chinook salmon and
steelhead which once numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
It also contributed to the loss of thousands of acres of wetland and riparian habitat.
The above graph is a normal year hydrograph showing what the unimpaired flow would
be without Friant Dam and the actual flow released (in red) down the river.

The Friant Dam caused the expiration of spring and fall run chinook salmon and steelhead which once numbered in the hundreds of thousands. It also contributed to the loss of thousands of acres of wetland and riparian habitat. The above graph is a normal year hydrograph showing what the unimpaired flow would be without Friant Dam and the actual flow released (in red) down the river.

In January of 2001 and 2002, in partnership with the San Joaquin River Parkway
and Conservation Trust, the Bay Institute and the San Joaquin River Riparian
Habitat Restoration Program, groups of local students plant trees to help
restore a forest along the San Joaquin River at Camp Pashayan.

In January of 2001 and 2002, in partnership with the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust, the Bay Institute and the San Joaquin River Riparian Habitat Restoration Program, groups of local students plant trees to help restore a forest along the San Joaquin River at Camp Pashayan.

Last modified: 6/21/2012 4:18 PM by S. Haren

UCR Contact Information

Water Resources Collections and Archives
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