News Release Archive

Reclamation Releases Environmental Document for the 2015 San Joaquin River Juvenile Salmon Trap and Haul Study

Media Contact: Erin Curtis, 916-978-5100, eccurtis@usbr.gov

For Release: February 06, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Bureau of Reclamation today released the Finding of No Significant Impact on a proposed trap-and-haul study to move juvenile fall-run Chinook salmon downstream of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program’s Restoration Area, where no migration barriers exist.

The effort will evaluate the feasibility of implementing similar rapid response actions in the future and monitor fish movements in certain areas of the San Joaquin River during very dry years when limited flow pulses are available to cue juvenile salmon to begin their downstream migration. The action supports the Restoration Settlement by studying the feasibility of taking adaptive management action to respond to unsuitable environmental conditions.

In fall 2014, 510 adult fall-run were moved to Reach 1 of the San Joaquin River, and more than 80 spawning redds (nests where eggs were laid) were documented. The successful outmigration of juvenile salmon is critical for survival to adulthood and to support the goal of the Restoration Program to restore Chinook salmon to the river. Factors determining successful outmigration include suitable water temperatures, adequate and timely flow for downstream movement, and a passable watercourse, none of which are currently available in some reaches of the Restoration Area due to low-flow water conditions. If successful, similar actions could be used in the future with juvenile salmon when flows limit the connectivity of the river.

To capture fish, temporary fence weirs using wire mesh panels and supporting metal posts leading to a collection box will be installed in four locations on the San Joaquin River: Scout Island, Milburn Avenue, Highway 99, and West Herndon Avenue. In addition, temporary fish collection netting will be installed at Donnie Bridge. If Friant Dam flows improve to over 300 cubic feet per second, there is potential to install a rotary screw trap near Highway 99. The temporary fish collection facilities will allow for boat passage. Temporary fish collection structures will include bright paint, signage, flashing safety lights, and flagging, as appropriate, to alert boaters. Reclamation will place signage to alert boaters of the temporary fish collection structures upstream and downstream of the structures and at Camp Pashayan, Milburn Unit, Scout Island, Fresno Sportsmen’s Club, Fort Washington Campground, Lost Lake County Park, and Friant Dam Landing.

Juvenile fall-run Chinook salmon trap and haul activities will occur from early February through June 2015, depending on hydrologic conditions. Following completion of the study, fish collection structures will be removed.

The impacts associated with the proposed action were analyzed and disclosed in the 2014 San Joaquin River Restoration Program Juvenile Fall-Run Chinook Salmon Trap and Haul Study Environmental Assessment.

The EA and FONSI were prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and are available at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=16361. If you have problems accessing the documents, please contact 916-978-5100 (TTY 800-877-8339) or mppublicaffairs@usbr.gov.

For questions on the study, please contact Rebecca Victorine at 916-978-4624 or rvictorine@usbr.gov. To request a copy of the FONSI, please contact Margaret Gidding at 916-978-5461 or mgidding@usbr.gov.

For more information about the SJRRP, please visit www.restoresjr.net.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.