NEWS WORTH NOTING: Joint SWC/DWR funded research sheds new light on endangered chinook salmon on the Sutter Bypass; DISB seeks public comment on draft review of the Interagency Ecological Program; CDFW to host public meetings on lands regulations changes

Joint SWC/DWR Funded Research Sheds New Light on Endangered Chinook Salmon on the Sutter Bypass

Findings Reveal More Dynamic Floodplain System than Expected with Implications for Habitat Restoration and Species Management

From the State Water Contractors:

The State Water Contractors (SWC) partnered with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to fund research that provides new insight into the life cycle of Chinook Salmon on the Sutter Bypass — an area that has received little attention from researchers in the past but is inviting more attention in light of recent findings.

SWC contributed $115,000 for this research, and DWR provided matching funds for the first $100,000, bringing the total investment to $215,000. Scientists at University of California, Davis and University of California, Santa Cruz performed the research from March 2018 through March 2019. Results of the research are expected to better inform fish and water management actions that have the potential to protect fish from Butte Creek and the Sacramento River watershed, while also improving water supply reliability for people.

“Every day, we are making new scientific discoveries that challenge our assumptions and advance our understanding of how to restore habitats in a meaningful and responsible way,” said Jennifer Pierre, SWC General Manager. “There are many factors that must come together to provide a habitat that supports the unique needs of the fish on the Sutter Bypass. We have the ability to help create harmony in the Sacramento River — but we can only do it by investing in collaborative science and applying our shared discoveries to inform fish and water management actions and habitat restoration efforts.”

This study sought to identify which runs of Chinook Salmon use the Sutter Bypass, inform our understanding of how water flows through the floodplain, and examine how that water flow impacts the Chinook Salmon life cycle.

“The Sutter Bypass is a critical part of California’s flood management infrastructure,” said Joel Ledesma, Deputy Director of the State Water Project for Department of Water Resources. “DWR’s own work in the downstream Yolo Bypass demonstrates that these floodways can also be successfully managed as fish habitat.”

The research revealed all four runs of Chinook Salmon (fall-, late-fall-, winter- and spring- runs) have the opportunity to move through the Sutter Bypass, and the floodplain system is more complex and dynamic than we thought possible, said Carson Jeffres of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, who co-led the research. The research also showed that depending on high and low flow conditions, different parts of the Sutter Bypass provided successful rearing habitats for juvenile salmon.

“Conditions are not always perfect” for fish growth, said Flora Cordoleani of the UC Santa Cruz Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SFSC), who co-led the research with Jeffres. “They can be perfect one day — and not the next.”

Scientists expected the Sutter Bypass to behave much like the Yolo Bypass and were surprised by its unpredictable nature. Their findings were the result of an iterative process that required significant trial and error, demonstrating there are big gaps in data and knowledge about how the Sutter Bypass works.

“We really have to think like a fish to understand this dynamic system,” Jeffres said, noting the team plans to continue its research to better understand how floodplains like the Yolo and Sutter bypasses interact, and what implications that has for the fish that live there.

Each year, the SWC is investing more than $2 million in research to increase the scientific community’s understanding of the Delta and its tributaries and species to address some of the state’s water supply challenges.

“We all have a stake in the health of our watersheds,” Pierre said. “As part of the scientific community, our organization is committed to advancing groundbreaking research like this, which is critical to helping us find solutions that truly help to restore habitats and promote a sustainable water supply.”

The State Water Contractors is a statewide, non-profit association of 27 public agencies from Northern, Central and Southern California that purchase water under contract from the California State Water Project. Collectively the State Water Contractors deliver water to more than 27 million residents throughout the state and more than 750,000 acres of agricultural land.

Delta Independent Science Board Seeks Public Comment on Draft Review of the Interagency Ecological Program

From the Delta Stewardship Council:

The Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB), which provides oversight of programs that support adaptive management, invites your feedback on its draft review of the Interagency Ecological Program (IEP). The IEP has been a central hub of science in the Delta for decades, where it strives to provide science, synthesis, and service to policymakers and managers. This review looks into the organizational and programmatic business of the IEP to produce science to inform Delta management.

To read the Draft IEP Review, please click here.

Written comments may be sent to disb@deltacouncil.ca.gov by July 26, 2019, and will be posted to the Delta ISB’s correspondence web page.

Additionally, the Delta ISB will welcome comments on this review at its July 11, 2019 meeting.

CDFW to Host Public Meetings on Lands Regulations Changes

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold four public meetings to provide information and gather public input about possible changes to public use regulations for CDFW lands. The properties affected are in Butte, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Merced, Napa, Nevada, Riverside, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare and Yolo counties. (Additional information can be found on CDFW’s website.)

The focus of the regulation changes is the potential designation of nine relatively new properties as wildlife areas and ecological reserves. In addition, six properties will be considered for removal from the current lists of wildlife areas and ecological reserves, due to changes in management authority. Site-specific regulation changes are also under consideration for some existing wildlife areas and ecological reserves.

The meetings will be drop-in “open house” style with information stations and staff available to discuss the changes under consideration. They will be held from 6-8 p.m. on the following dates:

Tuesday, June 18
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
South Coast Region Headquarters
3883 Ruffin Road
San Diego, CA 92123

Wednesday, June 19
Oroville Branch Library
1820 Mitchell Ave.
Oroville, CA  95966

Monday, June 24
Grassland Environmental Education Center
Los Banos Wildlife Area
18110 Henry Miller Ave.
Los Banos, CA  93635

Tuesday, June 25
Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area
45211 County Road 32B (Chiles Road)
Davis, CA  95618

Additional opportunities for public comment may arise when the changes are proposed to the California Fish and Game Commission this fall. For more information about the meetings, or if you cannot attend and would like to submit questions or comments, please contact CDFW Senior Environmental Scientist Julie Horenstein at julie.horenstein@wildlife.ca.gov.

 

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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