- Free fishing days Jul 1 & Sept 2, no license required! If you're an experienced angler, invite a newbie & spread th… https://t.co/4ZK2k3yccS ->
- RT @JBraxtonLittle: Another timely piece on fish extinctions. https://t.co/1fRLfIHivH @sacbee_news @SacBeeEditBoard @CalTrout @PeterMoyle ->
- RT @SCRSC1: Why the World’s Rivers Are Losing Sediment and Why It Matters https://t.co/H4NtJHCQkx via @YaleE360 ->
- Summer issue of the Current just released! Highlights: SOS report, "Fish & Flows", Scott River Trust partner profile https://t.co/Se3xUxtIOe ->
- Check out The Current Magazine: Summer 2017 on @joomag: https://t.co/HVTeyTltba ->
- RT @UCDavisMagazine: #UCDavis, @CalTrout study finds farmland can benefit California’s #salmon populations. https://t.co/xtSU0wxVb7 https:/… ->
- RT @RiceNews: Added value from #CArice fields- raising #salmon! More from @woodlandnews: @caltrout #SacValley #cawater: https://t.co/2gCXA0… ->
- CalTrout's Casey Sullivan presented to an enthusiastic 3rd grade class, teaching about CA's native fish & how CalTr… https://t.co/3hBwo5MKOS ->
- Casting lessons by @LCOFlyFishing at Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club, e.o. Wed. Next one is tomorrow!… https://t.co/T1IJ1NLEIe ->
- Want to win your day on the water? 7 tips to up your fly fishing game https://t.co/iNrhI0gBQk #flyfishing #keepemwet ->
- Can't wait for @CamelBak pursuit series in Sept! Join us, learn to fly fish & much more https://t.co/idKodODwV1… https://t.co/S4ylA0uxZg ->
For Immediate Release
June 8, 2017
Nina Erlich-Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
541-230-1973, c: 415-577-1153
Kat Kerlin, UC Davis News and Media Relations, email@example.com
New PLOS-ONE Study: Floodplain Farm Fields Benefit Juvenile Salmon
Sacramento Valley, Calif. – A new study published yesterday by leading scientific journal PLOS-ONE offers a beacon of hope for a cease-fire in the Golden State’s persistent water wars. “Floodplain Farm Fields Provide Novel Rearing Habitat for Chinook Salmon” is based on the work by scientists from non-profit group California Trout, the University of California, Davis and the California Department of Water Resources. The article provides evidence that Central Valley farm fields that remain in active agricultural production can have environmental benefits for the state’s salmon populations.
This surprising synergy runs counter to the usual California narrative where conflict over management of water and endangered species is the norm. This is particularly true in the State’s great Central Valley, where more than 95% of former wetlands—critical habitat for native fish populations—have been leveed, drained, and developed, primarily for farm land.
“This study demonstrates that the farm fields that now occupy the floodplain can not only grow food for people during summer, but can also produce food resources and habitat for native fish like salmon in winter,” said Dr. Jacob Katz of California Trout, lead author of the report. “Our work suggests that California does not always need to choose between its farms or its fish: both can prosper if these new practices are put into effect, mimicking natural patterns on managed lands.”
Approximately 10,000 small hatchery-reared salmon, averaging less than two inches and weighing about a gram, were transplanted to a 5-acre field for several weeks between the fall rice harvest and spring planting. A subsample of the fish were tagged uniquely with electronic tags (similar to chips used to ID pets) to allow tracking of individual growth rates which were among the highest ever recorded in fresh water in California.
“By reconnecting rivers to floodplain-like habitat in strategic places around the Central Valley, we have the potential to help recover endangered salmon and other imperiled fish populations to self-sustaining levels,” said Ted Sommer, Lead Scientist for the California Department of Water Resources and a co-author on the study.
Since 2012 a large team of scientists has been examining how juvenile salmon use off-channel habitats including off-season rice fields. The experiments provide evidence that rice fields managed as floodplains during winter can create “surrogate” wetland habitat for native fish. The team suggests that shallowly flooded fields function in similar ways to natural floods that once spread across the floodplain, supplying extremely dense concentrations of zooplankton—an important food for juvenile salmon. Foraging on these abundant and nutritious invertebrates, the young salmon grow extremely quickly, improving their chances of surviving their migration to sea and returning in 3 to 5 years as the large adult fish. Since this original study the team has continued to investigate how rice fields and other managed habitats could be improved to support salmon rearing.
“This study shows that we can start focusing on solutions that support fish and people, instead of one or the other,” added Dr. Carson Jeffres of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, the second author on the report. “It’s a huge win-win.”
To read the full study, go to: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0177409.
For interviews with Dr. Jacob Katz, lead author on the study, contact Nina Erlich-Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-230-1973.
For interviews with Dr. Carson Jeffres or Dr. Peter Moyle with the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, contact Kat Kerlin at email@example.com or 530-752-7704.
- Our State of the Salmonids II report is today's topic on KHSU EcoNews. Listen online 1:30PST https://t.co/wklUvdvca3 #fishinhotwater #CAfish ->
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California Trout was recently featured in Scientific American for our meadows restoration project in the Eastern Sierras. Meadow restoration will play a huge role in improving carbon storage and reducing atmospheric greenhouse gases. Meadows have become severely degraded from logging and grazing activities which compact soils, erode streams, and depletes native biodiversity. The impacts to wildlife are clear– decreased habitat, lack of water and food– but this is also a big issue for maintaining a healthy climate. Degraded land is unable to store as much carbon as it could in its original state. We are missing out on a major source of carbon storage since soil stores three times more CO2 than vegetation and the atmosphere combined. Less carbon stored in the earth means more released into our atmosphere, accelerating climate change.
Our researchers will be tracking the restoration project progress by comparing greenhouse gas activity between restored meadows and geographically similar degraded sites. In addition to the climate benefits, meadow restoration has numerous other ecosystem benefits. Habitat is improved for wildlife, such as the golden trout, willow flycatchers and other endangered species, and water storage capacity increases, a crucial benefit for our dry state.
“We’re poised to do something that’s never been done with alpine meadows”, says Mark Drew in the article, CalTrout’s Sierra Program Director. He was a leader in establishing the Sierra Meadows Partnership (formed in 2015) which includes multiple key partners, such as the U.S. Forest Service. The Partnership’s goal is to restore 30,000 acres of meadows within the next 15 years. (Read more about CalTrout’s meadows projects here).
See below for the full article from Scientific American, Can Meadows Rescue the Planet from CO2?
- RT @PublicGoodPR: Report: 50% of California salmon headed for extinction https://t.co/h4WzcEFzQc w/@CalTrout #EndangeredSpeciesDay #cawater ->
- Report: Nearly half of California salmon species on track for extinction https://t.co/lK0PuQwPlV via @SFGate @UCDavisWater ->
- Biggest threat to #California's native salmonids? #Climatechange. Learn more at https://t.co/uLjJZsKKan… https://t.co/8HACYJiMjm ->
- RT @scxq28: Steelhead in SoCalifornia? Coming soon to a watershed near you. Great talk by Sandra Johnson @CalTrout @UCI_OCEANS @CSUFUACRE #… ->
- One spot left! June 20-24, 3 days guided fishing on NorCal's renowned wild trout waters. Register your 2 person tea… https://t.co/fA6cEJu8gJ ->
Illegal marijuana grow operations have ravaged the North’s Coast forests, leaving extremely polluted waterways and clear-cut wastelands. We are very glad to hear that the state is providing $1.5 million to fund environmental cleanup of these sites through their Fisheries Restoration Grant Program. Pesticides, generators and fuel containers, water diversions, tree removal, and animal traps are often cited amongst the causes of the damages, which can include impacts to waterways and wildlife.
With a regional office in Arcata, CalTrout has been involved in watershed restoration and protection of these lands on the North Coast for many years. One of our Keystone Initiatives focuses on the Eel River, a majestic river that once had huge runs of salmon and steelhead. But now, the river’s flows have been reduced significantly, owing much to illegal water diversions. This causes impairment to summer rearing habitat for fish. Recently, CalTrout developed the Eel River Forum and through that, the Eel River Action Plan which identifies priority actions needed to recover the Eel River watershed and its native fish. (Learn more about this initiative.)
Assemblymember Jim Wood, who represents the North Coast counties, made the announcement for these funds in a press release, attached below. Hats off to Jim for working relentlessly on this issue and for being a champion to the environment.
Photos courtesy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife, showing an illegal grow site with chemical ponds and disposed butane canisters.
Assemblymember Jim Wood’s press release announcing the cleanup funds is below.
In the upper Eel River on the North Coast, recovery conversations are dominated by PG&E’s controversial hydropower project, the Potter Valley Project, which has drastic effects on the river’s salmon and steelhead populations. This hydro-electric project involves two dams that block access to over 100 miles of quality spawning and rearing habitat. Historically, the Eel River was one of the most prolific producers of wild salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. Imagine runs of over a million fish annually making their way through the estuary and up the river.
The big question is, are there ways to provide fish passage to the upper Eel watershed but still allow continued diversion to the Russian River?
Presently, we are at a crucial time to act. PG&E recently filed documents with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to relicense the Potter Valley project, a process that will take a minimum of 5 years. The FERC relicensing process maintains the safety and integrity of large dams and gives regulators an opportunity to integrate the best available science into dam operations. That’s where CalTrout comes in. Our North Coast team is working with Humboldt State University to determine how many spawning fish the upper Eel reaches could sustain. We then use those scientific findings to help guide the relicensing process and work toward a solution that best promotes salmon and steelhead recovery. Learn more about CalTrout’s headwater-to-sea restoration project on the Eel River.
CalTrout’s North Coast Director Darren Mierau recently wrote an excellent op-ed article about this topic in the Press Democrat. Read on to get the full scoop from Darren on the background of the Potter Valley project and how we can use this relicensing process to better manage the needs of fish and people.
- #CalTrout's mission is to ensure resilient wild #fish in healthy #waters for a better #California. How do we do tha… https://t.co/7HU4OBxYgn ->
- We're thrilled our work is featured in @sciam. Sierra meadows restoration goal: restore 30K acres by 2030 https://t.co/lBNpRq6nYb ->
- RT @JBraxtonLittle: Meadows promise hope for carbon. #SierraNevada @sciam #capandtrade @carboncapture #GHG @CalTrout
- Students at Mammoth middle school explored Mono Lake with CalTrout, learning about the unique salt lake ecosystem &… https://t.co/SZkoEleKUC ->
- Excited to release "State of Salmonds II: Fish in Hot Water" with @UCDavisWater, detailing current status of CA fis… https://t.co/CSCUvDQnoX ->
- 45% of #CA native #fish to be extinct in 50 yrs if current trends continue. Read new report at https://t.co/uLjJZsKKan #FishinHotWater ->
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- Op-ed by CalTrout's North Coast Director, Darren Mierau on Potter Valley dams and the need for creative solutions https://t.co/GKAAUdOwFB ->