Nigiri is a form of sushi with a slice of fish atop a compact wedge of rice. The “Nigiri Project” is a collaborative effort between farmers and researchers to help restore salmon populations by reintroducing young salmon onto winter-flooded rice fields. These “surrogate wetlands” mimic the floodplain rearing habitat formerly used by young salmon, which has been largely eliminated by the development of the Central Valley.
Spearheaded by CalTrout and Cal Marsh and Farm, this public/private partnership is demonstrating the multiple benefits of integrating conservation practices into working agricultural landscapes on the largest connected floodplain of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the 60,000-acre Yolo Bypass.
The project was featured yesterday in the Davis Enterprise:
Rice farmers who traditionally would burn the fields at the end of harvest to prepare for the next season, said Katz, have now gone to flooding the fields after a harvest following recent statewide clean-air initiatives.
Katz is now studying the weights and populations of young salmon who feed on zooplankton in nine, 2-acre flooded fields compared to young salmon reared in other locations like the Sacramento River.
On March 5th, CalTrout will be hosting an open house in the Yolo Bypass featuring our Knagg’s Ranch Project. Click here for an invitation.