A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle by Tara Duggan, profiled CalTrout’s Nigiri Project and how smarter management of floodplains can benefit fish and farms.
You could say that fisheries biologist Jacob Katz is swimming upstream in his opinion that rice farms and wildlife can, and should, coexist. In fact, to hear Katz tell it, rice farming could be California’s salvation, its last opportunity to restore the Central Valley watershed as close as possible to its origins.”
CalTrout’s research with the Nigiri project demonstrates that restoring ecological function is possible, even in intensively managed landscapes like the Central Valley, by mimicking natural flood patterns on working agricultural floodplains-like rice fields.
Recovering native fish populations like salmon and smelt, even during times of drought, is possible when this science is turned into action and California’s outdated water infrastructure is updated to allow more frequent and longer duration floodplain inundation. Reconnecting floodplains will improve flood protection, increase aquifer recharge and generally increase resiliency of both the aquatic ecosystem and California’s water supply to increasingly extreme droughts and floods.
CalTrout’s work in the Central Valley is laying the scientific and political groundwork for precedent-setting water solutions. To learn more, read about our work in The Current or visit our Central Valley Fish and Floodplains page here.