Fish Food on Floodplain Farm Fields

Fish Food on Floodplain Farm Fields

Home | Key Initiatives | Integrate Wild Fish & Working Landscapes | Fish Food on Floodplain Farm Fields

Project Goal:

By comparing and contrasting hydrologic conditions and aquatic food web dynamics across the spectrum of existing wetland habitat types (i.e., river channel, managed wetlands, farm fields and bypasses), the project will: 1) improve understanding of aquatic food web productivity in the Sacramento Valley and 2) assess the potential for these diverse aquatic habitats, including the hundreds of thousands of acres of floodplain farmland and managed wetlands, to contribute food resources to the river ecosystem, bolster in-river and Delta food webs, and help support recovery of endangered fish populations.

Metrics: 5,000 acres of farmland under improved management to exporting fish food and an estimated 12,000 lbs of zooplankton fish food added to the Sacramento River.

Learn More

Project Stages

100% Planning, Design, and Permitting


Estimated Completion Date:
October 2022, and Ongoing


Project Funders

Northern California Water Agencies 

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Metropolitan Water District

Water Foundation 

Battery Powered (Past)

Fish Affected:

Project Description

In 2017, CalTrout launched the Fish Food on Floodplain Farm Fields (Fish Food) project with goals to better understand aquatic food web productivity on managed floodplains. This project is using innovative solutions to reintegrate food from the floodplain back to the river. We’re working with farmers and water suppliers to pioneer new practices to help recover fish and wildlife populations in the greater Sacramento Valley. Now, just finishing the fifth field season, the project has proved the feasibility of achieving multiple floodplain drainage cycles per acre and detected in-river benefits to fish growth. We will continue to study the impacts of floodplain management on river ecosystems, and add more fish food hot spots that turn the food-scarce Sacramento River into a “string of pearls” of foraging habitat for juvenile fish.

This science-based approach to managing California’s resources demonstrates that with innovative management practices, there is potential to boost the depleted food resources in Central Valley rivers and help recover endangered fish populations. All data generated from this project is shared with the Bureau of Reclamation and integrated in their salmon population model for the Sacramento Valley.

Project Partners:

CA Department of Fish & Wildlife
UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences
Northern California Water Agencies
State & Federal Contractors Water Agency
Reclamation District 108
Cal Marsh & Farms Ventures LLC
California Rice Commission
CA Department of Water Resources
Knaggs Ranch
Davis Ranches
Next Generation Foods
San Luis & Delta-Mendoza Water Authority
Montana Farms
Lundberg Rice”

Latest Project Info:

Floodplain Coalition Inundates D.C.

Read More

More Initiative Projects