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RECENT NEWS

For the most current news information please visit http://www.restoresjr.net/news/index.html. This web site is maintained by the implementing agencies of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP) was formed in response to a 2006 settlement of an 18 year-old lawsuit between the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Commerce, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the Friant Water Users Authority (FWUA). The goal of the settlement is to restore and maintain fish populations in “good condition” in the main stem of the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam to the confluence of the Merced River, including naturally-reproducing and self-sustaining populations of salmon and other fish (the “Restoration Goal”).  The settlement also includes a goal to reduce or avoid adverse water supply impacts to all of the Friant Division long-term contractors that may result from the Interim Flows and Restoration Flows provided for in the settlement (the “Water Management Goal”).

The State of California has expressed strong support of this settlement and has pledged cooperation and the financial resources of the Sttae to help it succeed.  A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was entered into by and between the settling parties and the California Resources Agency, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to allow the State of California to play a major, collaborative role in the planning, design, funding, and implementation of actions to restore the San Joaquin River called for by the settlement.

DWR intends to assist in various aspects of the planning, design, and construction of physical improvements identified in the settlement, including projects related to flood protection, levee relocation, design and construction of facilities to provide for fish passage and to minimize fish entrainment, the establishment of riparian habitat, and water surface and water quality monitoring. DWR also intends to assist in various aspects of the implementation of the Water Management Goal. 

The State’s involvement in the San Joaquin River Restoration Program is primarily funded through Proposition 84, the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal protection Bond Act of 2006.  Proposition 84 (fact sheet) provided the Resources Agency $100 million to implement the court settlement to restore flows and naturally reproducing and self sustaining populations of salmon to the San Joaquin River between the Friant Dam and the Merced River. The funds are designated for channel and structural improvements and related research pursuant to the court settlement. In addition, Proposition 1E, the Disaster Preparedness and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2006 (fact sheet), may support the SJRRP by funding  levee repairs and improvements, upgrade flood protection for urban areas, and improve emergency response capabilities within the SJRRP study area.

PROGRAM ACTIVITIES

Ecosystem Restoration

The goal is to restore and maintain fish populations in “good condition” in the main stem of the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam to the confluence of the Merced River,
including naturally reproducing and self-sustaining populations of salmon and other fish. Improvements on the San Joaquin River will focus on ecosystem restoration to return the river to more natural conditions. The State will design and construct facilities to provide for fish passage and minimize fish entrainment, establish riparian habitat, and implement the best available science and monitoring procedures so the system can be adaptively and effectively managed. In addition, the State will assist with the formulation and evaluation of all channel and structural improvements needed along the San Joaquin River to meet the Restoration Goal.

Flood Protection

To address flooding and better protect residents living in the restoration project area, the State will work on new and existing projects related to flood protection along the river including levee repairs and improvements, maintenance, levee relocation, and work on channel facilities. A major goal of the Department is to improve public safety from flooding in the Central Valley. A related program is the FloodSAFE program that may also include funding for flood protection work needed along the San Joaquin River.

Water Management

A key goal of the settlement is to minimize impacts to water users who depend on the San Joaquin River. The State will help identify specific projects and actions to meet this objective, and the nature and level of state assistance for such project in future agreements.

Monitoring

The Department operates and maintains several monitoring stations along the San Joaquin and its tributaries. The San Joaquin District samples water quality and collects surface water measurements at several San Joaquin River (SJR) and tributary locations. Water quality parameters analyzed include EC, various standard minerals and nutrients. A related program, the SJR Real-time Water Quality Management Program uses telemetered stream stage and salinity data and computer models to simulate and forecast water quality conditions along the lower SJR. The real-time programs primary goal is to increase the frequency of meeting SJR water quality objectives for salinity, thereby reducing the number and/or magnitude of high quality releases made specifically for meeting SJR salinity objectives. Additional water resources data that is collected by the Department includes groundwater levels and climatology. The monitoring data can be useful during the planning and Interim flows phases for the SJRRP.