Kimball Island Research
Kimball Island is located in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Once farmland, it has been restored to tidal-marsh habitat open to tidal fluctuations. Following its restoration, the FFC monitored the fish use of the islands channels and beaches. Fish use and commumity composition was compared between restored sites and control sites in the western San Joaquin Delta.
Central Valley Juvenile Salmonid Studies
The FFC has conducted seasonal snorkel surveys to determine temporal and spatial distribution of juvenile and adult salmon and steelhead in Central Valley Rivers. These rivers include the Stanislaus, Sacramento, American, Calaveras and Cosumnes. Snorkel surveys were also conducted on the Big Sur River on the central coast.
Cosumnes River Floodplain Studies
The FFC studied fish habitat of the lower Cosumnes River floodplain in cooperation with the Nature Conservancy and UC Davis. The study was funded under a CALFED grant to determine the effects of expanding the lower river floodplain by breaching levees and allowing high spring flows to once again reach lower river terraces. FFC staff monitored fish use of the newly breached floodplain via beach seines, fyke netting, light traps and electro fishing.
Rattlesnake Creek Fish Rescue and BMP Monitoring
Reconstruction of a fish ladder on Rattlesnake creek, a tributary to the south fork Eel River in Mendocino County required dewatering of a large section of the stream area prior to construction. A large scale fish rescue was conducted by the FFC in cooperation with CalTrans and DFG using a combination of electro fishing, beach seines and dip nets. The FFC rescued 880 juvenile Steelhead and various other aquatic species from the construction area which were relocated the to suitable habitat away from the site. In addition to the fish rescue, the FFC was responsible for monitoring water quality and maintaining BMP’s during the dewatering process.
Cosumnes Flow Augmentation Pilot Program
The Cosumnes River watershed is relatively low in elevation and depends on early fall precipitation in order to connect to tide water. In many years this doesn’t occur until late November or early December due to a heavily depleted aquifer. The FFC conducted pilot study to determine how much flow would be required to connect the river to tidewater earlier in the fall in the hopes that out of basin water would be secured from the American River via the Folsom South Canal. A critical riffle analysis was conducted below the canal and recommendations were made to the appropriate agencies. Ultimately, water from the canal was used to pre-wet the channel to facilitate an earlier natural connection.
West Delta Surveys
The Fishery Foundation of California with a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), conducted a seine survey of the western Delta in the winter of 2005 and 2006. The survey was in conjunction with FFC monitoring at Kimball Island, a wetland mitigation bank developed by Wildlands Inc. on the southwest edge of west Sherman Island (Figure 1). The survey was also a supplement to the FWS Lower Sacramento River Seine Survey, which samples weekly at four boat-ramp seine sites in the western Delta. The purpose of the survey was to determine use of shallow water habitats in winter in the western Delta by young Chinook salmon. Our study focused on the timing, relative abundance, and habitat use patterns of young wild Chinook salmon. We did not attempt to address the importance of Delta rearing to the salmon populations.