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We support scientific research to improve water resources management and policy with the ultimate objective of improving the lives of Californians and protecting California’s natural resources. Investigators who receive funding from the Center for California Water Resources Policy and Management carry out studies using data on the imperiled native fishes and environmental factors in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to evaluate management-relevant hypotheses, quantitatively relating the performance of species listed under state and federal endangered species acts to their dynamic, degraded habitats. The Center also funds research aimed at providing guidance to the fish and wildlife and water-resource agencies regarding standards of conservation practice.

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Misunderstanding the influence of dams and droughts on the availability of cold waters to support Central Valley salmon and steelhead

California is at the southern boundary of the distributions of cold-water dependent fish species like salmon and steelhead. In many California rivers, flows and water temperatures challenge the performance and survival of salmonids even in years with average levels of precipitation. Drought and warmer summer air temperatures associated with climate change further exacerbate those stresses.  At and above the Sierra Nevada foothills, Central Valley rivers are heavily regulated.  The dams there provide a variety of benefits for humans — water supply, flood control, hydropower, and recreation — but have some predictable and well-understood adverse impacts on salmonid populations. Dams block upstream passage of adult salmonids, preventing those anadromous fishes from reaching

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