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.
Increasing Central Valley salmon populations in a highly regulated river system is a complex undertaking. Restoring habitats and ecosystem processes, augmenting fish passage, screening diversions, hatchery reform, and improved harvest management are integral components of successful conservation efforts. But restoring a semblance of a natural flow regime — sometimes termed “functional flows” — is often the focus of efforts to improve the status of salmon in Pacific Coast rivers. While it might seem straightforward to reestablish a natural hydrograph in efforts to encourage the ecological and biophysical processes to sustain salmon life stages — well, it’s not. Between obligations related to dam operations (flood control, water storage) and environmental requirements