CDFW Releases Draft Environmental Impact Report on Planned Salmon Conservation Hatchery

Salmon Media Contacts:
Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908
Gerald Hatler, CDFW Central Region, (559) 243-4014, ext. 259

California’s Second Longest River One Step Closer to Restoring Historic Salmon Runs

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released a draft environmental impact report (DEIR) for a conservation fish hatchery to assist with the restoration of salmon runs in the San Joaquin River.

The proposed site of the new Salmon Conservation and Research Facility (SCARF) is located in Friant in Fresno County and adjacent to the San Joaquin River approximately 1.1 miles downstream of Friant Dam. The project, which is part of the San Joaquin River Restoration Project (SJRRP), proposes to release juvenile salmon from the facilities starting in 2015.

The DEIR describes how salmon would be collected and bred, using modern genetic management techniques to ensure genetic diversity that will produce traits that are beneficial in the wild, while minimizing impacts to the donor salmon populations. It also contains information on planned fisheries management within the plan area, among other information on environmental impacts.

An interim conservation facility is located at the site of the future SCARF and would be incorporated into the SCARF.

The DEIR can be found at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/regions/4/SanJoaquinRiver and is in circulation for a 45-day comment period that will end Nov. 21, 2013. Public meetings will be scheduled during that time in Fresno and Sacramento, as follows:

– Fresno, Nov. 4, 6-8 p.m., at the California Retired Teachers Association Building, 3930 E. Saginaw Way, Fresno.

– Sacramento, Nov. 6, 6-8 p.m., at the Department of Health Care Services and Department of Public Health Building, 1500 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento.

Comments may be made during the public meetings or by submitting them to CDFW, Attn: Gerald Hatler, SCARF Draft EIR Comments, 1234 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno, CA 93710 or by email to REG4SCARFCEQA@wildlife.ca.gov.

The San Joaquin River Restoration Program arose from a settlement in 2006 among the federal government, environmental groups and water users. CDFW and other state entities agreed to assist in implementation of the settlement agreement pursuant to a memorandum of understanding between the state agencies and the settling parties.

The San Joaquin River, California’s second longest tributary, was the site of one of the state’s most populous salmon fisheries. Historically, over a half million spring run Chinook salmon may have migrated up the San Joaquin River. The spring and fall runs of returning Chinook salmon were eliminated after the construction of the Friant Dam in 1942.