Thirsty for Change?
California's drought is the wake-up call to get serious about solving our water problems. We need a solution to fill our rivers, streams and wetlands when nature needs it, and provides adequate water so our farms and cities prosper. Today, rivers are running dry, and water is sucked from wells in the ground faster than it is replenished.
State and Federal Agency Actions
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is acting quickly to preserve and protect our state's salmon and steelhead, and the water salmon need to survive. Visit the CDFW drought page and the CDFW Drought Response Projects page to learn more.
- Redwood Creek Coho Salmon Rescue and Captive Rearing Project (2014-2018)
- US Bureau of Reclamation Releases Additional Water to Address Fish Health in Lower Klamath River (September 16, 2014)
- Scott River Fish Rescue and Relocation (Second article with more photos) (August 21, 2014)
- Merced River Steelhead Rescue (July 2014)
- Sacramento River fall-run Chinook hatchery-raised salmon smolts trucked to San Francisco Bay (April 7, 2014)
Voluntary Drought Initiative
CDFW and NOAA Fisheries jointly introduced a Voluntary Drought Initiative to protect populations of salmon and steelhead. Water users can enter individual agreements with CDFW and NOAA Fisheries to maintain enough water for fish spawning in specific high priority streams, and implement other collaborative actions like fish rescue, relocation, monitoring and habitat restoration. The Scott River Fish Rescue (see above) is an exemplary result.
In April 2015, CDFW and the State Water Resources Control Board put out a request to landowners in Green Valley, Dutch Bill, Mark West and Mill Creeks, tributaries to the Russian River, Sonoma County to participate in voluntary drought agreements to ensure enough instream water for endangered coho.
Emergency Tank Storage Registration in Response to Drought
CDFW and the State Water Resources Control Board jointly introduced a Small Domestic Use Storage Tanks Expedited Permitting to expedite approval for the installation of storage tanks by landowners who currently divert water from the state’s coastal rivers and streams. These streams are in danger of reaching critically low stages during the summer, threatening rural drinking water supplies. Capturing rain and storing in rainwater tanks for use later can also help reduce the impacts to fish and wildlife from diverting water from streams during the driest times of the summer.
CDFW Drought Funding
With drought funding, CDFW has implemented a variety of drought actions for salmon, including increased monitoring of fish in the Sacramento River basin and work with NMFS and USFWS to complete restoration and fish passage projects in the Upper Sacramento River. Increased funding under the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program were also made available.