June 2021 San Joaquin River Restoration Program Update

The San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP) announced this week that it will cease restoration flows from Friant Dam until September 10. The amount of water available for SJRRP restoration flows is contingent on the amount of runoff in the San Joaquin River Watershed above Friant Dam. In 2021, a total of 70,919 acre-feet of water was allotted for restoration flows.

The SJRRP Restoration Administrator has determined that delaying the release of these restoration flows until late summer will maximize cold-water temperatures for reproducing spring-run Chinook salmon.

Salmon reproduction begins around mid-September as redds are created and fish lay eggs. During this stage of their lifecycle, salmon are sensitive to high water temperatures. The 2021 allocation of water will be held in Millerton Lake through the summer and released in mid-September to ensure cold river temperatures critical for salmon.

Two sections of the San Joaquin River, Gravelly Ford to Mendota Pool, and Sack Dam to the Eastside Bypass will be mostly dry this year. Friant Dam releases for water contracts upstream of Gravelly Ford will continue through the summer.

The SJRRP has also announced that 74 adult Chinook salmon successfully returned to the San Joaquin River in 2021. These fish spent the last 2 to 3 years in the Pacific Ocean, and have migrated back to the San Joaquin. They are holding in the waters below Friant Dam until late summer to complete their life cycle.

For more information about the SJRRP visit restoresjr.net.