San Joaquin River Restoration Program

The San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP or Program) is the culmination of 18 years of litigation between the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the United States and Friant Division contractors of the Central Valley Project (CVP). This lawsuit, known as NRDC, et al., v. Kirk Rodgers, et al., reached a Stipulation of Settlement (PDF) (Settlement) on September 13, 2006. The Settlement includes both Restoration and Water Management goals. The State’s participation in the Program, via the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and CDFW, is directed by the terms in the Memorandum of Understanding  (PDF) (MOU) between the Settling Parties and the State, effective for the duration of the Settlement and terminating on December 31, 2026.

CDFW participates in the SJRRP at nearly all levels and is engaged in salmon reintroduction actions and planning, fish facility operations, research, and monitoring efforts supporting the population and habitat goals, site-specific planning, recreation, environmental compliance and permitting, and public outreach.

The Restoration Area is 153 miles long, from Friant Dam downstream to the confluence with the Merced River. This stretch of river crosses the counties of Fresno, Madera and Merced.

Key objectives for CDFW support and assistance with implementation of the Settlement include the following:

  • Support the Settling Parties in achieving the SJRRP Restoration Goal, consistent with CDFW’s authorities, resources, and broader regional resource strategies.
  • Fulfill the other commitments identified in the State Agency MOU pertaining to the Settlement.
  • Produce a spring-run Chinook salmon stock on the San Joaquin River that is genetically diverse, while minimizing impacts to source populations.
  • Provide a controlled laboratory environment for conducting fish research.
  • Manage Chinook salmon runs in the Restoration Area and, specifically, the potential for hybridization between runs.
  • Monitor and conduct research that will direct Chinook salmon management within the Restoration Area.
  • Fulfill CDFW’s mission to manage California's diverse fish, wildlife, and plant resources, and the habitats on which they depend, for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public.
  • Fulfill CDFW’s obligation to conserve, protect, and manage fish, wildlife, native plants, and habitats necessary for biologically sustainable populations of those species and as a trustee agency for fish and wildlife resources pursuant to Fish and Game Code section 1802.
adult salmon under water
people holding nets from boat
Man holding fish above tank
Man holding fish above tank and net
Man holding fish by tail
Man measuring fish
Uniformed people in water with tools
Two people in water holding poles
People holding a large net in water
Man on specialized platform in water
Man lowering fish into water
Man dumping bucket of fish into cage
Man holding a tool and fish in net
Man operating small blue machine
Several dozen fish in water