Stanislaus River

Stanislaus River
An overview…
History and Background
• One of largest tributaries to San Joaquin River
• Development of Basin began during the Gold
• River is about 96 miles long, three forks
• Watershed is 1,075 square miles
• Source elevation is 1,230 feet
• Average annual outflow about one million
acre feet
• Upper reaches largely in Tuolumne County and in
Stanislaus National Forest
• Three forks merge just upstream of New Melones
Reservoir; Stanislaus River is boundary between
Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties
• Enters Stanislaus County at Knights Ferry and
crosses Stanislaus County
• At Riverbank becomes boundary between San
Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties to San Joaquin
Education and Awareness
• Lots of publicity during long review of New
Melones Dam and Reservoir
• Major public education and awareness event
started three years ago--annual salmon
festival in Knights Ferry in November—visitors
increased from 1,500 first year to 3,000 last
Public Access and Recreation
• Lots of recreation activities including fishing and
whitewater rafting
• Lots of parks and public access along the RiverFederal provided by Corps, State and local
• Calaveras State Park, Caswell Memorial State Park
Knights Ferry Recreation Area, Horseshoe Park,
Orange Blossom Park, Valley Oak Campground,
Oakdale Recreation Area, Jacob Meyers park,
McHenry Recreation Area, Two Mile Bar,
Goodwin Dam
Policy and Protection
• Federal ESA laws protect Chinook and Riparian
Brush Rabbit and habitat
• Calaveras County General Plan Goals:
• Goal V-2 : Protect streams, rivers and lakes from
excessive sedimentation due to development and
• Goal V-3 : Protect and preserve riparian habitat along
streams and rivers in the County.
• Stanislaus County requires 200 foot setback from
riparian corridor
Policy and Protection-2
• San Joaquin County General Plan has policies
to protect water quality and temperature,
protect riparian habitat, protect aquifer
recharge, protect riparian habitat and oak
trees, provide access to waterways and seek
input from community resource groups
Ease of Fish Passage
• Watershed developed starting during Gold
• Many dams built for irrigation and
hydroelectric power generation
• New Melones last large dam built in California
• Fish access blocked about halfway up River at
Goodwin Dam--built in 1913
Spawning Gravel
• Spawning Gravel is a critical issue for
spawning success in the Stanislaus River
• AFRP has funded several projects to enhance
spawning gravel sites in the Stanislaus
• Coarse gravel moves downstream, dams
preclude gravel moving downstream
• Projects to mine gravel from adjacent
floodplain areas and recontour flood plain for
annual inundation
Riparian Habitat
• Projects have been funded and implemented to
restore and enhance riparian habitat for Riparian
Brush Rabbit populations on the Lower Stanislaus
• Take a “flight” on Google earth—most of
Stanislaus River in San Joaquin County is within a
band of riparian vegetation, even adjacent to
urban areas.
• Caswell State Park provides a very large area of
riparian vegetation along the Stanislaus River.
Water Quality and Temperature
• Water temperature is critical to fish health
• High water temperatures adversely affect fish
health and spawning
• AFRP funded multi-year study of Stanislaus River
water temperatures
• Temperature monitored for compliance with
NMFS requirements
• DFG monitors at Knights Ferry
• Dissolved Oxygen estimated via flow surrogates
Silt and Sediment Control
• Silt and sediment balance has been disrupted
in the riparian system
• Balance of sediment and gravel is necessary
for spawning success
• Too much fine sediment disrupts spawning
success, but sediment is not critical factor—
lack of spawning gravel is…
What is missing?
• Please ask questions, or identify areas where
additional information is needed about
issues/projects on the Stanislaus
• Contact me at: [email protected]

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