Document Details

The Rebirth of California Fish & Game Code Section 5937: Water for Fish

Karrigan S. Börk, Joseph F. Krovoza, Jacob V. Katz, Peter B. Moyle | July 1, 2012
Summary

Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets.

In an average year, California receives inflows and imports of water totaling around 200 million acre-feet,2 enough water to cover the entire state twenty-three inches deep. But California is a state of spatial and temporal water extremes. Spatially, precipitation varies wildly: Death Valley in the Southeast averages less than three inches per year, yet the northwestern corner of the state averages over 140 inches per year. More than 70% of California’s stream flow originates north of Sacramento, but more than 80% of the water is used south of Sacramento. Temporally, precipitation varies both seasonally and annually. California’s wet season typically runs from October or November to April or May, with little or no precipitation during the growing season, from May to September.7 Annual rainfalls of 40% or more below average and 36% or more above average each typically occur once every six to seven years.  To balance these extremes, over 1,300 dams store water across the state, supplying water for urban, industrial, and agricultural uses. While these uses sustain a tremendous part of California’s economy, they also come at high, often unappreciated costs. Fish also need water, so dams that alter water flows for human benefits may also have marked negative impacts on fish.

Product Description

Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets.

In an average year, California receives inflows and imports of water totaling around 200 million acre-feet,2 enough water to cover the entire state twenty-three inches deep. But California is a state of spatial and temporal water extremes. Spatially, precipitation varies wildly: Death Valley in the Southeast averages less than three inches per year, yet the northwestern corner of the state averages over 140 inches per year. More than 70% of California’s stream flow originates north of Sacramento, but more than 80% of the water is used south of Sacramento. Temporally, precipitation varies both seasonally and annually. California’s wet season typically runs from October or November to April or May, with little or no precipitation during the growing season, from May to September.7 Annual rainfalls of 40% or more below average and 36% or more above average each typically occur once every six to seven years.  To balance these extremes, over 1,300 dams store water across the state, supplying water for urban, industrial, and agricultural uses. While these uses sustain a tremendous part of California’s economy, they also come at high, often unappreciated costs. Fish also need water, so dams that alter water flows for human benefits may also have marked negative impacts on fish.

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Keywords:

ecosystem management, fisheries, water project operations, water rights