River restoration update

The State Water Resources Control Board on Friday announced that it has approved water-rights changes allowing extra flows to be sent down the San Joaquin River.

“The water rights changes approved (Friday) allow for the dedication of water released from Friant Dam to the river channel to support fish and wildlife and for that water to then be picked up for other uses farther downstream,” the board reported in a news release.

This was described as another step in a complicated, nearly $900 million effort to restore threatened spring-run Chinook salmon to the stream, which often runs dry upstream of Stockton.

Experimental flows down the San Joaquin began in 2009, and the river reconnected to the Delta in early 2010 for the first time in half a century, excluding flood years.

Full restoration flows are expected starting next year.

The project has been delayed several years, but lately there seems to be movement. Earlier this month, the state unveiled plans to build a fish hatchery for spring-run Chinook at the base of Friant Dam.

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