San Joaquin River Projects
The San Joaquin River restoration projects are located on the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge near Modesto. The San Joaquin River is California’s second longest river and one of its most degraded. After decades of building dams and levees, humans have significantly altered this river that once freely meandered across a broad floodplain of wetland and riparian forests. In fact, the original name of the Mexican land grant that encompasses the San Joaquin River restoration project was named El Pescadero, reflecting the large runs of salmon and steelhead that annually passed through this area.
To improve habitat for species that rely on healthy, functioning riparian forests, River Partners is collaborating with CALFED, California Department of Water Resources, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and local farmers. We have restored more than 2,500 acres of contiguous riparian vegetation and wetlands on abandoned agricultural fields. Levee breaches on the Refuge will reconnect the river with its floodplain allowing the physical processes, including flooding and sediment deposition, to occur that are needed to create and sustain these important riparian systems.
These restoration projects will greatly enhance the continuity of riparian habitat already protected in the area and provide an important wildlife corridor between the mouths of the Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers. We are customizing our plantings to create dense briar patches to harbor and protect endangered riparian brush rabbits. Planted elderberry trees will offer habitat for the threatened valley elderberry longhorn beetle, and a rich mixture of native trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs will provide structural diversity for a broad array of wildlife.
River Partners is not only excited about the opportunity to increase wildlife habitat, but also about the projected future public uses in the area including trails, wildlife viewing, hunting, and educational opportunities for local communities and schools in the San Joaquin Valley.
River Partners News Stories on San Joaquin River Projects