the Friant Water Users Authority Web Site: http://www.fwua.org/Restoration/histcond.htm)
HISTORIC CONDITIONS IN THE SAN JOAQUIN RIVER WATERSHED
PHYSICAL SETTING 3
Hydrology and Climate
Agriculture and Irrigation
FISH AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES 8
Palustrine Wetlands 9
Permanent fresh emergent wetlands
Seasonal fresh emergent wetlands
Valley foothill riparian woodland 10
Valley-Foothill Hardwood 10
Valley oak woodland 11
Blue oak woodland 11
Valley grasslands 11
San Joaquin saltbush scrub 11
Riverine systems 12
Wildlife resources 12
Native Fishes 13
Introduced Fishes 13
Anadromous Fishes 14
Spring Run 16
Fall Run 17
Late Fall/Winter Run
Striped bass 19
American Shad 21
Invertebrates, Reptiles and Amphibians
HISTORIC CONDITIONS IN THE SAN JOAQUIN RIVER WATERSHED
The San Joaquin Valley, measuring approximately 280 by
115 miles, encompasses some 20.5 million acres and collects all precipitation
falling between the divides of the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Range on the east
and west, respectively. The
Cosumnes River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta form the boundaries on the
north with the Tehachapi and the San Emigo mountains forming those on the south.
The valley floor accounts for some eight million acres, or about 39% of
the total area, with 4.3 million of that in the San Joaquin Basin and the
balance in the Tulare.
The region (synonymous here with the San Joaquin
watershed) comprises the southern portion of the Central Valley of California.
This principle hydrologic region is subdivided into two separate basins, the San
Joaquin and the Tulare, by a rise in the valley floor resulting from an
accumulation of alluvium between the San Joaquin River and the Kings River fan
called the Sanjon de San Jose. Historically,
this rise was breached by a slough which drained Tulare Lake into the San
Joaquin during high water years.
Hydrology and Climate
The climatic regime of the San Joaquin Valley is
characterized as semi-arid to arid with hot, dry summers and mild winters.
Summer temperatures often exceed 100 degrees for extended periods and
highs of 115 degrees are not uncommon. Winter
temperatures on the valley floor fall below freezing only occasionally.
Significant precipitation can be expected anytime from about mid-October
to approximately mid-May with the greatest proportions accumulating between
January and April.
The region averages only 25 cm of annual rainfall.
The winter snowpack, which accumulates above the 3-4000 feet line,
supplies the vast majority of the basins' water.
The westside streams contribute little to the water totals in the valley.
The Coastal Range is too low to accumulate a snowpack and is subjected to
a rain shadow phenomenon, therefore producing only seasonal runoff.
The snowmelt fed streams originating in the Sierra Nevada, however, are
permanent and constitute the principle sources of water for the entire region.
Prior to the construction of Friant Dam extreme temporal
fluctuations in water availability were diagnostic of the hydrology of the San
Joaquin Valley. Significant
inter-annual variation characterized the extended precipitation pattern of the
region with drought cycles that lasted years. Biologically significant
variations also occurred in diel, seasonal and intra-annual cycles.
Daily temperature variations generated peaks in snowmelt that altered
streamflows on a daily and even hourly scale.
High elevation winter rains, which increase the rate of snowmelt, are
common in the region and often result in significant if shortlived increases in
streamflow. On December 11, 1937 a
shortlived surge of 37,900 cfs was recorded at Friant on the Upper San Joaquin
and on February 18 and 19, 1986 flows of 20,838 and 33,514, respectively, were
recorded entering Millerton Lake behind Friant Dam (Mike McKown, pers. comm.).
Greater variations followed an annual regime.
Peak snowmelts resulted in very high late spring and early summer flows
that declined over summer to reach minimum flow levels in the fall and early
winter. Lower elevation
winter rains and diurnal snowmelt combined to maintain a secondary high
flow period that completed the annual hydrologic cycle.
Historically, the major water bodies in the San Joaquin
watershed were the San Joaquin River and the Tulare Lake assemblage.
The main stem of the San Joaquin could have been catagorized as both a
coldwater and a warmwater river at different times and locations.
The San Joaquin was fed by snowmelt at its headwaters in the Mt. Lyell/Minarets
region of the Sierra Nevada Range and was joined by the major eastside
tributaries (the Merced, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, Mokelumne, and Cosumnes rivers)
plus numerous smaller and/or seasonal streams.
Due to the snowpack source of San Joaquin river water and snowmelt
associated flows, late spring water temperatures remained fairly low even as air
temperatures rose into the high 90 and low 100 degree range (Report, 1856).
However, late summer and early fall water temperatures have been recorded
in excess of 70 degrees at Friant and even higher on the lower river reaches
(Clark, 1942; Commission of Fisheries, 1888).
In the foothills the river cut through a basalt capped
plateau resulting in a relatively restricted, gravel bottomed channel (Smith,
1939) that emerged onto the valley floor from a narrow granitic gorge.
For several miles below the Sierra foothills were ledges of rotten
granite covered to a considerable depth by sand and gravel. The channel here was
300-500 feet wide, one of the widest reaches on the entire river. (Giffen, 1939;
Due to the rivers origin in the granitic foothills and
the stability of the banks, the river did not carry a high sediment load and was
not a rapid land builder. Downstream of the Merced confluence the elevation of
the banks was only slightly greater than that of the surrounding landscape.
As a result the river would periodically spread out over the valley floor
creating extensive permanent and seasonal freshwater marshes.
These wetlands occurred on both sides of the main channel.
From Hamptonville to Herndon the San Joaquin fell 89
feet in 20 miles (USGS, 1899) and
another two feet per mile from Herndon to Mendota. From Mendota to Hill's Ferry
the river slope averaged only one foot per mile and less than one foot per mile
thereafter to the confluence to the delta.
From Las Juntas to the head of the Old River channel is 146 miles.
In this region the average width was 400 feet and its depth was 12 to 18
feet. The bottom here was mostly
sand bars with firm clay veins occasionally exposed.
River banks were of firm alluvial material with little tenancy to cave.
The banks were lined with willows, cottonwoods and occasional oaks (USGS,
The Tulare Lake assemblage, christened "vale de los
Tules" (Valley of the Rushes) by early Spanish explorers.
The assemblage consisted of four shallow lakes formed from depressions in
the valley floor. These once collected water from the Kings, Kaweah, Tule and
St. Johns rivers plus various minor and intermittent streams.
The largest of the lakes, Tulare Lake, was the second largest freshwater
lake on the continent in terms of surface area, varying with the mean hydrologic
cycle from around 450 to over 800 square miles. The lake was only 30 to 40 feet
at the deepest point and is believed to have evaporated completely during severe
drought periods. Kern, Buena Vista
and Goose Lakes completed the Tulare Basin assemblage of interconnected terminal
lakes. In addition, a 125 acre lake
known as Summit Lake, created by outflow from Tulare Lake, was just north of the
Kings River fan (Moore, 1990). The
valley floor in this region was a miasma of interconnecting natural sloughs,
canals and marshes.
Tulare Lake had no perennial surface outlet. However,
during high water periods, when the lake surface level would rise above 207 feet
elevation, it would flow through a slough that cut the Sanjon de San Jose and
drain into Summit Lake. Once Summit
Lake filled it, in turn, spilled into Fresno Slough and thence into the San
Joaquin River. In addition to this
surface flow, historic accounts suggest that underground seepage from the Tulare
Basin may have doubled the river's volume and maintained the its flow during the
dry summer and fall months (Moore, 1990).
With its masses of waterfowl, freshwater mollusks,
plentiful turtles and many species of deep-bodied fish the Tulare Lake
assemblage supported a large Native American population.
During early European times, thriving market hunting and commercial
fishing industries were supported by the lake's abundant resources (Smith,
The extremely rich natural resources of the San Joaquin
valley supported the densest population of non-agrarian Native Americans
on the continent. The aboriginal peoples were provided shelter and material
resources by the riparian groves on the banks of its rivers, sloughs and lakes
and fished in its waters. Large
game was plentiful as the plains and grasslands teemed with herds of elk, deer
and pronghorns and the wetlands provided a cornucopia of waterfowl, fish and
plant based food resources.
The San Joaquin Valley was home to the Yokuts, a
cultural group of peoples with distinct tribal names, dialects and territories,
and the Miwok peoples who inhabited the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range and
whose groups were divided principally by elevation.
Up to 50 Yokut subgroups occupied the San Joaquin basin, numbering
somewhere between 10,000 (Almanac) to 50,000 individuals (Moore).
An additional 19,000 are estimated to have inhabited the Tulare Basin or
visited it on a seasonal basis. This
group comprised the densest non-agricultural population of indigenous people in
North America (Moore).
However, Spanish soldiers forced the Native American
population from their villages on the banks of the San Joaquin and removed them
to the Mission San Juan Bautista. In
1832-33 the Yokuts fell victim to epidemics of malaria and cholera that
eliminated approximately 75% of the population. Later, a genocidal campaign by the Mariposa Militia, spurred
by the mass immigrations of gold seekers during the 1850's and aimed at both the
Miwoks and the remaining Yokuts, reduced the Indians to a few scattered bands.
In 1856 two reservations were created in the valley and by the end of the
Mariposa Indian Wars in the early 60's the last 1300 Yokut Indians were resident
upon them. By 1910 only 600
Compared to the coastal regions of California neither
the Spanish nor the Mexicans left any relatively lasting historical or cultural
legacy in the San Joaquin Valley. Lieutenant
Pedro Fagas and a small band of soldiers first explored the San Joaquin region
in 1772. In 1804 and again in 1806,
survey expeditions explored the region looking for mission sites but few were
reported and no mission was ever successfully founded.
However, after the forced emigration of the Northern Yokuts from the
banks of the San Joaquin River, the Spanish military returned to and permanently
occupied the site of their most important village, situated at the confluence of
the San Joaquin River and Fresno Slough, which came to be known as Pueblo de las
Juntas (Inventory, 1940: San Joaquin River hist. data, 19__)
In 1847 Don Benito Wilson drove a herd of cattle from
his Riverside ranchero through the San Joaquin Valley to Stockton and reported
seeing not a single white man.
The end of the Mexican-American war in 1848 brought a
hundred families, most of them
recent immigrants to the United States, to settle in the Valley in three
permanent settlements, Kingston City on the Kings River, Millerton on the Upper
San Joaquin and Fresno City on Fresno Slough (Almanac, 1956).
In 1849 some 80,000 immigrants descended upon the valley, lured primarily
by the promise of gold (Smith, 1939, Inventory, 1940) but also populating lumber
towns, ranches and town sites. During
and after this period the white population continued to increase.
The development of a white population in the San Joaquin
Valley can be correlated with certain economic activities which lead in
importance during given periods: Mining 1849-64, lumbering 1852-present,
ranching 1864-1874, grain and dairy farming 1874-1882, viticulture and irrigated
agriculture 1882-present (Inventory, 1940).
Though mining brought tens of thousands of goldseekers
into the San Joaquin Valley it did not directly impact the regions natural
resources to the extent that the nothern mines did in the Sacramento Valley.
Most mining on the upper San Joaquin consisted of placer mining as the
gold was of a very fine texture mixed with the sand and gravel bottom.
Very little, if any, hydraulic mining took place in the region as was
common in the Sacramento basin. Still,
placer mining operations upstream and dredging on the tributaries could disrupt
or destroy the spawning beds of chinook salmon and steelhead and sometimes
loaded the river with impurities (Report, 1853-4).
During the Gold Rush period over $13,000,000 in gold was taken from the
Upper San Joaquin River area known as the Southern Mines (Inventory, 1940).
Navigation was initiated on the San Joaquin River soon
after the discovery of gold in the Sierra foothills. The first documented voyage
of a vessel of any size resulted from the sale of a bark
brigantine, an ocean going sailing ship, to a group of would be miners
trying to reach the gold fields. These
men managed to sail the ship as far as San Joaquin City at the confluence of the
Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers. However,
shallow draft side-wheelers and barges were the only feasible commercial vessels
of any size on the river.
The first commercial shipping venture on the San Joaquin
was the California Steamboat Company. The
Stockton Record, in a Jan. 24, 1853 edition, reported the ship Marysville
running routes as far as Fort Miller, the legal head of navigation and now the
site of Millerton Reservoir. The
established head of navigation, operable at both high and low waters,
was Sycamore Point at present day Herndon.
It was possible at one time for a ship to load passengers and cargo on
the upper river and unload at Red Bluff without ever leaving fresh water, a trip
of well over 600 miles (Macmullen). Shipping
operations remained viable and profitable economic entities, engendering much
competition, until irrigation
diversions had so lowered the river levels that ships could not get through (Cheney). By the turn of the century commercial navigation on the river
was unfeasible and the last run to Herndon was made in the flood year of 1911
Agriculture and Irrigation
The San Joaquin Valley is uniquely situated in the state
relative to other agricultural sectors. The
Coast Range to the west of the valley inhibits cool air from blowing in from the
sea, resulting in higher
temperatures earlier than in other regions.
Crops grown in the San Joaquin will sometimes mature three to four weeks
earlier, allowing producers to market them first for premium prices.
This quality helped drive the rapid agricultural development of the area
despite the lack of easily accessible water (Inventory).
The development of irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley
started with the establishment of "agricultural colonies" for the
express purpose of pooling the capital of a number of people for the large scale
development of irrigation. During
the post-Civil War period settlers emigrated in large numbers from the southern
states. The influx of these
immigrants and their cumulative resources drove the expansion of the
agricultural communities into fully operative water and irrigation companies.
Early irrigation practices consisted of little more than
shallow ditches dug by crude horse drawn plows and dredges and filled with water
drawn from the river by hand pumps. In 1867 the Fresno Irrigation District
Company attempted the first large scale water conveyance project strictly for
irrigation purposes, later known as the Centerville Ditch, to divert water from
the Kings river. The project was
completed in 1874 (Inventory) and by 1880 over 188,000 valley floor acres were
In 1880 the Upper San Joaquin Irrigation Company
attempted the first large scale water storage facility in the Valley.
The project was designed to irrigate 250,000 acres with water diverted
from the San Joaquin River. An 800 foot long rock dam designed to raise the river six
feet was constructed downstream of Millerton on about the present dam site.
The dam was destroyed by spring floods and the project was abandoned by
1882. However, the impetus for
major engineering projects for the purpose of irrigation was created.
By the turn of the century over 350,000 acres were irrigated in the San
Joaquin Basin with another half million in the Tulare Basin.(USBR, 1986)
An important component of the irrigation scheme in the
valley was the installation each year of the Sack Dam, literally a dam built of
sacks filled with sand and soil. This
dam was installed in the San Joaquin River just downstream of the Temple Canal
intake when the river levels fell below those required to satisfy local
agricultural needs, usually in late summer or early fall, and remained in the
channel until removed or allowed to wash out in the winter flows.
The most extensive early agriculture, and therefore
irrigation, in the San Joaquin took place in what is now Fresno County.
Grains grown by dry farm methods were the first agricultural products
from the region and in 1856 about 1620 acres of grain were in cultivation in
Fresno county. In the late 1850's
grape vines were planted and in 1874 cotton and citrus fruits were introduced to
the region. Soon thereafter alfalfa
also became a profitable crop. In
1890 Fresno shipped over 400,000 pounds of table grapes annually and by 1910 the
county had surpassed Spain as the leading supplier of raisins to the Western
FISH AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES
Historic Natural Communities
of the San Joaquin Valley
Natural communities are commonly described by the
structure of their vegetation and the plant species present. Twenty common
terrestrial community types occur in the San Joaquin watershed. Of these, 17
occurred in the San Joaquin Basin while 15 occurred in the Tulare Basin.
The natural communities include: alpine dwarf shrub, subalpine conifer,
red fir forest, montane chaparral, wet meadow, montane mixed conifer forest,
montane riparian forest, montane hardwood-conifer forest, montane hardwood,
pinyon-juniper woodland, juniper woodland, mixed chaparral, chamise-redshank
chaparral, valley foothill hardwoods, saltbush scrub, valley foothill riparian,
Valley grasslands, palustrine wetlands. (PEIS, Mayer and Laudenslayer 1988,
Moore 1990). Riverine, lacustrine
and estuarine habitats harbored the aquatic communities.
Annual grasslands dominated by exotic species have
replaced most of the native California perennial grasslands and significant
areas of former lacustrine and palustrine wetland habitats and now form an
extensive vegetative community throughout the Central Valley ( Barbour 1987,
Mayer and Laudenslayer 1988)
On the valley floor, valley foothill riparian woodland,
valley foothill hardwoods, valley grasslands, palustrine wetlands, saltbush
scrub and riverine and lacustrine systems are the primary natural communities
(Moore 1990, Mayer and Laudenslayer 1988, Raines 1992).
These wetlands include any nontidal wetlands not
classified as lacustrine, estuarine or riverine associated and have no deepwater
habitat associations. In the San
Joaquin Valley this classification includes both permanent and seasonal fresh
Permanent fresh emergent
Emergent wetlands are typically inundated for most of
the year such that the roots of vegetation have evolved to thrive in an
anaerobic environment. Characteristic
floral species are erect, rooted hydrophytes dominated by perennial monocots
such as the common tule (Scirpus acutus), cattail (Typha latifolia), various
sedges (Carex spp.) and spike rushes (Eleocharis spp).
Permanent wetland habitat can occur on virtually any slope or exposure
that provides a saturated depression. In
the San Joaquin Valley the topography is generally level or gently rolling.
Wetlands follow basin contours or occur in conjunction with riverine or
lacustrine environments. Subtypes
of permanent emergent wetlands are generally classified by species presence
and/or association with specific terrestrial habitats.
Seasonal fresh emergent
A broad brush description of a seasonal wetland would
include any area that ponds water during the wet season.
Vegetation may vary from Italian rye grass (Lolium multiflorum) in the
driest areas to spike rush in the wettest.
Cattail species are conspicuously absent from seasonal wetlands as they
are indicative of permanet wetlands. These
wetlands were historically comprised of vast areas that, though inundated only
periodically, provided crucial seasonal habitat for many wildlfe species, most
conspicuously for waterfowl and other migrants.
They can occur as a subtype in almost any community.
In the San Joaquin Valley they most often occurred in grassland and
Permanent and seasonal wetlands associated with the Tule
lake assemblage provided the largest single block of wetland habitat in
California. Tules in the area
sometimes rose twenty feet around the surrounding landscape. Estimates of historic wetland acreages in the Central Valley
range from 500,000 to 4,000,000. Of
that about 1,100,000 acres occurred in the San Joaquin Valley
Vernal pools are seasonal wetlands that form in shallow
depressions underlain by a substrate near the surface that restricts the
percolation of water. They are
characterized by a barrier to overland flow that causes water to collect and
pond. These depressions fill with
rainwater and run off from adjacent areas during the winter and may remain
inundated until spring or early summer, sonetimes filling and emptying during
the wet season.
Vernal pools undergo four distinct annual phases:
wetting, inundation, drying and drought. Each phase can be crucial to the life
cycle of the species of plant and animal that have evolved in a given pool type.
Although the vegetation composition of vernal pools varies as a result of
pool type, land use practices, annual rainfall and temperature variation, the
vegetation in relatively undisturbed vernal pools is typically characterized by
native annual species, many of which are endemic to vernal pools or vernal
pool-swale systems and many of which are obligate symbiotes.
Annual grasses are conspicuously absent as a descriptive species of
Prior to the era of the plow in the Central Valley, two
forms of vernal pool were historically wide spread in the grassland and saltbush
regions of the San Joaquin basin. The
"valley" pool was typically found in areas with saline or alkaline
soils such as basins or low lying plains. "Terrace" pools were common in the neutral or
slightly acidic soils of the more upland grasslands of the California prairie.
All vernal pools are considered at least category two habitat while rock
outcrop pools are considered a category one habitat.
Valley foothill riparian
Valley foothill riparian woodlands represent a diverse
and productive plant community dependent on a consistent surface water supply or
accessible water table. Riparian
woodlands typically display four phreatophytic vegetative layers: a canopy, a
subcanopy, an understory and an herbaceous layer. A mature canopy reaches around 100 ft in height with anywhere
from 20% to 80% cover. Characteristic
trees of the canopy include such winter deciduous species as cottonwood,
sycamore and valley oak. The
subcanopy is mainly composed of white alder, Oregon ash and boxelder.
An understory layer of California blackberry, wild rose, wild grape,
elderberry, willow and other lianas and shrubs can form a nearly impenetrable
mass on the forest floor. The
herbaceous layer of grasses, sedges, and a variety of forbes constitutes
approximately 1% of total cover. Salt
cedar (Tamarix spp.) is an agressive exotic phreatophyte that has colonized many
of the remaining riparian habitats in the San Joaquin, especially those areas
that have been modified or in some manner disturbed.
Valley foothill riparian habitats are found in valleys
bordered by sloping alluvial fans, dissected terraces and lower foothills.
Valleys tend to provide deep alluvial soils and a high water table.
Virtually all rivers, sloughs, streams and lakes in the San Joaquin
Valley and the Sierra foothills were lined by riparian forests of varying
density and extent.
the Historical extent of riparian woodlands in the San
Joaquin Valley range from 254,000 to 400,000 acres.
Valley oak woodland
Valley oak woodland varies from open savanna to
relatively dense forest-like stands depending on water availability and soil
fertility. Denser stands are
generally found along natural drainages while more openly structured stands are
characteristic of upland areas. In
the absence of grazing the associated vegetative community consists of a fairly
well developed shrub layer in the lowland sites that transitions to grasses and
forbs under the more open stands. Canopies
of these woodlands consist almost exclusively of valley oaks (Quercus lobata).
However, in the Central Valley, other valley oak canopy associated
species include sycamore, balck walnut, boxelder and blue oak with bird
disemenated species such as poison oak, toyon, blackberry and coffeeberry in the
understory. Various sorts of
graminoid and forb species make up the ground cover.
These woodlands usually merge with grasslands, border
agricultural lands or, in the foothills, integrade with blue oak woodlands.
Near major stream courses this community type intergrades with
valley-foothill riparian vegetation. These
woodlands provide important food and cover for many animal species.
A least 30 bird species which utilize oak woodlands are known to treat
acorns as a prey item and the range of at least 80 mammal species includes oak
Valley oak woodlands were historically extensive along
the 100 year floodplain of the Valley's riverine systems.
The largest and densest stands were found along the Kings and Kaweah
rivers of the Tulare Basin. The
estimated acreages of former valley oak woodlands in the San Joaquin Valley run
in excess of 500,000 acres.
Blue oak woodland
These woodlands are characteristic of the lower Sierra
Nevada foothills and higher elevation regions of the San Joaquin Valley.
They typically exhibit an overstory of scattered Blue Oaks (Quercus
douglassii) with an understory of equally scattered but dense stands of shrubs.
The ground cover is commonly composed of annual grassland species. Like
valley oak woodlands the structure and density of blue oak woodland is dependent
on water availabilty and soil type (Mayer and Laudenslayer 1988).
Grasslands are open habitats composed primarily by
annual plant species. The original
grassland of California's Central Valley was dominated by dense stands of
perennial bunch grasses that had evolved to withstand and even benefit from the
occasional grazing of large wandering herds of herbivores.
The native grasslands of the San Joaquin Valley likely consisted of
climax stands of perennial bunch grasses such as purple needlegrass (Stipa
pulchra), nodding needlegrass (S. cernua), wild rye (Elymus spp.), pine
bluegrass (Poa scabrella), three awn (Aristida spp.), June grass (Koeleria
cristata), and deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens).
These species contributed approximately half the cover of the native
grasslands with a great variety of annual and perennial grasses and forbs
comprising the balance. On the
drier upland sites and in the foothills native annuals may have constituted most
of the climax community. Cumulatively
these grassland communities once covered over 5 million hectares or 13% of the
land area of California.
Overgrazing by domestic livestock in conjunction with
drought and the introduction of hundreds of species of exotic weedy annuals
probably eliminated the native perennial grasslands of the state as a distinct
habitat. Today, introduced annual
grasses such as wild oats (Avena spp.), foxtails (Hordeum spp.), and bromes (Bromus
spp.) and forbs such as filaree (Erodium spp.) dominate the grassland community.
Experimentation has shown that the presence of these agressive non-native
annuals effectively blocks the reestablishment of native perennials into their
former range, even in those areas where grazing has been eliminated.
Most botanical experts consider the introduced annuals to be naturalized
and dominant to the extent that they are effectively "the new natives"
and treat them as such for the purpose of study and management.
San Joaquin alkali desert
The alkali scrub found in the San Joaquin Valley is a
subset of a heterogeneous habitat
comprised of alkali tolerant plant communities whose composition varies along
gradients of moisture, salinity, elevation and microtopography.
This community occurs on poorly drained but generally dry alkaline soils
in the southern and western regions. It
can be characterized by open stands of ever-green or deciduous shrubs and is
dominated by the shrubby species typical of the Atriplex genera such as
arrowscale (A. pyllostegia), San Joaquin saltbush (A. joaquiniana) and polycarpa
(A. polycarpa). A variety of
xerophytic subshrubs and herbaceous annuals complete the community composition.
A riverine system is characterized by intermittent or
continually running water. Lotic
habitats often occur in association with a number of terrestrial habitats. In
the San Joaquin this association is generally limited to riparian woodland and
fresh emergent wetland but does transition to lacustrine in limited areas on the
valley floor and behind dams on the upper San Joaquin River and its tributaries
and to estuarine at and beyond the confluence with the Delta.
The lotic ecosystem of any given stream or river reach
exists within structural classes that are based on water depth and velocity.
Open water is defined as greater than two meters in depth or beyond the
reach of rooted plants and does not involve substrate.
The submerged zone is that area between open water and the shore. Finally, the shore is defined as the area flooded only by
wave wash or water level fluctuations and having less than 10% canopy cover.
The heterogeneity of physical characteristics within
riverine systems is reflected in the biotic communities found there.
Macroinvertebrates make up the majority of riverine species.
They act as the link between the trophic extremes represented in stream
systems by a variety of algal and meiofaunal species and the lotic vertebrate
classes such as jawless and bony fishes. In
fast moving, cold water streams macroinvertebrates are generally found in the
cobble and gravel substrate of riffles.
The primary or limiting characteristic of the upper
reachs of a riverine system is probably its gradient. The greater the slope, the higher the water velocity and the
greater the streams ability to suspend and transport material.
These reaches are often marked by riffle-pool sequences.
Typical species of the riffle are the nymph stages of mayflies (),
caddisflies (), alderflies (), and stoneflies ().
In pools the dominant insects are burrowing mayfly nymphs (), dragonflies
(), and water striders (). Water
mosses and filimentous algaes utilize rock surfaces, often exhibiting a zonation
influenced by current and depth.
In the slower moving, warmer water conditions found in
the lowland reaches, the river loses its ability to transport materials and
tends to drop its suspended sediment load, resulting in a substrate of sand and
silt. In this reach abundant
decaying matter deposited on the river bottom supports the growth of planktonic
organisms. Mollusks and crustaceans
replace insects as the dominant macroinvertebrates, aquatic vegetation floats on
the surface and emergent vegetation may utilize the banks.
Lacustrine systems are inland depressions or plugged
riverine channels containing bodies of permanently standing water of almost any
size. In most cases these ponds and
lakes support fish life. Subtypes
within the lacustrine system may range from shallow water with rooted plants to
open water habitats too deeps for plant growth (> two meters).
A variety of organisms exploit lacustrine systems.
In the littoral areas the community structure may closely resemble that
of permanent wetlands. The deeper,
open water habitats are dominated by planktonic communities upon which all
limnetic life depends.
At least 140 vertebrate species are dependent on
lacustrine systems. The Tulare lake
assemblage and the natural sloughs constituted major lacustrine systems on the
San Joaquin Valley floor.
the only humans dwelling on their banks, the waters of
the Sacramento-San Joaquin system teamed with fish. Thirty-four native species, seventeen of them endemic to the
system, thrived in there. At least
19 and possibly as many as 23 of those species historically existed in the San
Joaquin drainage and 12 of those were endemic.
The Kern Brook lamprey (Lampetra
hubbsi), three subspecies of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss whitei, O.m. aquabonita, and O.m. gilbertii) and
a number of distinctive populations of California roach (Lavinia
symmetricus) are unique to the San Joaquin drainage (Brown and Moyle, 1993,
Brown et. al.,, 1992).
The climatic and hydrologic extremes of the San Joaquin
Valley presented harsh conditions to aquatic organisms. Those species that had
evolved or adaptively radiated in a regime of alternating flood and drought
conditions and widely fluctuating temperatures were uniquely adapted to the
region's variable environments and were quite successful there.
Nine species were thought to be abundant throughout the region and two
others were common or locally abundant. Before
water mining and the subsequent modifications of its rivers, sloughs and
wetlands, there were four principle freshwater fish communities or associations
in the San Joaquin Valley that were spatially separated by clinal or other
The rainbow trout association occurred in clear, cold,
high-gradient streams. The
squawfish-hardhead-sucker association utilized the mid-elevation streams of
eastside tributaries and the Upper San Joaquin. The California roach association was found in the smaller,
intermittent warmwater streams of the foothills and the westside.
The deep-bodied fish community once dominated the lakes, sloughs and
rivers of the valley floor (Moore, 1990, Brown and Moyle, 1993).
The San Joaquin system supported large populations of
anadromous fishes which utilized the rivers to varying degrees. (Anadromous is
defined here as fish species with both freshwater and oceanic life stages.)
By far the most abundant and widely distributed of these were the chinook
salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), though steelhead (Onchorynchus mykiss) and white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) were reported in the system as far as the
Kings river and Tulare Lake. The
green sturgeon (A. medirostris) also
utilized the San Joaquin river but is not known to have occurred upstream
of the confluence with the Delta. During
high water anadromous fish would move into the lake in numbers great enough to
supply an important food resource to the inhabitants of the region (Moore, 1990,
Hanson, 1994). The pacific lamprey also utilized the river, its tributaries and
Tulare Lake (Moyle, 1976, Moore, 1990)
In the early 1870's a transplant program was initiated
by the Commission of Fisheries to improve the game fish situation in California
inland waters. Livingston Stone, a
noted fisheries biologist of the day, was contracted to introduce the game fish
of the eastern and southern states to the Sacramento-San Joaquin system (Comm.
of Fish., 1882). Other
introductions were made to provide a forage species for the exotic game fish.
Some were possibly made to provide culturally important and familiar food
fish for immigrant populations and others were probably accidental.
The introduced species were very successful in
colonizing the San Joaquin system, especially disturbed or artificially created
aquatic habitats, though native species still tend to be abundant in unaltered
waters. Two anadromous species, the
striped bass (Morone saxatilis) and
the American shad (Alosa sapidissima)
were introduced into the system and were immediately successful in inhabiting
the San Joaquin and its Delta. Both
were highly prized for their sport and food values and became the nexus for
Due to the commercial and cultural importance of the
chinook salmon to the Central Valley, more was recorded about the historic
aspects of this species than any other. In
its pristine state the Sacramento-San Joaquin drainages' production of chinook
salmon rivalled southern Alaska's. In the San Joaquin system alone the
escapement ran upwards of 300,000 to 500,000 chinook annually (Brown and Moyle,
1993, Smith, 1992) with at least two and possibly three separate runs: a spring
run, a fall run and a late fall run.
Like the native fresh water fishes, the salmon of the
San Joaquin were unique races that evolved and radiated to withstand and even
thrive in environmental extremes experienced by no other salmon race on earth.
Fall water temperatures in excess of 80 degrees were recorded by a state
survey station, under unimpaired flow conditions, near the lower spawning
grounds in 1880-1882 (Hall, 1880,'81,'82).
In the last century the Commission of Fisheries recognized and was so
impressed by the extraordinariness of these salmon in "the warmest portion
of California, at the hottest season of the year...at so high a temperature of
both air and water" that they recommended transplanting San Joaquin salmon
into the warm lowland rivers of the southern states (Comm. of Fisheries, 1888).
Cumulatively, even after the initiation of agricultural
diversions and dam construction, the San Joaquin runs supported a strong
commercial fishery and cannery operations in the south Delta (Bureau of Marine
fisheries, 1949). Catch records and
tagging efforts show that they contributed from 10% (Leidy) to as much as 50%
(Warner, 1991,John Wullschleger, pers. comm.) to the total salmon biomass
produced by the Central Valley.
The decline of the salmon fishery of the Sacramento-San
Joaquin system after 1910 was evident to biologists by the 1920's and probably
to fishermen a decade earlier. In
1910 the commercial river catch alone exceeded 10,000,000 lbs for the first time
since 1880 (588,000 fish at 17 lbs /fish: Leidy) and continued to decline until
commercial river fishing was abolished in 1957. By 1918 the total state catch, river and ocean harvests
combined, had fallen to 5,000,000 pounds (294,000 fish).
Even with increased effort and improved technology that catch was
surpassed only once the rest of the century (Leidy). The industry targeted the largest fish, which are also the
most successful spawners, and by the 1920's the age composition of the
population had also begun the shift away from a preponderance of older, larger
spawners in the four and five year age classes to younger, smaller fish in the
two and three year age classes (Clark, 1929).
Over harvesting in the rivers and ocean and poor
regulatory control of the fishery were important proximate factors in the loss
of these once great fisheries. Ultimately,
however, the blockage of spawning grounds and the destruction of spawning and
rearing habitat by water diversions, riparian development and channel
modifications caused the most negative impacts on the San Joaquin chinook
populations. The loss of fish to
pollution and predatory fish was also a known factor (Clark, 1929).
tables:catch by year,conversion,contribution by San
The spring run was the largest of the San Joaquin salmon
runs, with hundreds of thousands of fish entering San Francisco Bay each spring
and running up the main river and its tributaries.
These runs were so large that "Because of its location along the
banks of the San Joaquin River, the sleep of the townspeople of Millerton was
disturbed each year by the tremendous numbers of salmon which came up the river
to spawn. Their leaping over the
sandbars created a noise comparable to a large waterfall (Giffen, 1939,
Inventory, 1940). In 1946, just
three years before their total extinction and two years after the filling of
Friant began, the sport catch records show a take of at least 20,000 chinook
attributable to the Upper San Joaquin alone.
A 1987 USFWS report estimated inland harvest in the estuary and the San
Joaquin tributaries at less than 10% of the total adult harvest (Moore, 1990)*.
Spring run chinook spawn at the highest elevations of
all salmon. Exactly how high their
former spawning grounds reached is unknown though they may have occurred as high
as the Yosemite Valley on the Merced river (Snyder, 1993).
The granitic composition of the Sierran river gorges and the crumbling
basaltic plateaus of the foothills coupled to a high gradient provided long
stretches of swift-water, pool and riffle gravel beds, ideal spawning habitat
for chinook. Also, the
characteristic of high elevation spawning kept the spring run fish spatially
separated, and thus genetically distinct, from those of the fall run.
They entered the rivers on the snowmelt and oversummered in deep pools
until the fall, when lowering temperatures or early winter rains would induce
them to spawn. And by utilizing the
river at a different time than the winter run they were at least temporally and
possibly spatially separated, and thus distinct, from any late fall/winter run
However, the very characteristics that contributed to
the success of the spring run chinook in the San Joaquin drainage also led to
their early decline on the tributaries and later on the San Joaquin itself.
In the mid-1800's the high country spawning beds on the tributaries were
fouled by mining and timber operations. Access to the higher elevations was
blocked by dams built to divert water for mining, agriculture and mills.
In 1888 the Commission on Fisheries announced the demise of the salmon
runs on the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers, which it described as once being
among the premier salmon streams in the state, due to obstruction of fish
passage by dams.
Also,in order to lay over a whole summer in possibly
less than optimal conditions these fish, unlike the fall fish, had to enter the
rivers and reach the spawning grounds in prime condition.
For this reason the spring run fish was prized for canning and even more
so by the fresh fish industries. Much
of the effort of the commercial fleets went to capturing these prized fish
(Stone, 1887, Frank Fisher,pers. comm.)
By 1928 eleven dams had been built on the San Joaquin
system and another 35 on the Sacramento. Over
80% of the spawning beds were inaccessible.
By this time the spring runs on the San Joaquin
tributaries were nearly extinct.
For the southern runs only the San Joaquin river's the upper reach
spawning grounds were intact and accessible.
Three weirs for the diversion of irrigation water from the main channel
probably influenced the size of the spring run but their primitive fish ladders
allowed enough salmon to pass that the run remained relatively strong (Warner,
1991, Clark, 1929). But when Kerchoff power dam was built in 1920 it blocked off
about one-third of the estimated 39 miles of spring run spawning area and
dewatered 14 miles of channel during the summer and fall (Calif. Div. of Fish
and Game, 1921). However, the
remaining 12 miles of spawning beds proved sufficient to maintain a viable
In 1939 construction of Friant Dam on the main channel
of the San Joaquin began. This dam, built to divert San Joaquin water to
agricultural uses, was completed in 1942 began filling in 1944 and blocked all
access to the high elevation spawning beds. No fish passage facilities were
incorporated into the design because the reservoir behind it inundated most of
the remaining beds. Spring run
salmon are known as "stream type" fish because after emergence the
young characteristicly spend the first year in the cool water of the upper
rivers and the lower reaches of their associated mountain streams.
Friant Dam also destroyed these spring run nursery areas.
There is evidence that southern chinook salmon were a
behaviorally and physiologically resilient species. With the loss of their upper spawning grounds, the spring run
chinook of the San Joaquin began spawning in the 14 miles of low elevation
spawning beds that were formerly utilized by the fall run fish.
In order to accomplish this they had to oversummer in the pools
immediately downstream of the dam in an area where summer water temperatures
commonly reached over 80 degrees. Clark
(1945) observed some 5000 spring run fish oversummer in these pools, in
temperatures that had already reached 72 degrees by July, from late May until
September when they began spawning in the beds downstream of Friant.
However, when Friant became completely operational the
decision was made not to release any water for fish and wildlife purposes.
Though approximately 52,000 acre feet was released for downstream riparian users
the flow ceased after Gravelly Ford. This
decision effectively dewatered some 62 miles of channel downstream of this point
(Raines, 1992). Despite the efforts
by state and federal agency personnel to get salmon past the dry reaches, the
lower beds were unreachable to the spawning salmon.
The runs continued to return and die in the river until 1949.
After that the San Joaquin chinook was extirpated in its southernmost
The fall run, though apparently not of the proportions
of the spring run, was still considerable.
In 1940, after years of habitat modification and degradation, the fall
run escapement on the Tuolumne river alone was estimated at 122,000. Some early
accounts estimate runs in excess of 50,000 fall run salmon upstream of the
Merced confluence (F.Fisher, pers.comm.) Fall
run fish enter the bay and the river in late summer and fall with the cooler
temperatures and freshets of the early rains and spawn immediately upon arrival
on the spawning beds. They
typically utilize the lower elevation beds of the main river and the
tributaries, rarely spawning over 500 feet in elevation.
On the tributaries the fall run remained viable until recently due to
artificial propagation and because the some lower beds were both accessible and,
though often fined or disturbed by stream side development, still relatively
On the San Joaquin, however, the sack dam at Dos Palos,
which was often allowed to remain in the channel until washed out by winter
floods, effectively blocked the fall run from reaching its spawning beds
downstream of Friant. Thus the San
Joaquin fall run, which at one time numbered in the tens of thousands (Frank
Fisher, pers. comm.) was reduced to near extinction by the 1940's.
Its possible that this run was extinct even earlier and that the few fall
fish in the San Joaquin were actually strays from the tributaries.
In extremely high water years fall run strays do occasionally reach the
upper San Joaquin. In 1969 chinook
fry of San Joaquin origin were identified in the Kings River (Moyle, 1970) and
in 1988 2300 chinook were entrained in the Los Banos trap upstream of the Merced
Late Fall/Winter Run
The historic existence of a late fall (or winter) run in
the San Joaquin is problematic but likely (Frank Fisher, pers. comm.). Colonel
John Fremont, in his "Geographical memoir upon Upper California",
reported capturing salmon on the Tuolomne river on February 4th.
Clark described a late fall run in the Merced and the Mokelumne in 1929
and one on the San Joaquin in 1945. The
California Division of Fish and Game reported a late fall run passing Dos Palos
on the upper San Joaquin in late November (CDFG, 1945).
Also, the Calaveras river, a lower eastside tributary, still supported a
remnant winter run as the late 1980's (Moore).
If a late fall or winter run did in fact occur in the San Joaquin, then
the drainage must have supported a year round adult population of chinook salmon
that was subjected to every environmental variable of the system, as does the
Sacramento river system to the north.
river and run table here
The steelhead is a native anadromous race of rainbow
trout. This fish spawns in rivers
and coastal streams from Southern California to Alaska. Due to extensive plantings of this species in the last
century the natural range of steelhead is unknown.
However, historical accounts suggest that there was in fact a natural
spawning population as far south as the upper reaches of the
San Joaquin and Kings rivers (Brown and Moyle, 1987).*
Historical population numbers are unknown but reliable counts of
sixty-six and five were made in October of 1940 and 1942, respectively, at
Dennet Dam on the Tuolomne River (Loudermilk, 1993).
Adult steelhead are still caught in the Mokelumne and Cosumnes rivers
The San Joaquin race of steelhead is another species
which would have had to evolve a special hardiness to occur under the
fluctuating conditions of that river. Because
of its life history the steelhead is usually very sensitive to environmental
flux. Steelhead generally spawn in
the colder, swifter waters of high gradient streams.
They require higher dissolved oxygen
concentrations for incubation and lower water temperatures in all life stages
than chinook. Steelhead fry will
spend up to two years in the natal stream before emigration and may return to
spawn as many as five times. These
characteristics make the steelhead
extremely susceptible to habitat alterations and the population was probably
heavily impacted by dams and other modifications of the San Joaquin system. A 1972 California Department of Fish and Game report
estimated the San Joaquin River steelhead population at the closing of Friant
Dam as less than 500 adult fish per year.
Striped bass were introduced into the Sacramento-San
Joaquin system from the east coast of the United States as part of the
Livingston transplant program. Two
plantings, in 1879 and 1882, totaling 435 fish, proved so successful that a
commercial fishery was established in 1889.
By 1899 approximately 1.2 million pounds of striped bass were being
harvested annually and in 1915 nearly 2 million pounds were marketed (Scofield,
One of the most important game fish now inhabiting the
San Joaquin, striped bass sport fishing is estimated to produce $45 million
annually for local economies (Moore, 1990).
However, the populations have declined up to 75% from 1960 levels.
Causes of this decline include entrainment losses of eggs and larvae,
reduced outflows through the Delta, reduced flows and water quality in the San
Joaquin river (low DO and high TDS), reduction of prey populations, water
pollution, dredging and spoils disposal, and the introduction of exotic
competitors (Moore, 1990).
Striped bass spawn in the spring months in water that is
no more than slightly saline with salt contents of no more the 180 ppm.
These conditions existed in the lower San Joaquin such that one third to
one half of the historic Sacramento- San Joaquin population spawned there (Scofield,
1930; Moore, 1990). With increasingly modified system the striped bass spawning
habitat has been limited to an area on the main river between Stockton and
Antioch that is compromised by degraded conditions.
White sturgeon are the most abundant of the two species
found in the Sacramento-San Joaquin system while green sturgeon have
historically been relatively uncommon (Moyle et. al., 1994). Both fish move into fresh water in winter and spring to spawn
and then move downstream when spawning is completed. A large commercial sturgeon fishery during the latter part of
the last century nearly decimated the Central California populations of both
White sturgeon spend most of their lives in estuaries
although specimens have been caught as far inland as Tulare Lake.
They are believed to have spawned at the mouth of the Stanislaus River (Wullschleger,
pers.comm) and possibly as far as the Merced.
However, spawning success in the San Joaquin is believed to have been
reduced or entirely unsuccessful due to poor water quality and low river flows
Green sturgeon are more marine than white sturgeon.
They rear in estuaries and migrate to sea by their second year.
They probably only re-enter estuaries to spawn. Green sturgeon utilize
deeper, faster waters for spawning and probably once found appropriate
conditions in the channels of the lower San Joaquin river (Moyle
et. al., 1994).
The American shad, another species of the east coast
rivers, was introduced into the Sacramento-San Joaquin system as part of the
transplant programs of the 1870's and 80's.
With the striped bass fishery and the salmon fishery in decline,
post-World War One inland and Delta fisherman turned for a while to the shad to
sustain a commercial fishery (Scofield, 1930).
However, it was probably of greater economic value as a sport fish in the
rivers upstream of and north of the Delta.
Millerton Lake behind Friant Dam supports the only known landlocked
population of American shad.
Most shad spawning takes place in the Sacramento River
and its tributaries though substantial spawns may occur in the Mokelumne and
Stanislaus Rivers. Spawning occurs
during the spring and summer and the emergent and young fish require acceptable
water quality and flows to survive and to migrate to the Delta and the Bay
(Moore, 1990). For this reason
sub-optimum upstream conditions may have had an especially severe impact on the
San Joaquin shad.
The richness and variety of habitats associated with the
San Joaquin and Tulare basins allowed a myriad of birds to use the area as
either visitors or residents. Seventy
percent of all bird species in the Central Valley are riparian dependent.
Millions of resident and migratory waterfowl and shorebirds would use the
riparian and wetland habitats from the fall to the early spring months.
In an account of his visit to Tulare Lake, James "Grizzly"
Adams described the bird life of a small wooded island as "... incredible
in number,- ducks, geese, swans, cranes, curlews, snipes and various other
kinds, in all stages of growth, and eggs by the thousands..."(Moore, 1990).
The waterfowl population in particular supported a "for market"
harvest for many years.
Beavers, river otters and mink were common residents of
the river and waterways of the San Joaquin and Tulare basins.
The resource was rich enough to lure trappers out of the Sierra's and
even the Rocky Mountains. Twenty
years of fur-trapping (Smith, 1939; Inventory, 1940) failed to seriously affect
the beaver population of the basins as attested to by Adams's account of seeing
"beaver's works in every direction" around Tulare Lake (Moore, 1990). Mink once occupied the streamside riparian forests and
wetlands from the Delta to the southern end of the valley and the river otter
once occurred in the lakes of the Tulare Basin and the San Joaquin River and its
Striped and spotted skunks occurred in dense, woody
sites while raccoons were common in riparian forests, wetlands and valley oak
woodlands. Ringtails occurred along
the upper San Joaquin and its tributaries, preferring foothill brushland slopes
but staying close to water. Badgers
generally were restricted to the open prairie.
Tule elk, which preferred marsh and riparian-oak
woodlands, may have numbered 500,000 in the Sacramento-San Joaquin valley with
the largest population in the San Joaquin and Tulare Basins.
Pronghorn were most abundant in the prairies and oak and riparian
woodlands of the valley and were common up to the lower elevations of the
foothills. Mule deer migrated
annually from the high country as low as the valley floor and were especially
abundant in those areas burned by the local tribes.
Grizzly bears once inhabited the San Joaquin corridor
and the Tulare Basin in large numbers and black bears were common where they did
not share a range with the grizzly.
Wolves were numerous along the San Joaquin drainage and
near the lakes and rivers of the Tulare basin.
Coyotes, however, were the dominant predator, inhabiting of all the
indigenous habitats of the region. The
San Joaquin kit fox, a plains dweller, may once have had a population density of
one per square mile in the valley and the grey fox was widely distributed but
preferred the densely covered habitat of chaparral and the riparian forest.
Mountain lions were found in the riparian and valley oak
woodlands where big game and cover was available while bobcats, more generalist
in their foraging habits and prey preferences, had possibly the most continuous
and widespread distribution of any carnivore in the state.
Invertebrates, Reptiles and
Little is known of the historic proportions or species
compositions of these groups. Historic
accounts tell of incredible swarms of mosquitos in the marshes and of tarantulas
that inhabited the open grasslands. Both
freshwater clams and the western pond turtle are known to have been important
food items for the indigenous people of the San Joaquin Valley and both were
numerous enough to have supported harvests on a commercial scale.
Plant Species of the San Joaquin Drainage
Ludwegia ssp. Yellow
Short-stocked white Russula
Saddle-shaped false Morel
Fluted black Helvella
Straw-coloer fiber head
Bird's Foot Trefoil
Owl's Clover, Johnny Tuck
Hooker's Evening Primrose
Paint Brush or Painted Cup
Giant Blazing Star
Brodiaea lutea ssp.
Clarkia biloba Two-lobed Clarkia
Baby Blue Eyes
Wally Basket, Ithuriel's Spear
Snake of Twining Lily
Limnanthes alba White
Pretty Face, Harvest Brodiaea
Thysano carpus curvipes
Fringe Pod, Lace Pod
California Wild Rose
California Wild Grape
Dutchman's Pipe Vine
Smooth Red Willow
California Scrub Oak
Digger or Gray Pine
Interior Live Oak
Quercus lobata Valley Oak
Coast Live Oak
California Black Walnut
Acer negundo (californicum)
Native Fishes of the San Joaquin Drainage
Kern brook lamprey
Introduced fish of the San Joaquin Drainage
Cyprinus carpio Carp
Ameirus catus White
Ameirus melas Black bullhead
Birds of the San Joaquin Drainage
Western Yellow billed cuckoo
American white pelecan
Podilymbus podiceps pied-billed grebe
Ardea herodias great blue heron
Nycticorax nycticorax black-crowned night-heron
Egretta thula snowy egret
Botaurus lentiginosus American bittern
Butorides striatus green-backed heron
Casmerodius albus great egret
Branta canadensis Canada goose
Branta canadensis leucopareia Aleutian Canada
Branta canadensis minima Cackling Canada goose
Aix sponsa wood duck
Anas acuta northern pintail
Anas americana American wigeon
Anas strepera gadwall
Anas platyrhynchos mallard
Anas cyanoptera cinnamon teal
Aythya collaris ring-necked duck
Aythya valisineria canvasback
Bucephala clangula common goldeneye
Aythya affinis lesser scaup
Bucephala albeola bufflehead
Oxyura jamaicensis ruddy duck
Lophodytes cucullatus hooded merganser
Mergus merganser common merganser
Cathartes aura turkey vulture
Pandion haliaetus osprey
Accipiter cooperii Cooper's hawk
Accipiter striatus sharp-shinned hawk
Buteo swainsoni Swainson's hawk
Buteo jamaicensis red-tailed hawk
Buteo lineatus red-shouldered hawk
Circus cyaneus northern harrier
Elanus caeruleus black-shouldered kite
Aquila chrysaetos golden eagle
Haliaeetus leucocephalus bald eagle
Falco sparverius American kestrel
Falco mexicanus prairie falcon
Falco pereginus anatum peregrine falcon
Phasianus colchicus ring-necked pheasant
Callipepla californica California quail
Fulica americana American coot
Gallinula chloropus common moorhen
Porzana carolina sora
Rallus limicola virginia rail
Charadrius vociferus killdeer
Himantopus mexicanus black-necked stilt
Recurvirostra americana American avocet
Phalacrocorax auritus double-crested cormorant
Tringa melanoleuca greater yellowlegs
Actitus macularia spotted sandpiper
Larus delawarensis ring-billed gull
Larus californicus California gull
Zenaida macroura mourning dove
Tyto alba barn owl
Otus kennicottii/asio western screech owl
Bubo virginianus great horned owl
great grey owl
Aeronautes saxatalis white-throated swift
Archilochus alexandri black-chinned hummingbird
Calypte anna Anna's hummingbird
Selasphorus rufus rufous hummingbird
Ceryle alcyon belted kingfisher
Melanerpes lewis Lewis' woodpecker
Melanerpes formicivorus acorn woodpecker
Sphyrapicus ruber red-breasted sapsucker
Picoides pubescens downy woodpecker
Picoides nuttallii Nuttall's woodpecker
Picoides villosus hairy woodpecker
Picoides arcticus black-backed woodpecker
Colaptes auratus northern flicker
Contopus borealis olive-sided flycatcher
Contopus sordidulus western wood-pewee
Empidonax difficilis pacific slope flycatcher
Empidonax traillii willow flycatcher
Empidonax hammondii Hammond's flycatcher
Empidonax olberholseri dusky flycatcher
Sayornis nigricans black phoebe
Sayornis saya Say's phoebe
Myiarchus cinerascens ash-throated flycatcher
Tyrannus verticalis western kingbird
Eremophila alpestris horned lark
Tachycineta bicolor tree swallow
Tachycineta thalassina violet-green
Northern rough-winged swallow
Hirundo pyrrhonota cliff swallow
Hirundo rustica barn swallow
Aphelocoma coerulescens scrub jay
Pica nuttalli yellow-billed magpie
Corvus brachyrhynchos American crow
Psaltriparus minimus bushtit
Sitta carolinensis white-breasted nuthatch
Sitta canadensis red-breasted nuthatch
Certhia americana brown creeper
Thryomanes bewickii Bewick's wren
Troglodytes aedon house wren
Cistothorus palustris marsh wren
Regulus calendula ruby-crowned kinglet
Polioptila caerulea blue-gray gnatcatcher
Sialia mexicana western bluebird
Catharus ustulatus Swainson's thrush
Catharus guttatus hermit thrush
Turdus migratorius American robin
Ixoreus naevius varied thrush
Chamaea fasciata wrentit
Mimus polyglottos northern mockingbird
Anthus rubescens American pipit
Bombycilla cedrorum cedar waxwing
Lanius ludovicianus loggerhead shrike
Sturnus vulgaris European starling
Vireo solitarius solitary vireo
Vireo huttoni Hutton's vireo
Vireo gilvus warbling vireo
Vermivora ruficapilla Nashville warbler
Vermivora celata orange-crowned warbler
Dendroica petechia yellow warbler
Dendroica coronata yellow-rumped warbler
Dendroica nigrescens black-throated gray warbler
Oporornis tolmiei MacGillivray's warbler
Geothypis trichas common yellowthroat
Wilsonia pusilla Wilson's warbler
Pheucticus melanocephalus black-headed
Passerina amoena lazuli bunting
Pipilo erythrophthalmus rufous-sided
Pipilo fuscus California towhee
Pooecetes gramineus vesper sparrow
Spizella passerina chipping sparrow
Chondestes grammacus lark sparrow
Passerculus sandwichensis savannah sparrow
Passerella iliaca fox sparrow
Melospiza melodia song sparrow
Melospiza lincolnii Lincoln's sparrow
Zonotrichia atricapilla golden-crowned
Zonotrichia leucophrys white-crowned
Junco hyemalis dark-eyed junco
Agelaius phoeniceus red-winged blackbird
Sturnella neglecta western meadowlark
Euphagus cyanocephalus Brewer's blackbird
Molothrus ater brown-headed cowbird
Piranga ludoviciana western tanager
Carpodacus purpureus purple finch
Carpodacus mexicanus house finch
Carduelis pinus pine siskin
Carduelis psaltria lesser goldfinch
Carduelis tristis American goldfinch
Passer domesticus house sparrow
Sphyrapicus varius Yellow-bellied
Anas crecca green-winged teal
Anas clypeata northern shoveler
Aythya americana redhead
Buteo lagopus rough-legged hawk
Numenius phaeopus whimbrel
Tringa flavipes lesser yellowlegs
Numenius americanus long-billed curlew
Calidris minutilla least sandpiper
Calidris mauri western sandpiper
Larus argentatus herring gull
Sterna forsteri Forster's tern
Columba livia rock dove
Athene cunicularia burrowing owl
Regulus satrapa golden-crowned kinglet
Dendroica townsendi Townsend's warbler
Guiraca caerulea blue grosbeak
Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus yellow-headed
Mammals of the San Joaquin Drainage
big brown bat
western red bat
western mastif bat
mexican free-tailed bat
little brown bat
little brown myotis
Townsend's big-eared bat
Brazilian free-tailed bat
desert (Audobon) cottontail
Sylvilagus bachmani ripariaus Riparian
California ground squirrel
Western gray squirrel
Botta's pocket gopher
Reithrodontomys megalotis western harvest
riparian wood rat
Western spotted skunk
Reptiles of the San Joaquin Drainage
Lampropeltis getulus californiae California
pacific gopher snake
common garter snake
western aquatic garter snake
Coluber constrictor mormon
western yellowbelly racer
Thamnophis gigas giant garter
Crotalus viridis oreganus
northern Pacific rattlesnake
southern alligator lizard
western fence lizard
coast horned lizard
Clemmys marmorata marmorata
northwestern pond turtle
Clemmys marmorata pallida
southwestern pond turtle
Amphibians of the San Joaquin Drainage
Rana aurora draytonii
California red-legged frog
pacific tree frog
California tiger salamander
Sierra Nevada Salamander
Historical Bibliography: San Joaquin Mainstem
(* signifies availability in FWS library)
Brown,L.R. and Moyle,P.B. 1993.
Distribution, ecology, and status of the fishes of the San Joaquin river
drainage, California. Calif. Fish and Game vol 79(3) 1993.
Bureau of Marine Fisheries 1949. Commercial fish catch
of California for the year 1947 w/an historical review 1916-1947. CDFG Fish
Bull. vol 74
-gear and effort
-other anadromous species
Calhoun,A.J. and Woodhull,C.A. 1948.
Progress report on studies of striped bass reproduction in relation to
the Central Valley Project. Calif. F&G vol 34(4) 1948.
CDFG vol.7(1) 1921.
CDFG vol.8(1) 1922.
CDFG vol 13(4) 1945.
-late fall run at Dos Palos
CDFG 1986. Memo to Charles H. Rich, SWRCB.
RE:Fish flow requirements below Don Pedro
-SJR basin contribution to total Sac-SJR salmon
-critiques FERC fishery maintanence requirements
-Indices of annual abundance and ocean fishery impacts
*USFWS 1994. Central
Valley Project Improvement Act Programatic Environmental Impact Statement:
Clark,G.H. 1929. Sacramento River Salmon Fishery. Calif.
F&G vol 15(1) 1929
-good historical data
-high % 4 yr fish in spawning pops.
__________ 1929. Sacramento-San Joaquin salmon fishery
of California. Div. of F&G Fish Bull. vol 17 1929
-Historical and statistical review
__________ 1942. Salmon
at Friant Dam. Calif. Fish And Game vol 20(3)
-late fall run
-holdover spring run
Cone, David 1973. The
Salmon Fishery of the San Joaquin River, California: Its history, its
destruction, and its possible
-excellent historical reference
-San Joaquin contributions to total biomass
-projected restored pop. numbers
-list of docs. and legal history
Coot,Millard 1988. Letter to Rick Morat USFWS
-personal account of post war FWS effort on SJR. May 8
____________ 1988. Letter to Rick Morat USFWS
-pers. account w/ numbers from post war FWS effort on
SJR. Feb 20
Boating on the San Joaquin. Stockton Record, San Joaquin County
Jan. 25, 1919
Fresno County Centennial Committee
1956. Fresno County
Centennial Almanac. Fresno,
Geographical memior upon Upper California addressed to the U.S. Senate.
Tippin and Streeper, Washington. U.S. Congressional Docs., 30th Cong. 2nd
Fry,Donald H. and Hughes,Eldon P. 1951.
The Calif. Salmon Troll Fishery. PMFC bull.2 1951
-history and effort
-comm. and sport take
-aging /weight-length relations
Fry,Donald H.,Jr. 1958. Letter to Wilmer Morse, Attorney
at Law, Stanford, California. September 23
-Details of escapement estimates,SJR 1940's
-BOR withdrawal of funds from Dr. J. Moffett, Sac-SJR
________________1957. Letter to Eldon P. Hughes, Marine
Resources Operations, Stanford. November 3
-Methodology of flow estimates for restoration of
Chinook in SJR Mainstem.
-Maintanence of production levels
________________1958. Testimony at SWRB Hearing on SJR
________________1965. Relationship between stream flow
and salmon spawning success with especial reference to the SJR
-Estimates SJR Mainstem contribution to total catch in
lbs and $$
-H20 needs of SJR by run and lifestage
-Alternatives include using canals to bypass low flow
Elden H. Vestal 1958. Intraoffice correspondence to
Eldon P. Hughes. March 3
-Rough draft of John Skinner paper relating decline in
California salmon fishery to Friant operations
An assessment of Federal water projects adverslely affecting California's
salmon and steelhead resources. Part 2: Friant Dam
-RE:Senate concurrent resolution No. 64, 1971
-Historical account of fishery
-Assessment of damage to fish resources in SJR Mainstem
_____ 1964 Minutes
of meeting of agencies discussing salmon passage in SJR. May 26
----- 1961 King
salmon spawning stocks of the California Central Valley, 1940-1959.
Calif. Fish and Game vol 47(1) 1961*
-includes the famed Fry counts
Fort Miller and Millerton: Memories of the Southern Mines.
Quarterly Publication of the Historical Society of Southern California.
Hall, W.H. 1880. State
Engineers Dept.: River Records field books.
SJR at C.P.R.R. bridge, Gauge 24 Dec.1878-Oct.1880
-daily temps: use to establish macrohabitat conditions
State Engineers Dept.: River Records field books.
SJR at C.P.R.R. bridge, Gauge 24 Oct.1880-July
State Engineers Dept.: River Records field books.
SJR at C.P.R.R. bridge, Gauge 24 Oct.1880-Aug
State Engineers Dept.: River Records field books.
SJR at C.P.R.R. bridge, Gauge 24 Sept.
1882 vol. 100
Hallock,R.J. and Van Woert,W.F. 1959.
A survey of anadromous fish losses in irrigation diversions from the
Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. CF&G
Tulare Lake, A phantom lake in the desert.
(A video and slide presentation on the ecological history of Tulare
Hatton, S.R. 1941.
Progress report on the Central Valley fisheries investigations,1939.
Calif. F&G vol. 26(4)*
-historic cond. of all anaddomous game fish
-evaluation: value and distribution of habitat
Striped bass spawning areas in California.
Calif. F&G vol 28(1) 1942
Hatton,S.R. and Clark,G.H. 1942. A second progress
report on the central valley fisheries investigations.
Calif. Fish and Game vol 28(2) 1942.
Hughes, Eldon P. 1958. Letter to E. Vestal in reply to
March 3 memo
- critiques Skinner paper
California's rivers: A public trust report.
California State Lands Commission, Sacramento.*
Leidy, G.R. et al. 1984.
-Historical review of Sac. River
Memo to G. Neillands and S.Baumgartner.
RE:Steelhead on Tuolumne 1940 & '42.
MacMullen, J. Beyond
the Head of Navigation. Paddlewheel
Days in California. Libsac B1570
Mclurg,Sue 1994. Saving the salmon: The struggle to
restore salmon pops. continues to drive water manag. throughout Calif. and the
PNW. Western Water July/August 1994
-background and perspectives on water/fish issues
_________ 1994. The San Joaquin River. Western Water
-background and perspectives of SJR water developments
Moore,S.B. et al. 1990
Fish and Wildlife resources and agricultural drainage in the SJV, Calif.
vol. 1; SJV Drainage Program
Morse,W/SWRB 1958. Interpretations used in answers to
questions to be asked of Mr. Fry propounded by SWRB staff. December 2
-From W. Morse files
-Includes Fry schedule of flow
Moyle, Peter B. 1970. Occurence of king (chinook) salmon
in the Kings river, Fresno county. Calif.
F&G 56(4) :314-15 1970
--------------. 1976 Inland Fishes of California.
University of California Press, Berkeley
Office of the Secretary of War
1856. Reports of Explorations and Surveys to Ascertain the most
Practicable and Economical Route for a railroad from the Mississipi River to the
Pacific Ocean. Vol 5. Beverly
Tucker, Printer. Washington D.C. 1856.
Pacific Marine Fisheries Commission 1948. Coordinated
plans for the management of the fisheries of the Pacific coast. PMFC bulletin
-discusses salmon fishery and associated problems
Raines, R. and Karp 1992. Affected Environment and
Environmental Consequences. (Draft)
Reavis,R.L. 1981. Summary of annual chinook spawning
escapement for major tributaries in the Sac-SJR sytem for the years 1971-1980.
CDFG Anadromous fisheries branch 1982
Report of the Commissioners of fisheries 1870-1894.
-morphs of SJR
-air and water stats
-spring run obs.
Rutter,C. 1907. The
Fishes of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Basin, with a study of their distribution
-literature compilation of native fishes
-historical account of native fishes
San Joaquin River Fish Doubling Team Draft Report (P.L.
102-575, Section 3406(b)(1)
-draft report from doubling team(final due in December)
-info on tributaries
The striped bass of California. Division
of Fish and Game of California Fish Bulletin No.29
Striped bass studies. Calif. F&G vol 14(1) 1928
Scofield,N.B. 1929. The status of salmon in California.
Calif F&G vol 15(1) 1929
-discusses physical and management problems
Notes on the striped bass in California.
Twenty first biennial report of the Board of Fish and Game Commissioners
Skinner,John R. 1951. Fish and game problems of the
Potential values and needs.
State Lands Commission 1994. Mean daily flows SJR at
Smith,Felix E. 1991. A discussion: California's give
away of the SJR and a step toward its restoration
-details legal and agency history of Friant diversions
-details legal and mitigation strategies for restoration
__________ 1942. Salmon at Friant Dam. Calif. F&G
vol 29(3) 1943
-observations of spring run below Friant
-layover until fall spawn
-layover in pool at high Temp
__________ 1993. A discussion: Rice culture- Stubble
decomposition/seasonal wetlands and water storage. Calif. SportFishing
Protection Alliance 1993
-----------1988 A discussion: The Friant Division and
-restoration flows(lowest found)
Smith,Joe 1963. The
Fresno Bee; The Republican Nov. 11,
Smith, Wallace 1939.
Garden of the Sun. Reprint;
Mid-cal Publishers, Fresno Calif. 1939
Stone,L. 1887. The
best season for packing salmon on the Pacific coast.
Bulletin of the U.S. Fish Commission, vol.7(5) 1887. Washington D.C.
Snyder, James B. 1993. Memo to
Superintendent Mike Finley,NPS Yosemite
RE: Did salmon reach Yosemite Valley or Hetch Hetchy?
-Detailed historical data on Tuolumne
-Some historical data on Merced
State Land Commission
1976. San Joaquin River
Historical Data Book 1, parts 1&2.
Stone, Livingston 1887. Best season for packing salmon
on the Pacific coast. Bureau of the U.S. Fish Comm. vol 7 (5) 1887
A history of river basin studies. Unpublished
US Army Corps of Engineers 1976.
Lower San Joaquin River, California aerial atlas. Corps of Engineers,
USBR 1986. Central
Valley Fish and Wildlife Management Study (Draft): Evaluation of the potential
of a comprehensive restoration program for the San Joaquin River salmon fishery,
-historic discharge vs escapement
Water supply and irrigation papers. vol 19.
Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 1899
Stanislaus River Habitat Evaluation Procedures Study: Plants, Fish and Wildlife
of the Lower Stanislaus River
Van Cleve,R. 1944.
A preliminary report on the fishery resources of California in relation
to the Central Valley Project. Calif.
F&G vol 31(2) 1945
Warner,George 1987. Remember the San Joaquin.
California's salmon and steelhead: The struggle to restore an imperiled
resource. ed.Lufkin,A. UC Press 1991
-problems include poaching, water quality etc.
-fish passage in canals
-details last days of spring run on SJR
Saga of Don Benito. The Fresno County Almanac. Fresno County Centenial
Committee, Fresno California 1956
The importance of the ocean sport fishery to the ocean catch of salmon in
the states of Washington, Oregon and California CF&G vol 46(3)*
Woodhull,C. 1947. Spawning
habits of the striped bass (Roccus
saxatilis) in California waters. Calif. F&G vol 33(2) 1947
Work Projects Administration 1940.
Inventory of the County Archives of California. vol 10. 1940.
The Northen California Historical records survey project. Division of
professional and service projects.