Finding common ground for farms and fish

Apr 18, 2014 John Stumbos University of California, Davis
Floodplain research project mimics natural systems for more efficient water use.

April 18, 2014
(from SF Gate)

Researchers from the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences and the California Trout conservation group study salmon growth in seasonally flooded rice fields in the Yolo Bypass near Woodland, Calif. Scientists are investigating whether the Central Valley's historical floodplains could be managed to help recover California's populations of Chinook salmon. (photo: Carson Jeffres/UC Davis)
Researchers from UC Davis flooded rice paddies on a 1,700-acre farm near Woodland to convert the fields into wetland fish habitat, much like the vast marshlands that once covered California’s inland valleys during the winter.

The three-year experiment has resulted in a dramatic increase in the size of migrating juvenile salmon every winter of the experiment, according to those working on the project. Migrating fish also had high survival rates.

“The idea that we can get the most benefit from every drop of water is what this project is all about,” said Jacob Katz, a UC Davis alumnus who is now a biologist and regional manager for the conservation organization CalTrout. “We are trying to create a system that mimics the natural system and allows for more efficient use of water all the way around. That synthesis is the future of California.”

The floodplain project was the first involving farmers, environmentalists, scientists, and state water resources officials working together to improve water resources and conservation. Eventually, fish-feeding grounds could be used throughout the 59,000 acres of agricultural land in the Yolo Bypass and Sacramento River delta systems.

(Read the full story by Peter Fimrite, published March 21, 2014 in SF Gate.)

Media contacts:

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, contact:

Student News

Design It, Build It

Aug 21, 2015 Truscott donation allows landscape architecture students to dig in.

Student News - More Student News…
Research News

UC Davis Receives Unique, $1.5 Million Gift from Aggie Couple

Jul 07, 2016 Michael and Joelle Hurlston have pledged $1.5 million to endow a first-of-its-kind chair position.

Research News - More Research News…
Outreach News

Summer Internships

Jul 28, 2015 CA&ES students and Salinas Valley employers find common ground.

Outreach News - More Outreach News…
News archive
Advanced Search
Web Editors

Content in this section is managed by the Communications Team & Caren Weintraub. If you have any suggestions or need something changed, please contact her at