A Ray of Hope in Fish vs. Farms Dispute

Jacob Katz

There has long been opposing views on Fish or Farms. In a recent study there appears to be a way to finally satisfy  both. In this article written by Peter Fimirite and published on March 21, 2014 in the SF Gate, we learned:

“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.”

Researchers from UC Davis flooded rice paddies on a 1,700-acre farm in nearby Woodland (Yolo County) and converted the fields into wetland fish habitat, much like the vast marshlands that once covered the state’s inland valleys during the winter. The idea is to give young chinook salmon a spot where they can rest and feed as they migrate through the Yolo Bypass and into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. It is a strategy that Asian countries have long used between planting seasons.

Amazing Results of This Study

The three-year experiment has resulted in a dramatic increase in the size of migrating juvenile salmon every winter of the experiment, according to the researchers, the stateDepartment of Water Resources, and the fisheries conservation groups Cal Trout and Trout Unlimited.

Fish migrating from the fields toward the Sacramento River also had an astonishingly high survival rate, researchers said.

The study, known as the Nigiri Project, offers the most compelling evidence yet that it is possible to develop a water-delivery system in California that benefits both fish and farms, said Jacob Katz, a biologist and regional manager of Cal Trout.

“The idea that we can get the most benefit from every drop of water is what this project is all about,” Katz said. “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.”


This article was written by Peter Fimirite and published on March 21, 2014 in the SF Gate, click here to view it in its complete version.

Peter Fimrite is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Click here to follow Peter on Twitter.

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