MEMBER SPOTLIGHT – December 2018

  • by Pam Tobin and Eric Larrabee
  • Dec 19, 2018
  • Newsletters

Attendees at the combined Region 2 and Region 4 event in Nov. toured the ACWA member-agency RD 108’s Wallace Weir Fish Rescue Facility. Masks were made available due to the smoke from the Camp Fire.

Scientists, Farmers and Water Agencies Collaborate on Fishery Health

Last month, ACWA Region 2 and Region 4 joined forces to provide the latest example of the exceptional value of ACWA Region events by educating attendees about the powerful logic behind functional river flows and habitat restoration in enhancing the Bay-Delta’s salmon fishery. ACWA Region events bring together members to learn, share ideas, and strategize for the future. All the subjects we explore together ultimately benefit our districts and their customers.

Hosted by the Yolo County Flood Control & Water Conservation District in Woodland, the event attracted about 40 members of the ACWA community to Woodland. 

Titled “A Lesson in Functional Flow,” the event focused on workable alternatives to taking a percentage of unimpaired flows approach to restoring fishery health. This dovetailed with the broader debate over the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan, which includes proposed changes to minimum flow standards for the Lower San Joaquin River by the State Water Resources Control Board.

This comparison between a smolt raised in the Sacramento river, and a smolt reared in flooded ricefields, demonstrates how agricultural land can be used to duplicate historical floodplains and enhance salmon health. Courtesy of Dr. Jacob Katz of California Trout

Focusing on the bigger picture, the region event demonstrated how collaboration and science are delivering results. A morning panel moderated by Western Canal Water District Assistant General Manager Anjanette Shadley included Yuba Water Agency General Manager Curt Aikens, Water Forum Executive Director Tom Gohring and Northern California Water Association Legislative Affairs Director Adam Robin.

Gohring described how the Water Forum pioneered the concept of voluntary agreements, which offer a collaborative alternative to the state’s proposed flow regulations. The Water Forum Agreement includes Sacramento-area water districts, businesses, cities, counties and nonprofit groups such as environmental organizations. The Agreement, forged in 2000, employs seven elements to attain coequal objectives on the lower American River that preserve its fishery and meet the region’s water supply needs. The elements range from flow standards and habitat management to groundwater management and prescribed actions for dry years. Functional, or targeted flows, have proved valuable in successfully regulating water temperature through timed releases from Folsom Dam, Gohring said.

NCWA’s Robin delivered a presentation that illustrated how reactivating floodplains can work to restore the health of the Delta’s salmon runs. Experiments have shown that flooding rice fields and turning them into nurseries for salmon smolt can result in larger, healthier and more durable fish, greatly improving their chances for survival once they reach the Sacramento River and other Delta tributaries. On the human side, it requires collaboration across a wide spectrum of interests, including growers, water suppliers and state agencies, but can succeed as it already has through restoration work on the Sacramento River watershed’s Butte Creek.

“Functional flows allow us to think beyond the existing channels and to use all the opportunities that exist,” Robin said. “There’s a growing body of evidence that this is the way forward. … The current regulatory discussion will lead to a dead end and does not benefit the environment or water suppliers.”

Yuba Water’s Aikens outlined the Lower Yuba River Accord as another example of collaboration, one that celebrated its 10th year in existence earlier this year. The Accord struck an agreement between stakeholders such as local, state and federal agencies, in addition to nonprofits and environmental groups. 

Aikens said working toward a successful Accord required putting “all the water on the table” with signatories twice a month for six years to hammer out an agreement that struck a balance between enough water for fish and for water supply reliability. The Accord has since supported a healthy salmon and steelhead fishery. 

Following the presentation, attendees visited the Wallace Weir Fish Rescue Facility operated by ACWA member Reclamation District 108. The weir prevents adult salmon from swimming into a drainage ditch and also allows better control of farm drainage releases to avoid attracting salmon. Tour speakers included CalTrout Senior Scientist Jacob Katz, Department of Water Resources Lead Scientist Ted Sommer and UC Davis Center for Watershed Science Research Ecologist Carson Jeffres. The scientists outlined the success of field work dubbed Operation FATFISH, which you can learn more about at 

The Region 2 and Region 4 event concluded a year of ACWA Region events that featured programs and tours hosted by all 10 ACWA regions. These events are just one of many ways our membership can interact between regions, share innovation, and learn more about their counterparts in other areas of the state. Our thanks go out to the Region 2 and Region 4 staff who made the Nov. 15 event both educational and enjoyable. To learn more about upcoming ACWA region events and registration information, visit

Print PDF Version

Suggested Resources

15 RESOURCES prev next
Overview Presentations: Water Conservation/Water Use Efficiency Laws of 2018 (AB 1668/SB 606) and Implementation Challenges

State Overview by Peter Brostrom, Department of Water Resources (May 2019) Implementations Challenges by David Bolland, ACWA (May 2019) A […]

May 2019 Federal Regulatory Issues Chart

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

COMMENT LETTER: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Proposed Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States”

Agency: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Subject: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. […]

California H2O: Flowing for the Future

ACWA and J Comm, Inc. have collaborated to create a 10-part video series to educate Californians about critical water issues. […]

Energy and Water Resources Policy Principles

In January 2019, ACWA released policy principles on “Energy and Water Resources” in California. The updated principles will help guide […]

ACWA’s 2019 Spring Legal Briefing and CLE Workshop Materials

The following presentations and materials for ACWA’s 2019 Legal Briefing and CLE Workshop on May. 7 from 9 a.m. to […]

ACWA Suggested Guidelines for 2019 Triennial Reporting of Public Health Goal Exceedance in Drinking Water

Agency: Public Water Systems and State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water Subject: Suggested Guidelines for Preparation of Required […]

Executive Director Dave Eggerton Congressional Testimony on Western Water Infrastructure

Agency: House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subject: State of Western Water Infrastructure in Innovation Testimony excerpt:  It is critical […]

Coalition Letter Supporting NPDES Permit Legislation

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

March 2019 Federal Regulatory Issues Chart

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comment Letter: Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program Third Preliminary Draft Regulations

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Safe Drinking Water Trust Toolkit

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comment Letter – OEHHA Draft Report on Human Right to Water

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Comment Letter – Options for Implementation of a Statewide Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Program

Agency: California State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Options for Implementation of a Statewide Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Program Letter excerpt:  […]

2019 Legislative Outreach Toolkit

To assist  members in communicating and engaging with their legislative representatives, ACWA has published a 2019 Legislative Outreach Toolkit. Toolkit […]

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
Interior and States Sign Drought Agreements to Protect Colorado River

BOULDER CITY, NEV. – The Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation and representatives from all seven Colorado River Basin […]

New Permit Fosters Sustainable Water Production at Desalination Plant

San Diego regional water quality regulators today issued a permit for the installation of new, technologically advanced and environmentally sensitive […]

New Partnership Nurtures Young Scientists to Care for the American River

Elana, a first grader at Elder Creek Elementary School in Sacramento, dipped the litmus paper into the river as her […]

New Episodes of “California H2O: Flowing for the Future” Available for Use

Three new videos that highlight the innovation and commitment of member agencies are now available for members to use in […]

ACWA Region Election Process Underway for 2020-’21 Term

ACWA’s region election process is underway to determine the boards of each of the 10 regions, including the chair, vice […]

Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees Take Action on Priority Water Bills

With a May 17 deadline for fiscal committees to meet and report to the floor bills introduced in their house, […]

Upper District Announces Winners of the 2019 “Water is Life” Student Art Contest

MONROVIA – Today the Board of Directors for the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (Upper District) honored 20 […]

Senate Proposes New Funding Alternative for Safe Drinking Water Solutions

Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 2 today rejected Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget trailer bill language that proposes a water tax, instead […]

Board Approves Plan to Better Map Customers’ Irrigable Landscape as Part of Rate Study

The Palmdale Water District (PWD) Board of Directors voted unanimously Monday to hire an aerial mapping company to determine the […]

Water Authority Invites Gov. Newsom to Tour Facilities, Praises Approach to Water Security

Agency offers support: San Diego is proof ‘It can be done’ The San Diego County Water Authority today praised Gov. […]

EMWD Completes Shift to Smart Metering Technology

PERRIS — Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) has completed the installation of smart meters at all residential properties within its […]

CalEPA and The Climate Registry Launch Water-Energy Nexus Registry

SACRAMENTO – The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and The Climate Registry recently launched a Water-Energy Nexus Registry for organizations […]

Safe Drinking Water Trust Moves to Senate Appropriations Suspense File

The Senate Appropriations Committee today moved SB 669 (Caballero), the Safe Drinking Water Trust, to its Suspense Calendar. The bill, […]

ACWA Awards Five Undergraduate Scholarships for 2019-’20 Academic Year

ACWA  has awarded $22,000 in 2019-’20 academic year scholarships to five undergraduate students enrolled at California public universities who are […]

Santa Margarita Water District Selected for 2019 Clair A. Hill Agency Award for Excellence

ACWA presented the prestigious 2019 Clair A. Hill Water Agency Award for Excellence to the Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) […]