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$80-million For Tuolumne River Fish Habitat Restoration

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Tuolumne County, CA — Calling the action historic, Central Valley and San Francisco water agencies have launched a joint effort to restore the salmon habitat along the Tuolumne River.

The Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts, along with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, will collectively invest $80 million over the coming years toward a holistic habitat restoration program along the lower Tuolumne River to improve the health and long-term recovery of the fishery and the local communities it serves.

The agencies recently hired the organization River Partners to design a series of restoration projects along the lower Tuolumne River and its floodplain from Don Pedro Reservoir downstream to the San Joaquin River that will improve conditions for salmon and other native aquatic species.

By 2030, the project partners aim to develop 77 acres of suitable salmon rearing and floodplain habitat and add approximately 100,000 tons of gravel in specific river reaches for optimal salmon spawning and rearing.

TID General Manager, Michelle Reimers, says, “We’re making significant investments and partnering with renowned experts to put years of discussions, scientific-based planning, and river studies, into action and accelerate momentum in implementing our unwavering commitment to a successful habitat restoration program.”

Dennis Herrera, General Manager of SFPUC, adds, “We’re proud to collaborate with River Partners, the irrigation districts, and others on the Tuolumne River to restore habitat and make improvements that will benefit salmon and other native species. We’ve always been willing to do our part to further protect natural habitats, including in times of drought. We and the districts have committed to self-fund millions of dollars in habitat improvement projects, as well as ensure more water for the Tuolumne, even in dry years.”

Since its founding in 1998, the organization River Partners has restored nearly 20,000 riverside acres in over 20 watersheds. Most of the projects have been in the Central Valley.