The Merced River Is The Southernmost Watercourse Of The California Central Valley

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METHODS Study sites The Merced River is the southernmost watercourse of the California Central Valley presently inhabited by Chinook salmon whose abundance has decreased by 75% since 1950 (Yoshiyama et al., 2000). From its headwaters located in Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada, the Merced River flows west to join the San Joaquín River (river km 190) and drains a watershed approximately 3,297 km2 in size. Meanwhile, the elevation declines from 3,048 m to about 18.3 m. Only the first 82 river km are reachable by anadromous fish with access terminating at Crocker-Huffman Dam. We estimated the percent contribution of terrestrial organic carbon sources for juvenile Chinook salmon across four longitudinally-positioned sites: Merced River…show more content…
Restoration planning identified the rehabilitation of the floodplain functions that foster recruitment of riparian vegetation and the quality of riparian habitat. Fall-run Chinook salmon is an important management species in the Merced River, and numerous state and federal resource programs include increasing its abundance in their goals. The vision has been to enhance channel, floodplain and riparian ecosystem processes and critical habitats for juvenile and adult salmonids, in coordination with local communities and stakeholders, to promote the recovery of healthy and diverse Chinook salmon and steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) populations in the Merced River, while helping to meet the abundance goals of the Anadromous Fish Restoration Program. Robinson’s restoration reach is approximately 2.4 km long and is located 16 km downstream of Crocker-Huffman Dam. The project included a very complex suite of actions to restore Robinson’s reach which was degraded as a result of mining activities and recent flood impacts. Channel reconfiguration and the creation of a large floodplain with native vegetation increased the river channel’s ability to transport and deposit sediments under the river’s current flow regime; hence improving channel dynamics and salmon passage concerns. These actions within the channel produced improvements for salmon spawning and rearing through the creation of
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