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'Fat farm' for salmon gains success

For the second year, a Watershed Center-affiliated experiment in rearing salmon on a farmed Sacramento River floodplain has produced remarkable results.

Baby Chinook salmon grew about 30 percent faster than last year - an impressive average of 0.17 grams a day - in harvested rice fields that researchers flooded to mimic historical floodplains that served as salmon nurseries. Salmon that started at the same size and were released into the Sacramento River at the same time grew only about half as fast.

Journal puts feather in Lund's cap for 'playing chicken'

An environmental engineering journal will be presenting its 2013 Best Policy-Oriented Paper Award to Jay Lund, director of the Center, and one of his former students for their article comparing conflicts in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the game of Chicken.

Lund and Kaveh Madani, now an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, used game theory to analyze political strategies among competing stakeholders in the Delta's agricultural, recreational, environmental and water resources.

Mount sees 'a tunnel or two' for Delta fix

Jeffrey Mount, a recently retired professor of geology and founding director of the Center for Watershed Sciences, tells KQED radio that California will need to move southbound export water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to comply with current laws that put water needs and the environment on equal footing.

KQED Science Editor Craig Miller caught up with Mount aboard his 27-foot cruiser, “Tugnacious.” An edited version of their conversation aired March 1.

State water board official: 'Decision or doom for Delta?'

Felicia Marcus, a member of the State Water Resources Control Board, is scheduled to talk about the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta on Monday, March 4, 4:10 pm to 5:30 pm at 1227 Haring Hall. She plans to address the Delta's governance and the critical impending decisions affecting its future as a major ecosystem and heart of the state's water delivery system. The talk is the seventh in the Center's California water policy speaker series, which is open to the public.

Center's work informs state action on tainted drinking water

State water quality regulators cited the Center for Watershed Sciences’ research on nitrate-contaminated drinking water as a "foundation" for remedies they proposed in a Feb. 20 report to the Legislature.

The State Water Board’s recommendations incorporate several “promising actions” that Center researchers identified last year in a board-commissioned investigation of the contamination in California’s most productive agricultural regions.

Researches stock rice field with baby salmon

Salmon and rice may go nicely together on the dinner plate, but can they get along growing up? The Center's fish biologists want to know, because baby Chinook salmon once flourished in the same Sacramento Valley floodplains where mostly rice is grown today.

To find out, researchers on Feb. 19 released 50,000 juvenile salmon into a flooded 20-acre rice field north of Woodland. Learn and see more in today's Sacramento Bee

Moyle to forecast future of California fishes

Peter Moyle, one of the foremost experts on California’s freshwater fish, is scheduled to talk about the future of the species Monday, Feb.11, 4:10 pm to 5:30 pm, in 1227 Haring.

Moyle is a UC Davis professor of fish biology and an associate director of the university's Center for Watershed Sciences. He authored Inland Fishes of California, the definitive reference on the subject. His research has strongly influenced state and federal management of endangered fish.

Learn how water utilities see Delta's future

Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, is scheduled Monday, Feb. 4, to talk about California's challenges in managing water reliability and Delta ecosystem health "coequally," as mandated by the state Delta Reform Act of 2009.

The 4:10 pm to 5:30 pm event at 1227 Haring is the fourth in the Center's California Water Policy speakers series this winter.

Researchers to rear salmon in rice field

The Center for Watershed Sciences thanks the 14 water researchers who volunteered to muddy themselves Monday in the Yolo Bypass -- all in the interest of science. They were installing fine-mesh holding pens for baby salmon in a harvested rice field. The enclosures are part of an experiment to see whether floodplains reclaimed for agriculture can be effectively managed to help save Chinook salmon from extinction. Next month, the field will be flooded and stocked with thousands of tagged hatchery fingerlings.

Water wars veteran Phil Isenberg to speak

Phil Isenberg, chairman of the state's Delta Stewardship Council, is scheduled to talk about the future of the West Coast's largest estuary Monday, Jan. 28, 4:10 pm to 5:30 pm, in 1227 Haring Hall. A former Sacramento mayor and state Assemblyman, Isenberg has been influential is California water policy for decades.

The Legislature created the Stewardship Council in 2009 to achieve the "coequal goals" of providing a more reliable water supply for California and restoring the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.

Come learn about California's water challenges

Professor Jay R. Lund, Director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, is scheduled to talk about California's water challenges Monday, Jan. 14, 4:10 pm - 5:30 pm, in Room 176, Chemistry Building. His talk is the second in a speaker series on California water policy this winter quarter. The Center-sponsored talks are open to the public. A video of the previous talk by Senator Lois Wolk is available at

Center to host California water policy speaker series

The Center for Watershed Sciences is hosting a weekly series of public speakers on California water policy this winter, beginning Jan. 7.

The California Water Policy Seminar Series is on Mondays, 4:10 pm to 5:30 pm, at 1227 Haring (updated 1/14/2013).

The series is open to the public and available for credit. [Graduates: 1 unit as ECI 296 (CRN 50116); undergraduates: 1 unit as ECI 98 (CRN 49768)]. For an extended graduate seminar on water policy (1 unit ECI 298) contact Professor Lund at

David Rheinheimer honored

Who says peer reviewers go unrecognized? The American Society of Civil Engineers' Journal of Energy Engineering has named the Center's David Rheinheimer a "2012 Outstanding Reviewer," for the critical thinking and knowledge he brings to vetting articles submitted for publication. Rheinheimer, an environmental engineer, is currently studying the world's largest hydropower project -- Three Gorges Dam -- as a post-doctoral researcher at Wuhan University in China.

Center's Yolo Bypass Project Lauded

Two top California water managers have singled out the Center's Yolo Bypass project as "one of the nation's best examples" of multi-benefit flood management. In a commentary published Oct. 27 in The Sacramento Bee, Bill Edgar, president of the state's Central Valley Flood Protection Board, and Mark Cowin, director of the state Department of Water Resources, said:

Incoming Doctoral Student Lands Two Fellowships

Alison Whipple joins the Center this fall with two prestigious awards to fund her PhD studies in the Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Group.

Whipple was awarded a Herbert Kraft Fellowship for 2012-2013 and a two-year Integrative Graduate Education Research Traineeship. IGERT is the National Science Foundation's flagship interdisciplinary training program. The nine-month Kraft fellowship is open to California students entering sciences important to agriculture.