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NFC: California Fishes

News Release

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey

Release                 Contact:
November 1, 2000        Jason May
                           Larry R. Brown                                            Dale Alan Cox

Address:                         Email:
U.S. Geological Survey          jasonmay at usgs_gov
Placer Hall                        lrbrown at usgs_gov
6000 J Street                  
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone:                                 Fax:
(916) 278-3079                (916) 278-3071
(916) 278-3098
(916) 997-4209Also available on the Internet at:

Native Fish Still Common in Natural Streams, Scarce in Canals

Native resident fish species, such as the Sacramento sucker and tule perch, are still commonly found in streams of the Sacramento River Basin in Northern California according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report.  Native fish species are least often found in waters impacted by agricultural drainage, where introduced species such as bass, sunfish, and catfish tend to dominate.  Native fish species are not as common in the San Joaquin River Basin to the south, where introduced species tend to dominate the streams.  The USGS report attributes the abundance of native resident fish species in the Sacramento River Basin at least partially to water management activities that favor the delivery of water through natural streams rather than diversions into canal systems.

"The conditions in the Sacramento River Basin may provide a useful comparison case for ongoing native fish species restoration efforts around the Nation," said Jason May, primary author of the report. "Relations between native fish species and their environment in the Sacramento Basin are especially relevant to the San Joaquin River Basin and other highly modified river basins in the western United States."

The report is based on a study of 22 stream sites in the Sacramento River Basin during 19961998 and is a part of the USGS' National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. Fish monitoring conducted as part of the NAWQA Program has provided valuable information to gauge the ecological health of streams in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys and to help assess ongoing restoration efforts within California's Central Valley.

"The protection of native resident fish communities in the Central Valley is important in maintaining California's biodiversity. Also, monitoring these communities can provide important information regarding the effects of actions intended to restore or protect fish species such as Chinook salmon and steelhead on general stream health" May said.

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 00-247 Fish Community Structure in Relation to Environmental Variables Within the Sacramento River Basin and Implications for the Greater Central Valley, California, by Jason May and Larry Brown is available at URL, http://ca.water.usgs.gov/rep/ofr00247/.  Paper copies are available from the U.S. Geological Survey, Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section, Box 25286, MS 517, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Co 80225 The price of the paper copy is $5.00; microfiche is $5.00. When ordering, please mention the number and complete title of the report. Payment (check, money order, purchase order, Visa or MasterCard information, including expiration date and signature) in the exact amount, plus a $3.50 handling fee, must accompany order. Make all drafts payable to U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Interior. The report is available for inspection at the following offices and libraries:

U.S. Geological Survey Library                U.S. Geological Survey
Room 4A100, National Center                Placer Hall
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive                        6000 J Street
Reston, VA 20192                                Sacramento, CA 95819-6129

U.S. Geological Survey Library                U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road MS 955                5735 Kearny Villa Road, Suite O
Menlo Park, CA 94025                        San Diego, CA 92123

U.S. Geological Survey                        Natural Resources Library
Federal Center                                        Gifts and Exchange Section
Room C2202, Building 20                        18th and C Streets, NW
Lakewood, CO 80225                                Washington, DC 20240

As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial, scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to sound economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.


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