The Nigiri Project

Scaling up a successful program

No Going Back

The Nigiri Project demonstrates that California’s floodplains can work for both fish AND farms. This knowledge can be used to shape water policy and infrastucture. The result: a more prosperous California for native fish and people.

Watch No Going Back and see how we’re putting that science into action and revolutionizing the way California’s rivers and floodplains are managed.

Long-term Goal

Scientifically demonstrate that productivity created by shallow inundation of floodplains is foundational to supporting self-sustaining populations of fish and wildlife in the Central Valley.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Conducted first successful experiment to measure food web density and fish growth across a transect of river habitats. Deployed floating cages in managed floodplain fields at Knaggs Ranch, Tule Canal, and Sacramento River. After three weeks, fish growth was 700% faster and bugs were 14,900% greater per cubic meter on the floodplain than in the river;
  • Partnered with farm and water groups to launch The Sacramento Valley Salmon Recovery Program which will leverage private/public partnerships to build floodplain habitat projects informed by the scientific results;
  • Hosted tours for the California Water Policy Conference, the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, state legislators, and students.

What We Will Achieve in 2016-17

  • Continue expansion of the program from the base at Knaggs Ranch to locations throughout the Central Valley;
  • Partner with US Department of Agriculture to create incentives for farmers to manage winter fields for fish habitat and aquatic food production;
  • Implement life history investigation with 1,000,000 floodplain-reared fish;
  • Publish peer-reviewed journal articles on floodplain inundation as the engine of productivity in Mediterranean river ecosystems;
  • Facilitate research of isotopic signatures as a viable “tag” of floodplain rearing by juvenile salmon.

Watch This Great Video!

Part of an episode of Angler West TV. Learn about the research being conducted at Knaggs Ranch in the Yolo Bypass near Davis, CA to use the areas rice fields as surrogate wetlands to produce more natural, supersize salmon and steelhead smolt.

Central California News

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California Trout, Inc.

California Trout, Inc.