FISHBIO personnel spent 13 years developing a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for steelhead and Chinook salmon in the Calaveras River. Such a plan describes how proposed actions, like water diversions for agricultural, industrial, and domestic use, will minimize or offset any incidental take of threatened or endangered species. The Calaveras River Habitat Conservation Plan, finalized in 2020, is a long-term agreement between the Stockton East Water District and with NOAA Fisheries ensures a commitment to conservation activities for fish as well as permitting security for water operations on the Calaveras River for a period of 50 years. The HCP describes the habitat types and environmental conditions that steelhead and Chinook require at each stage of their life cycle, the status of each species in the Calaveras River basin, and the actions that the water district will implement to protect and manage these species.
During the development of the HCP, FISHBIO personnel conducted fisheries research and monitoring on the Calaveras River starting in 2001 to better understand how water operations may affect at-risk salmonid populations and influence their life-history pathways. The Calaveras River HCP lays the groundwork for adaptive management to support future studies of the fish community below the dam. Beyond research and monitoring, the plan includes several management activities related to flow, fish passage, and water quality to further support fish conservation.