Since 1998, FISHBIO personnel have managed the Tuolumne River Research and Monitoring Program for the Turlock Irrigation District, the Modesto Irrigation District, and the City and County of San Francisco. The program’s suite of ongoing monitoring activities tracks the abundance, distribution, migration characteristics, and habitat use of salmon and steelhead trout. Rotary screw trap monitoring helps estimate abundance and migration characteristics of juvenile salmonids and other fishes, and evaluate reach survival relative to environmental conditions. Complementary monitoring with a fish counting weir equipped with a Vaki Riverwatcher infrared system documents upstream migration and population abundance of adult salmonids and other fishes.
Other regular program activities include snorkel and seining surveys to document fish abundance and habitat use, redd surveys to document salmon spawning, habitat surveys, and water quality monitoring. FISHBIO has also conducted FERC relicensing studies on telemetry and diet to assess fish survival and predation. The success of these projects has depended on our team members establishing trusted relationships with landowners to access private property, and working in close coordination with various state, federal, and private agencies to expeditiously obtain numerous research permits for salmon and steelhead.