Stanislaus River - An Overview


Feb 22, 2014 (4 years and 2 months ago)


Stanislaus River

An overview…

History and Background

One of largest tributaries to San Joaquin River

Development of Basin began during the Gold

River is about 96 miles long, three forks

Watershed is 1,075 square miles

Source elevation is 1,230 feet

Average annual outflow about one million
acre feet


Upper reaches largely in Tuolumne County and in
Stanislaus National Forest

Three forks merge just upstream of New

Reservoir; Stanislaus River is boundary between
Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties

Enters Stanislaus County at Knights Ferry and
crosses Stanislaus County

At Riverbank becomes boundary between San
Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties to San Joaquin

Education and Awareness

Lots of publicity during long review of New

Dam and Reservoir

Major public education and awareness event
started three years ago
annual salmon
festival in Knights Ferry in November

increased from 1,500 first year to 3,000 last

Public Access and Recreation

Lots of recreation activities including fishing and
whitewater rafting

Lots of parks and public access along the River
Federal provided by Corps, State and local

Calaveras State Park, Caswell Memorial State Park
Knights Ferry Recreation Area, Horseshoe Park,
Orange Blossom Park, Valley Oak Campground,
Oakdale Recreation Area, Jacob Meyers park,
McHenry Recreation Area, Two Mile Bar,
Goodwin Dam

Policy and Protection

Federal ESA laws protect Chinook and Riparian
Brush Rabbit and habitat

Calaveras County General Plan Goals:

Goal V
2 : Protect streams, rivers and lakes from
excessive sedimentation due to development

3 : Protect and preserve riparian habitat along
streams and rivers in the County

Stanislaus County requires 200 foot setback from
riparian corridor

Policy and Protection

San Joaquin County General Plan has policies
to protect water quality and temperature,
protect riparian habitat, protect aquifer
recharge, protect riparian habitat and oak
trees, provide access to waterways and seek
input from community resource groups

Ease of Fish Passage

Watershed developed starting during Gold

Many dams built for irrigation and
hydroelectric power generation


last large dam built in California

Fish access blocked about halfway up River at
Goodwin Dam
built in 1913

Spawning Gravel

Spawning Gravel is a critical issue for
spawning success in the Stanislaus River

AFRP has funded several projects to enhance
spawning gravel sites in the Stanislaus

Coarse gravel moves downstream, dams
preclude gravel moving downstream

Projects to mine gravel from adjacent
floodplain areas and

flood plain for
annual inundation

Riparian Habitat

Projects have been funded and implemented to
restore and enhance riparian habitat for Riparian
Brush Rabbit populations on the Lower Stanislaus

Take a “flight” on Google earth

most of
Stanislaus River in San Joaquin County is within a
band of riparian vegetation, even adjacent to
urban areas.

Caswell State Park provides a very large area of
riparian vegetation along the Stanislaus River.

Water Quality and Temperature

Water temperature is critical to fish health

High water temperatures adversely affect fish
health and spawning

AFRP funded multi
year study of Stanislaus River
water temperatures

Temperature monitored for compliance with
NMFS requirements

DFG monitors at Knights Ferry

Dissolved Oxygen estimated via flow surrogates

Silt and Sediment Control

Silt and sediment balance has been disrupted
in the riparian system

Balance of sediment and gravel is necessary
for spawning success

Too much fine sediment disrupts spawning
success, but sediment is not critical factor

lack of spawning gravel is…

What is missing?

Please ask questions, or identify areas where
additional information is needed about
issues/projects on the Stanislaus

Contact me at: