U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
November 1, 2000
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,
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.
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