One of the largest river restoration efforts in the United States is now under way in the Central Valley of California. The San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP) was triggered by a 2006 Settlement, following over 18 years of litigation, between numerous environmental interest groups, water users, and the Federal government. Since the 1940s, Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River has provided water to approximately 1 million acres of agricultural lands, but also let to the extirpation of salmon runs. The Settlement has two primary goals: establish naturally producing and self-sustaining salmon in a 150-mile reach of the river, and reduce or avoid adverse water supply effects to the water users. The Settlement specifies flow requirements, and numerous actions to provide adequate channel capacity, establish fish habitat, introduce salmon, recover water supplies, and address adverse effects to third parties. Limited flows were initiated in October 2009 to support experimentation and data collection, while the implementing agencies continue to address long-term issues regarding environmental effects, flood protection, water recovery, development of channel capacity and fish habitat, and reintroduction of salmon. This paper describes some of the major issues that are being addressed to implement the restoration program, including program structure, project planning and permitting, protection of private lands, coordination of restoration actions with ongoing water delivery and flood management systems, financing challenges, and public participation and education.

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