Stewardship and Collaboration
The Lower American River is one of the Sacramento region’s greatest treasures. Generations of Sacramento-area residents have grown up on the river and along the parkway, enjoying its rich ecosystem of plants and wildlife. But the river doesn’t just provide for us; it also needs our active stewardship.
In 2000, 40 agencies and businesses came together to sign the landmark Water Forum Agreement, a visionary long-term plan created to balance two coequal objectives:
Provide a reliable and safe water supply for the region’s economic health and planned development through to the year 2030; and
Preserve the fishery, wildlife, recreational, and aesthetic values of the Lower American River.
The Water Forum Agreement was one of the first of its kind—a voluntary agreement and North Star that has guided farsighted water management solutions that have served to protect the river, foster regional vitality, and provide benefits that extend beyond the Sacramento region.
The Regional Water Authority partners with the Water Forum to support strategies and programs to protect our region’s water supply and environment.
The Water Forum’s work has included:
Modified Flow Management Standard (MFMS) — a flow standard, refined over the past two decades, to protect, restore, and maintain suffcient temperatures for salmon and steelhead while improving the reliability of water supplies for people. The MFMS uses the best available science to set minimum river flows and storage targets for Folsom Reservoir. This sustainable management framework balances the natural flow and temperature patterns with water supply operations.
Habitat Enhancement Projects — Each year, the Water Forum partners with federal, state and local agencies to enhance habitat for salmon and steelhead in the Lower American River. The Water Forum and partners have invested more than $7 million in the past decade to create protected places for salmon and steelhead to reproduce and rear their young. This includes enhancing over 30 acres of spawning beds and 1.2 miles of side channels, which are prime rearing zones.
Cutting-Edge Science — The Water Forum’s approach is grounded in cutting-edge science. Over the past 20 years, the Water Forum has made significant contributions to the science of anadromous fish and other species that live in the Lower American River.
Now, Water Forum members have embarked on a new journey to review and revise the historic Water Forum Agreement—a process called Water Forum 2.0. The new agreement will guide the region’s environmental stewardship for the next 30 years.