By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Drone gives birds-eye view of Melones
Placeholder Image

Think the wet weather may bring relief eventually to the drought-ravaged Stanislaus River basin?
Guess again.
Proposed state rules that would significantly kick up the amount of water committed to fish on a permanent would mean for farmers in South San Joaquin Irrigation District and Oakdale Irrigation District as well as the cities of Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy that the drought would never end.
Save the Stan — an education outreach of SSJID and OID —points out the amount of water that the state wants for fish essentially would keep New Melones Reservoir how it has been during the past year even if there is a normal year for water and snow.
A three-minute long video that includes footage from a drone mounted camera that captured images of New Melones that was at 266,349 acre feet — a fraction of its capacity of 2.4 million acre feet — can be found at New Melones is the state’s fourth largest reservoir and the most devastated in terms of remaining water levels among California’s 10 largest reservoirs.
The video notes there are better alternatives that are more effective and use less water to expand fish population.
It points to the joint undertaking of SSJID-OID at Honolulu Bar six miles downstream from Knights Ferry for habitat restoration to accommodate salmon spawning and for young fry to live. The floodplain restoration includes native vegetation as well that protect the young from predators.
Fishbo has been working with SSJID-OID for more than 11 years to study the Stanislaus River and its fish as well as to undertake restoration efforts. They operate a weir near Riverbank that uses infrared technology to get an exact count of fish.
Fisho estimates the salmon population is at 25 percent of the historic average of 5,000. The number of salmon that return each year to spawn in the Stanislaus has dropped from the tens of thousands to the thousands. That’s primarily because 95 percent of the salmon are now being eaten by non-native predators such as bass as they try to cross the Delta.
And as far as the current wet November based on the last four years and potential for an El Nino winter getting us out of the woods don’t bet the farm.
In order for New Melones without even larger water flows for fish that the state is seeking to look as it does in the video a year from now, the Stanislaus River watershed would need a 130 percent of normal year of snow and rain.