A Healthy Flow of Water

The term instream flow is used to identify a specific stream flow (typically measured in cubic feet per second, or cfs) at a specific location for a defined time, and typically following seasonal variations. Instream flows are usually defined as the stream flows needed to protect and preserve instream resources and values, such as fish, wildlife and recreation.

Case Study - Lower San Joaquin River

I think we can all agree that periods of no water flow in a major river does not meet the definition of an instream flow. That's been the case for some 60 miles of the San Joaquin River in California's Central Valley.

Most of the water in the San Joaquin valley is now shipped from the Sacramento River valley. Regular overflows from the San Joaquin River into adjoining wetlands and woody riparian areas stopped in 1944, when Friant Dam was completed, making the river no longer navigable and ending the salmon migrations up and down its reaches.

Read More About the San Joaquin Restoration