Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

John Callaway


Historically, the rivers draining into California’s Central Valley Region (CCVR) were abundant with Chinook salmon, migrating in four distinct runs throughout every year, including the Sacramento River winter-run & the Central Valley spring-run. Since the advent of the Central Valley Project in the 1930’s, and its 20 federal high rim dams, these salmon runs have become increasingly threatened. Using a comparative analysis research methodology, this Project critically reviews the existing literature to address the research question: how can current practices of Fish Passage Designs (FPDs) and collection-and-transport operations (CTOs) be improved to mitigate impacts created by dams in CCVR? After a critical examination of the research literature, this Project offers two major recommendations to improve current FPD practices: moving away from the use of Denil fishways, in favor of other designs, and creating and maintain proper water velocity and pressure around and within FPDs. Two minor recommendations, namely requiring tag validation studies and engaging in longer term FPD monitoring, are also offered. The Project offers two major recommendations for improving current CTO implementations: emphasizing reducing induced stress during CTOs, and mitigating copepod Salmincola californiensis infection prevalence among salmon subjected to CTOs. These recommendations are meant to improve current salmon run restorative efforts in CCVR geared towards delisting the runs from their current endangered listings. These recommendations are also congruent with the two scientific principles that are the bedrock of current conservation management efforts, namely creating functioning, diverse, and interconnected habitats, and improving species viability dependent on spatial factors.