CalTrout On Helping Take Advantage Of Flooded Central Valley Farmland To Produce Food Sources For Fish

One of California Trout’s current projects is utilizing this winter’s heavy rainfall and how flooding farmland in the Central Valley can provide food sources for salmon and other fish species. See the video below.

As CalTrout puts it on its website:


Bring together farmers, conservationists, universities, and state and federal agencies to demonstrate innovative solutions for reintegrating fish food created in floodplain wetlands back to the river food web where fish can take advantage of it.

Here’s more from Fresno TV station KSEE/KGPE:

California Trout officials say the organization has implemented what’s called a “reverse auction model”, which allows it to partner with a willing ag producer for the purpose of growing fish food in the off-season while paying them for the use of their land during that time.

In this year’s inaugural auction, rice farmers were able to compete to be paid to manage their fields as wetland food factories during the winter months. The organization says that the same field will go back to growing food for people during the spring and summer seasons.  CalTrout conducted the auction through a blind bidding process and says the average cost of selected bids was around $50 per acre cycle. …

… CalTrout’s method works like this: The grower’s fields are shallowly inundated for a few weeks by the same canals used to irrigate the fields during summer to grow crops. Doing this, it says, creates the perfect wetland environment for a variety of bugs and plankton, i.e., fish food to grow by mimicking the natural floodplain habitat where salmon produce. The water and bugs are then drained back into the river, delivering the fish food to young salmon downstream in the relatively food-scarce river channel. California Trout says juvenile salmon that consume the food grow substantially faster, and this added growth dramatically enhances their chance of returning as large adult salmon after their journey to sea.