Jacob Katz, a Ph.D. candidate at UC Davis and primary investigator for the Nigiri Project, nets fish in the Yolo Bypass. He will speak Tuesday to members of the Fly Fishers of Davis. Courtesy photo

Local News

Fly Fishers will hear about salmon restoration work

By From page A11 | September 20, 2013

Can you grow salmon on agricultural fields in the Yolo Bypass? That’s what Jacob Katz is trying to do with the Nigiri Project, and he’ll describe it at the September meeting of the Fly Fishers of Davis.

The group will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the multipurpose room at Harper Junior High School, 4000 E. Covell Blvd.

Katz is director of CalTrout’s Salmon and Steelhead Initiative. He is a Ph.D. candidate at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences and a leader in developing innovative approaches to conservation of California’s native fish species. He is the primary investigator for the Nigiri Project.

Nigiri is a form of sushi with a slice of fish atop a compact wedge of rice. The Nigiri Project is the name of a collaborative effort between farmers and researchers to help restore salmon populations by reintroducing young salmon onto winter-flooded rice fields.

These “surrogate wetlands” mimic the floodplain rearing habitat used historically by young salmon, which has been largely eliminated by the development of the Central Valley.

Spearheaded by CalTrout and Cal Marsh and Farm, this public/private partnership is demonstrating the multiple benefits of integrating conservation practices into working agricultural landscapes on the largest connected floodplain of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the 60,000-acre Yolo Bypass.

In a pilot test (flooding 5 acres) in 2011, the project showed that rearing in off-channel habitat results in rapid growth for juvenile Chinook salmon; juvenile salmon on average tripled in weight during the six-week experiment.

The Fly Fishers of Davis normally meet to swap fish stories at 7:30 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month in the multipurpose room at Harper Junior High. The meetings are free and open to newcomers and guests.

Those who are interested in learning to fly fish should ask about the club’s introductory and intermediate fly fishing courses. The club is also working on a program for young fly fishers (under 16).

For more information, call Lowell Ashbaugh at 530-797-6722 or visit www.dcn.davis.ca.us/go/ffd.

Special to The Enterprise

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