Program Components

Outreach & Education

The Sacramento Valley Fish Screen Porgram incorporates an education and outreach component.  Family Water Alliance’s (FWA) outreach and education program familiarizes stakeholders and others with the purpose and value of fish screens to the resource and to the landowner/farmer.  Outreach activities have included a web site, DVD, Fish screen brochure, and pamphlet, a quarterly newsletter, press releases and public demonstration days.

In the past, the Fish Forum, FWA’s quarterly newsletter on the fish screen program, was distributed throughout the Sacramento Valley and reached over 5,200 people in at least seven counties and beyond.  The Fish Forum had a broad reach and a diverse audience within the Sacramento Valley and along the Sacramento River Watershed.

In addition to the above, FWA incorporated into its outreach component special presentations to local groups, such as local schools and community groups.  An example of community involvement was the partnership between FWA and the local high school Future Business Leaders of America club. Together they produced an educational PowerPoint presentation on vertical fish screens.

These mediums recap the successful installation of screens at various locations and expose potential participants to the various screen technology.

Environmental Permitting

The Sacramento Valley Fish Screen Program secures all necessary permits, notifications, and other regulatory compliance or approvals, on behalf of the landowners. All screens projects implemented under the program meet or exceed the Fish Screening Criteria of the California Department of Fish and Game, as well as NMFS Fish Screening Criteria for Anadromous Salmonids.  The lead agency, if Federal funding is utilized, will submit applications for any necessary federal permits (NEPA/FESA/NHPA).

We have submitted and received the following permits for each fish screen project under this program:

1603Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement – CDF&G
-Clean Water Act 401 Water Quality Certification
-Reclamation Board Encroachment Permit
-ESA Compliance (Fish and Game Code 2081.1)

-ESA Compliance – USF&WS and NMFS Section 7 Consultation
-NEPA Compliance
-Nationwide Permit – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
-Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966

Currently, all the appropriate agencies involved with the above permits and agreements are aware of the Sacramento River Small Diversion Fish Screen Program efforts and a designated contact has been identified within each permitting agency.

FWA also obtains written permission from the property owners, not only to conduct the work, but also to allow state and federal agencies access, as appropriate, on all projects that are implemented on private property.


The fish screen systems installed under the Sacramento Valley Fish Screen Program are monitored during the year following installation.  Monitoring includes diver observations and videotaping of the fish screen operation, interviews with the diversion operator, documentation of any needed repairs or adjustments, and an evaluation of the hydraulic characteristics of the fish screen. Monitoring was intended to identify any problems with the operations and function of the screens.  Adjustments and/or repairs were made based on monitoring data and real world experience in the river or tributaries. Monitoring is completed by an independent 4-man OSHA certified dive team, as well as by the screen manufacturer.

The monitoring program includes:

Representatives from the Sacramento Valley Fish Screen Program, in conjunction with California Department of Fish and Game and/or National Marine Fisheries Service, conducts inspections on each completed project.

In the past, FWA coordinated with landowners and Big Valley Divers (formerly Advanced Diving Services) to schedule monthly monitoring dives during the irrigation season, straw decomposition, and during waterfowl seasons. Over the winter, few dives are conducted as many farmers terminate pumping during the winter months.  Monitoring dives include the following scope of work:

    • Underwater monitoring of the mechanical operation of various types of fish screens currently in operation in the Sacramento River and tributaries.
    • Assess the presence or absence of fish.
    • Maintenance checks and fill out corresponding report forms in conjunction with Family Water Alliance.
    • Removal of trash such as logs, tree branches, or vegetative material, as necessary.
    • Assist in the installation of screen modifications on selected screens, as required.
    • Video taping, as directed.
    • Report findings, as directed.
    • Compile data from dive into monitoring report forms.
    • Assist and make recommendations to increase the effectiveness of the project.