Sacramento's Watershed

Sacramento’s Watershed

Our rivers depend on a healthy watershed


Our rivers depend on a healthy watershed. Just as no human being exists as an island apart from other humans, no river exists in isolation from its tributaries and related ecosystems.

That’s the fundamental truth underlying a landmark effort to bring together stakeholders from throughout the immense Sacramento River watershed to develop workable means of improving water quality region-wide.

The Watershed Approach to River Protection

Working with Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Regional San led the way by obtaining $8.4 million to fund an extensive Sacramento River coordinated monitoring and public education effort. This precedent-setting program is a partner to a statewide Watershed Management Initiative being directed by the California Water Resources Control Board.

About the Sacramento River Watershed

The Sacramento River watershed encompasses more than 27,000 square miles, roughly 17 percent of the land area of California. The river itself, more than 400 miles long, stretches from snow-capped Mount Shasta through the fertile Sacramento Valley to the San Francisco Bay. Its major tributaries include the Pit, Feather, Yuba and American rivers. The watershed map provides a clear view of the watershed.

Modern influences on the Sacramento watershed include large-scale farming and mining operations, major water supply and flood control systems, a deep-water shipping channel and several large urban centers. Californians depend on this critical watershed for agriculture, timber harvesting, hydroelectric power generation, fishing and recreation, potable water and many other diverse and competing needs.

Diverse Interests Join to Find Workable Water Solutions

The Sacramento River Watershed Program brings together dozens of groups and thousands of people concerned about the health of the Sacramento River and its watershed. The program provides a network for building a basin-wide context to improve watershed health. What makes the program different is its interest-based approach to watershed management. The Watershed Program is bringing together public and private stakeholders, including representatives of agricultural, environmental, industrial and municipal interests who, in the past, have sometimes found themselves in conflict. The watershed approach encourages these interest groups to come together in search of workable approaches to watershed management. Two important components of the Watershed Program are water quality monitoring and an intensive public education effort.

Need More Information?

Terrie Mitchell
(916) 876-6092

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