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Salon Series: The Nigiri Project: A Win-Win-Win for Fish, Water and People

August 18, 2022 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

THE NIGIRI CONCEPT: Making room for wild salmon on working farm fields
Nigiri is a form of sushi with a slice of fish atop a compact wedge of rice.
This month’s Salon will explore the “Nigiri Project”, a collaborative effort between farmers and researchers to help restore Sacramento Valley salmon populations by reintroducing young salmon to intentionally flooded winter-flooded rice fields. Managed as “surrogate wetlands” these fields mimic the floodplain marshes where young salmon would have reared prior to their natural floodplain habitat having been largely eliminated by the development of the Central Valley. Spearheaded by California Trout (Katz) and Cal Marsh and Farm Ventures (Brennan), this innovative public/private partnership is demonstrating the multiple-benefits of integrating working ecological knowledge of nature and natural process into management of working agricultural landscapes on the largest connected floodplain of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the 60,000-acre Yolo Bypass. Come hear from Jacob Katz and John Brennan about this unique project taking place in our own backyard!
Jacob was born with gills. Fascinated with what happened below the water line he grew up fishing every creek, puddle, river and pond he could find. Much to the chagrin his parents, Jacob misspent his youth chasing fish and ignored his formal education. After years of guiding in the watersheds of remote Alaska where he was inspired by the fish and wildlife abundance produced by ecology functioning river ecosystems, he was eventually hooked by school, taking a PhD in ecology at the UCD Center for Watershed Sciences. He is now lead Scientist at the conservation non-profit California Trout, where his work focuses integrating 21st century scientific understanding of ecologic science into the management and operation of California water systems. Jacobs’s work focuses on developing ways to get greater fish and wildlife benefit from working landscapes and finding win-win solutions for people and the environment to ensure that California will always be home to wild salmon.
John Brennan is an ag conservationist, farm manager, and land broker. Through his years working in the Valley, John came to recognize that the long-term future of rice farming and salmonid preservation may inherently rely on one another. He is a partner in Robbins Rice Company (RRC), a large, diversified farming operation. The RRC partnership also owns Tule Basin Farms and Knaggs Ranch LLC—two integrated rice and conservation projects in the Sacramento Valley. John sits on the Boards of the Northern California Water Association, Sacramento River Area River Forum, Sutter Bypass Butte Slough Irrigation District, Sutter Bypass Butte Slough Water Users Association, Northern California Water Association, and the Yolo Basin Foundation.


YoloArts, The Barn Gallery, 512 Gibson Rd. Woodland, CA


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