Glossary

AF
Acre foot of water, or the amount of water it would take to cover 1 acre to a depth of 1 foot. An acre foot is approximately 326,000 gallons, enough to supply between one and two households for one year — equivalent to 1,233.5 cubic meters.

Algae
A chlorophyll containing plant ranging from one to many cells in size that lives in fresh or salt water.

Anadromous Fish
Fish that are born in freshwater, spend a significant portion of their life in the ocean, and return to natal streams as adults to spawn. Six species of anadromous fish exist in the Sacramento-San Joaquin basin: chinook salmon, steelhead, striped bass, white sturgeon, green sturgeon and American shad.

Aquatic Insect
Insect species that live in the water during larval and/or juvenile stages.

Aquifer
Any underground geological formation containing water.

Bedrock
Unbroken solid rock, overlain in most places by soil or rock fragments.

Benthic
Bottom-dwelling. The plant and animal life whose habitat is the bottom of a sea, lake or river.

CALFED
A joint state-federal process that seeks an end to California's water wars by forging a long-term solution that meets the needs of all Californians. CALFED explicitly calls for ecosystem restoration as a central component of that solution, meaning that government agencies and others are committed to a comprehensive effort to repair at least some pieces of the state's natural heritage. Under CALFED's adaptive management approach, short-term restoration and water management measures will be implemented during Stage 1 (the first seven years) while further research and investigation is conducted for longer-term solutions.

Central Valley Project (CVP)
Federally operated water management and conveyance system that provides water to agriculture, urban, and industrial users in California. The CVP controls about 20% of California's water supply, representing 7-8 million acre-feet. About 90% of this water goes to agriculture. Facilities include Shasta Dam and Reservoir, Folsom Dam and Reservoir, Friant Dam, The Delta-Mendota Canal, the Tracy Pumping Plant, the Contra Costa Canal, Red Bluff Diversion Dam, the San Luis Drain and New Melones Dam.

Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA)
Act of US Congress passed on October 30, 1992, which mandated environmental reforms in the management of the CVP.

CFS
Cubic feet per second, an amount of water flow measured in terms of a volume of water (one cubic foot) passing a point in one second. Roughly, a flow of one CFS fills a trash can in 4 seconds. A flow of 1 CFS is roughly equivalent to 2 Acre-Feet. Equivalent to 0.028317 cubic meters per second.

Channelized
The straightening and deepening of streams. Channelization reduces the ability of the stream to assimilate waste and disturbs fish breeding areas.

Clarity
The clearness of the water in the stream.

Conifers
A cone-bearing Evergreen tree or shrub (e.g., a pine tree).

Cover
Overhanging or instream structures (such as tree roots, undercut streambanks, or boulders) that offer protection from predators, shelter from strong currents and/or shading.

Current
The velocity (speed) of the flow (of water).

Diversion
A natural or man-made means by which water is redirected away from its channel to serve other purposes (e.g., agriculture).

Ecological Indicator
An attribute of an ecosystem whose presence or absence, quantity, level, pattern, etc., is used to measure the health or integrity of the ecosystem.

Ecological Restoration
Literal definition: return to original, pre-disturbance condition. The Bay Institute's policy-oriented, operational definition: facilitation of ecosystem recovery to a self-sustaining state by manipulation of the physical, biological, chemical, and even social or cultural elements of the system.

Ecosystem
A biological community together with the abiotic (non-living) parts of its environment.

Effluent
The wastewater from a municipal or industrial source that is discharged into the water.

Endangered Species Act (ESA)
Federal legislation passed in 1973 that provides protection for species that are at risk of becoming endangered or extinct and the habitats of those species.

Erosion
The wearing away of the land surface by wind or water.

EPA
Environmental Protection Agency.

Exotic Species (introduced species)
Plants and animals that originate elsewhere and migrate, or are transported, into a new area. This may result in upsetting natural ecology of the area; exotic species may adversely affect or dominate native species through competition for resources (i.e., food, habitat), and predator/prey relationships may also be upset.

Export
Water that is diverted from the Delta via the SWP and CVP pumps for use in the western San Joaquin Valley and southern California.

Filling
The process of depositing dirt and mud in marshy areas (wetlands) or in the water to create more land. Filling disturbs natural ecological cycles.

Fish Screen
Physical structure, which prevents entrainment in a water diversion or intake structure of a hydropower project.

Gradient
The slope or steepness of the stream.

Groundwater
The supply of freshwater under the earth's surface in an aquifer or soil.

Habitat
The physical, chemical, and biological context within which an organism or community lives.

Headwaters
Small creeks at the uppermost end of a stream system, often found in the mountains, that contribute to larger creeks and rivers.

Isolated Conveyance Facility (i.e., Peripheral Canal)
A canal or pipeline that transports water from the Sacramento River to the CVP and SWP conveyance canals in the San Joaquin Valley without using Delta waterways as a transfer path.

Levee
An embankment constructed adjacent to a river or stream to provide for flood control.

MAF
Million acre feet.

Mass Wasting
Downward movement of dry soil and rock caused by gravity (often called slides or avalanches).

Monitor
To measure a characteristic, such as streambank condition, dissolved oxygen or fish population, over a period of time using uniform methods to evaluate change.

Natural Fish Production
Fish produced to adulthood without direct human intervention in the spawning, rearing, or migration processes (as opposed to hatchery production).

Non-point Source Pollution
"Diffuse" pollution, generated from large areas with no particular point of pollutant origin, but rather from many individual places. Urban and agricultural areas generate non-point source pollutants.

Nutrient
Any substance, such as fertilizer, phosphorous, and nitrogen compounds, which enhances the growth of plants and animals.

Point Source Pollution
A discharge of water pollution to a stream or other body of water, via an identifiable pipe, vent or culvert.

Pool
An area of relatively deep slow water in a stream that offers shelter to fish.

Quality Control (QC)
The system of checks that are used to generate excellence, or quality, in a program (a monitoring program for example. QC asks if we are doing things right).

Quality Assurance (QA)
Quality Assurance is the larger system to see that QC is maintained. QA asks if we are doing the right things (i.e., are we monitoring the right things to detect changes in water quality).

Racanelli Decision
A 1986 ruling by the state Court of Appeals which held that the State Water Resources Control Board had improperly narrowed its water quality planning to the protection of water rights. The ruling, allowed to stand by the California Supreme Court, instructs the State Water Board to consider all beneficial uses of Delta waters, including instream uses, when establishing water quality standards.

Real-Time Monitoring
Continuous observation in multiple locations of biological conditions (e.g., location of fish populations). This information can be used to improve the environmental sensitivity of CVP and SWP operations.

Reach
A stream section with fairly homogeneous characteristics.

Redd
Shallow depression in the streambed gravel in which a female salmonid deposits her eggs.

Riffle
A shallow, gravely area of streambed with swift current. Used for spawning by salmonids and other fishes.

Riparian Area
The land adjacent to a stream or river that supports vegetation that serves various purposes (e.g., filtering of pollutants from run-off, habitat for terrestrial wildlife, habitat for aquatic species).

Riprap
A sustaining wall built of rocks.

Run
A stretch of fast smooth current, deeper than a riffle.

Runoff
The portion of rainfall, melted snow, or irrigation water that flows across ground surface and is eventually returned to streams. Runoff can pick up pollutants from the air or the land and carry them to streams, lakes and oceans.

Salmon
A common name for at least 6 species of fish, five of which have been observed in the Sacramento River: chinook, coho, sockeye, pink, and chum salmon. Chinook salmon are common in the Sacramento-San Joaquin system; the other four species are rare. The names of the four identified races of California chinook salmon are derived from time of year during which they migrate through the Golden Gate upstream to spawn: spring run, fall run, late-fall run and winter run.

Salmonid
Fish that are members of the family Salmonidae; includes salmon, trout, char and whitefish.

Sediment
Fine soil or mineral particles that settle to the bottom of the water or are suspended in the water.

State Water Project (SWP)
The state-operated counterpart to the CVP, the State Water Project controls about 11% of California's water supply. About half goes to agriculture; the other half goes to cities, primarily in the Santa Clara Valley and Southern California. Facilities include Oroville Dam and Lake Oroville, the California Aqueduct, the South Bay Aqueduct, the North Bay Aqueduct, Lake Perris and Castaic Lake.

Stormwater Runoff
Water that washes off the land after a rainstorm. In developed watersheds it flows off roofs and pavement into storm drains which may feed directly into the stream; often carries concentrated pollutants.

Substrate
The material that makes up the bottom layer of the stream, such as gravel, sand or bedrock.

Stream Corridor
A perennial or intermittent stream, it's lower and upper banks.

Stream Mouth
The beginning of a stream, where it empties into a lake, ocean or another stream.

Suspended Sediments
Fine material or soil particles that remain suspended by the current until deposited in areas of weaker current. They create turbidity and, when deposited, can smother fish eggs or alevins. Can be measured in a laboratory as "Total Suspected Solids" (TSS).

TAF
Thousand acre feet.

Topographic
The configuration of a surface area including its relief, or relative elevations, and the position of its natural and manmade features.

U.S.G.S .
U. S. Geological Survey.

Watershed
The total surface land area which drains water to an aquifer or river system.

Wetlands
Wetlands are lands where saturation with water is the dominate factor determining the nature of soil development. They also can be identified by unique plants which have adapted to oxygen-deficient (anaerobic) soils. Wetlands influence stream flows and water quality.

Zoning
To designate, by ordinances, areas of land reserved and regulated for specific uses, such as residential, industrial or open space.