Program to release pulse flow for salmon

San Joaquin River Restoration Program to release pulse flow for salmon

Starting this evening, the San Joaquin River Restoration Program (Program) will release a scheduled pulse flow on the San Joaquin River. Friant Dam releases will increase to 1150 cubic-feet-per-second (cfs) for one day, then decrease to 850 cfs from April 28 to May 5. Then, from May 6 to May 14 Friant Dam releases will decrease by 50 cfs per day to 450 cfs before leveling off to between 390 cfs – 465 cfs through September. This pulse of flows is intended to replicate a more natural river hydrology and optimize conditions for outmigrating juvenile and returning adult spring-run Chinook salmon.

The public is cautioned that San Joaquin River temperatures are very cold, and conditions may be challenging for those recreating in and around the river especially during higher pulse flows. These pulses may increase the river level by 1 to 1.5 feet and the current will be significantly stronger than what is typical. The public is encouraged to check Friant Dam releases before recreating near the San Joaquin River as conditions may change from day to day and can do so on-line at:

The pulse flows are part of the updated Restoration Flow schedule approved by the Bureau of Reclamation for the 2024 water year. The 2024 Restoration Allocation provides a total 325,804 acre-feet for Restoration Flows under a Normal-Wet water year type. This water year is expected to produce runoff that is close to average —  a condition not experienced since 2010.

Following the pulses in early May, releases from Friant Dam will slowly decline until stabilizing in late May and throughout the summer. Restoration Flows increase again in autumn into winter coinciding with salmon reproduction, incubation, and juvenile fry emergence. Two more smaller pulses of water are tentatively scheduled to be released from Friant Dam in autumn.

The Restoration Allocation will be updated once more in May, and in response the Restoration Administrator may adjust flows or add additional features to the planned hydrograph.

The Restoration Flow schedule has been set to the following:


Date Friant Dam Releases Flows Rate at Gravelly Ford
April 1 – April 25 570 cfs 380 cfs
April 26 – May 5 Pulse — increasing quickly to 1150 cfs holding at that level for 1 day, then decreasing to 850 cfs and holding that level through May 5 Rising to 650 cfs and maintaining that flow for approximately 10 days
May 6 – May 14 850 cfs decreasing 50 cfs per day to
450 cfs
650 cfs gradually falling to
185 cfs
May 15 – September 30 390 – 465 cfs as required to meet the flow target at Gravelly Ford 185 – 195 cfs
November 1 – December 31 400 – 480 cfs as required to meet the flow target at Gravelly Ford (except higher during pulses) 235 cfs
(except two pulses reaching 475 cfs, one pulse in November and one pulse in December)
January 1 – February 28, 2025 Approximately 400 cfs 255 cfs

For Information about Restoration Flows, please visit

For the Restoration Administrator recommendations, please visit

For additional information about the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, please visit or contact Josh Newcom, Public Affairs Specialist, at 916-978-5508 or