Healthy river, healthy water supply

CP MA18 Healthy River Image

If you listen to the babble of the Mokelumne River, you’ll hear the songs of life. Birds, trees, wildlife, and fish sing in harmony with the ripples and wakes of fresh water. This river is the source of the East Bay’s drinking water and EBMUD is on a daily mission to keep its vibrant song alive and healthy.

A healthy river ecosystem means high-quality water

EBMUD works to protect the ecosystem of the Mokelumne River watershed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. By working with public and private landowners, the U.S. Forest Service, and fellow water agencies through the Upper Mokelumne River Watershed Authority, EBMUD helps to restore forests and meadows, ensure a balanced water supply and limit activities that can hurt the land, water or wildlife.

ChinookWhen the disastrous Butte Fire destroyed nearly all vegetation on a portion of the river watershed in 2015, we organized staff and volunteer efforts to re-seed and protect the raw ground. These efforts helped control erosion on public and private land that drains into the river. Soon, we’ll support the CalFauna Foundation to plant native sugar pines, ponderosa pines and sequoia seedlings in the area as well. We work arm-in-arm with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and others to guide reservoir and river operations to support a very successful salmon fishery in the lower Mokelumne River.

Success shows

Our collective success at implementing a whole suite of watershed management practices shows. Water quality up and down the river is good for humans, fish and wildlife. With CDFW, we operate a fish hatchery to enhance the natural production of Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. Populations of California tiger salamander, an endangered species, are expanding due to habitat enhancement and improvement projects on EBMUD watershed lands along the Mokelumne River.

See these partnerships in action. Visit the Mokelumne River Day Use Area or take a tour of the Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery, managed by EBMUD and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. For more info visit

This year, EBMUD and our river partners celebrated a great milestone—a record Chinook salmon return of 20,000 fish on the Mokelumne River—the highest return since record-keeping began in 1940. Thank you for supporting EBMUD partnerships in our mission to protect the land and water that give us life.