Our Commitment to Science

Investing more than $2 million annually in science and research.

Contributing to California’s knowledge bank on marine and freshwater environments and best practices in water supply management.

Paving the way for new and innovative solutions that will protect fish and secure our state’s water supply.

The Challenge
The Challenge

For decades, California has relied on ineffective water management strategies to protect fish species. As certain fish populations in the Delta have declined, regulators have turned the water supply knob on and off — despite having little to no evidence the techniques are having any effect. These regulations substantially reduce the opportunity to capture water for people and farms, adding to the pinch during recurring drought periods.

The Opportunity
The Opportunity

Using new research methods and technology, our member water agencies are studying the state’s fragile Delta environments and native fish and wildlife species, including the endangered Delta smelt. This new information can help us to understand the specific needs and timing for fish, so both the environment and the water supply can be protected.

Interagency Ecological Program Delta Smelt Research

SWC is funding a $380,000 research effort to study the biological makeup of water in the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta and better understand the Delta Smelt. The program falls under California’s Interagency Ecological Program, and includes collaborative and scientifically sound monitoring, research, modeling, and synthesis efforts for various aspects of the aquatic ecosystem.

Press Release

Longfin Smelt Studies

SWC members are working with state agencies, academic institutions and water scientists to determine the factors affecting the abundance of threatened longfin smelt in the Sacramento Bay Delta. The research aims to determine influences on longfin smelt populations and identify definitive measures the state can take to help with longfin smelt’s recovery in the Delta.

Video: Collaborative Longfin Smelt Research

Video: Longfin Smelt Symposium

Habitat Restoration Project

SWC is working with state and federal agencies to restore approximately 8,000 acres of tidal wetland habitat in the San Francisco Bay Delta and the Suisun Marsh, benefitting fish and other native wetland species.

Chinook Salmon Migration Study

A recent study conducted by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and partners across academia and government shed new insight into the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon’s migration patterns and the conservation measures necessary to ensure their continued survival. While habitat restoration around the species has typically been focused on the Sacramento River—the Chinook’s primary home—the research highlights the potential for new conservation opportunities, particularly in the river’s tributaries.

Press Release

We Want Your Input

The State Water Contractors are engaging in scientific research to advance our knowledge of California ecosystems. Do you have an idea for us?

The State Water Contractors' General Manager Jennifer Pierre is committed to making scientific research a priority and welcomes your input. 

Email Jennifer today at