The Sacramento River Conservation Area Advisory Council (Council) was created in 1986 with the passage of State Senator Jim Nielsen’s legislation, S.B. 1086. The legislation called for the development of a management plan for the Sacramento River and its tributaries that would promote the protection, restoration and enhancement of both fisheries and riparian habitat while ensuring that other community needs are met, including agricultural production, public safety, public and private infrastructure, economic stability and public recreation. (Sacramento River Conservation Area Handbook, May 1998) The Sacramento River Conservation Area covers the reach of Sacramento River from just below Keswick Dam downstream to the confluence with the Feather River at Verona.

In 1989, the Advisory Council published the Upper Sacramento River Fisheries and Riparian Habitat Management Plan (Plan) to guide habitat restoration, protection and enhancement activities. Efforts to implement activities contained in the plan led to the development of the Sacramento River Conservation Area Handbook (Handbook). The Handbook contains a set of guiding principles and planning tools developed by the Advisory Council to “govern riparian habitat management along the river.” The principles are divided into six categories: ecosystem management, flood management, voluntary participation, local concerns, bank protection, and information and education.

The Plan has been guided by two entities created through the SB 1086 process: the Sacramento River Conservation Area Forum (SRCAF) and the Technical Advisory Council (TAC). Like the Advisory Council that preceded it, the SRCAF includes representatives from Butte, Colusa, Shasta, Sutter, Tehama, and Yolo counties, state and federal agencies, landowners, water users, environmental groups and other interested parties. The SRCAF continues to promote and coordinate restoration related activities along the Sacramento River, develop and implement site-specific and sub-reach plans for areas within the Conservation Area, review and track projects and monitor ecosystem restoration progress within the Sacramento River Conservation Area (SRCA), and work to build a broader support and understanding of the goals of the SB1086 Program. The SRCAF, although not regulatory, is responsible for determining whether habitat management is being conducted in accordance with the principles established in the Handbook. The TAC has similar representation to the SRCAF, and provides technical advice to the SRCAF on riparian habitat management.

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