Restoration of the San Joaquin flows provides an opportunity to restore significant numbers of wild salmon to the river, especially with the habitat restoration promised under the San Joaquin Settlement Act. Increased flows also represent an opportunity to improve the spatial distribution for both the fall-run and threatened spring-run salmon. Some improvements in flows have been achieved by releases from Friant Dam under the settlement act but much more is needed.
In 2018 the State Water Resources Control Board is expected to announce new flow requirements for the three big tributaries of the San Joaquin; the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers. This should provide a small boost for salmon by increasing turbidity, speeding transit time to the Delta and bay for baby salmon and overall reducing predation. It should also provide more flow to help get them past the deadly Delta diversion pumps.