The San Joaquin River Conservancy (SJRC) was established by the State Legislature in 1992 with the passage of the San Joaquin River Conservancy Act (Public Resources Code §32500 et seq). The purpose of the SJRC is to create the San Joaquin River Parkway (Parkway) to preserve and enhance the river’s extraordinary biological diversity, protect its valued cultural and natural resources, and provide educational and recreational opportunities for local communities and visitors. The Parkway is defined by state law as approximately 5,900 acres on both sides of a twenty-two-mile long reach of the river between Friant Dam to the east and State Route 99 to the west, in Fresno and Madera Counties (Public Resources Code Section 32510). WCB administers projects for the SJRC, including project review and approval, grant execution and management, real estate transactions, and project monitoring.
The Parkway today includes public lands and improvements owned by the SJRC, City of Fresno, County of Fresno, State Lands Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Fresno County Office of Education, and those owned by the nonprofit San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust.
SJRC bond funds are appropriated and managed by the WCB through the San Joaquin River Conservancy Program (Program) grants. Land acquisition and improvement projects require approval by both the SJRC Board and WCB. The WCB, represented by its Executive Director, holds a position on the 15-member SJRC Board. The Board reviews and approves projects to ensure they are viable and consistent with the goals of the current SJRC Parkway Master Plan Update (2018), prior to consideration by the WCB.
Activities eligible for the Program include:
- Property acquisition for resources conservation and public access
- Habitat enhancement and restoration of public or private lands
- Public access improvements for recreational and educational purposes