Don Portz selected as manager of Reclamation’s San Joaquin River Restoration Program

By on June 11, 2018

Bureau of Reclamation veteran, Donald E. Portz, has been selected as manager of Reclamation’s San Joaquin River Restoration Program (SJRRP). Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific region made the announcement late last week.

“Dr. Portz has extensive experience with the San Joaquin River Restoration Program and many of the stakeholders and partners we work with to accomplish its goals,” said Deputy Regional Director Federico Barajas. “He is the right person to lead the Program at this critical time, as we implement the new framework and the upcoming construction actions expected to begin in 2019.”

Portz has been active with the SJRRP since 2010 and served as its lead fish biologist for the last three years. The SJRRP is a comprehensive, long-term effort to restore flows to the San Joaquin River from Friant Dam to the confluence of the Merced River and restore self-sustaining Chinook salmon populations in the river while reducing or avoiding adverse water supply impacts from those flows. The first water releases from Friant Dam in support of the SJRRP, called Interim Flows, began in October 2009. Restoration Flows began in January 2014.

Prior to his position as the SJRRP’s lead fish biologist, Portz first served as a fisheries biologist for the Reclamation’s Technical Service Center in Denver where he worked to address fisheries issues throughout the Western United States with a focus on California’s Central Valley. In 2010 be began collaborating with stakeholders and performing fisheries studies for the SJRRP. He has contributed significantly to fisheries research and survival of Chinook salmon at the Tracy Fish Collection Facility. He has also been instrumental in the effort to reintroduce spring-run Chinook salmon in the San Joaquin River, where they had been absent for over 60 years.

Portz earned a bachelor’s in biology from the State University of New York at Albany and a master’s in aquatic biology/fish ecology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He holds a doctorate in fish ecophysiology from the University of California, Davis.