FRESNO -- Federal officials again began additional water releases from Friant Dam this week in the effort to reconnect the San Joaquin River with the Pacific Ocean.
The first releases were in October, but officials stopped the restoration flow in late November to allow scheduled maintenance at the Mendota Dam, 60 miles downstream of Friant Dam.
For decades, sections of the San Joaquin have been dried up downstream of Friant Dam, which was built in the 1940s for irrigation and flood control.
Under a 2006 agreement among farmers, environmentalists and federal officials, the river and long-dead salmon runs will be revived over the next eight years.
The restoration program calls for 350 cubic feet per second from the dam each day this month. That daily flow amounts to 700 acre-feet of water per day, or a year's supply of water for 700 average San Joaquin Valley families.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, owner and operator of Friant Dam, is monitoring the river channel and surrounding land for possible seepage or damage.
The first flows in October and November went about 30 miles beyond Mendota Dam on the valley's west side. January storms have added water to the river, but not nearly enough to fill the dry sections.