California Passage Assessment Database (PAD)

About the PAD

An important first step in recovering anadromous fish populations is determining how many stream barriers exist and where they are located. This information allows us to analyze fish passage barriers in relation to each other and in the context of the watershed where they are found. The California Passage Assessment Database (PAD) project was initiated as a statewide map-based inventory of known and potential barriers to anadromous fish in California. The PAD was developed in 2002 with guidance from the Forum, particularly the Forum’s Science & Data Committee which continues to guide the development and maintenance of the PAD.

The PAD is an ongoing project maintained through a cooperative interagency agreement that compiles fish passage data from over 100 data sources, allows past and future fish passage assessments to be standardized and stored in one place, and enables the analysis of cumulative effects of barriers in the context of overall watershed health. Read more about the PAD project here.

PAD Plan Implementation

In 2021, the Forum’s Science & Data Committee contributed to the review and updating of the PAD Methodology & Data Standards (June 2021) and together with the PAD Manager launched a major effort to review and update records in the PAD – an important tool used by restoration practitioners, decision-makers, funders, and fish passage professionals across the state to improve fish passage in California. The effectiveness of the PAD is dependent on how accurately its data depicts fish passage barriers in California (including information on their location, status, and other attributes). Representatives from the PAD and the Forum’s member organizations are working collaboratively to improve this information for the benefit of partners across the state.

This comprehensive effort, also referred to as the “PAD Plan”, is being implemented from south to north according to California Department Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) regions and is focused on non-Caltrans locations within priority (core and candidate) watersheds identified in NOAA Recovery Plans. This effort is complementary to a Caltrans effort to update and assess all of their crossings, providing much-needed science and data to the PAD. A key component of the PAD Plan in each CDFW region is the verification of barrier records by local experts.

If you are interested in contributing to the PAD Plan in other parts of the state, please contact Anne Elston (PAD Manager) or Neal Scheraga (PAD Data Management Specialist).