Image of "San Joaquin - Merced Revival"
Copyright ©2012 Linda Gass. Photograph by Don Tuttle
Title: San Joaquin Merced Revival
Dimensions: 45" w x 30" h
Detail: Click here for detail images

Artist Statement: San Joaquin Merced Revival is part of my latest series about confluences of bodies of water that no longer exist due to human impact. The artwork shows a birds-eye view of where the confluence of the San Joaquin and Merced rivers used to be, paired with Chinook salmon, a species endangered by the disappearing confluence. Chinook salmon once lived in the largest river in Central California, the San Joaquin. Before the river was dammed and heavily diverted for agriculture in the 1940s, the river supported spring and fall salmon runs that numbered over 300,000 fish. However, with the completion of the Friant Dam in 1942, diversion of water in the Friant-Kern Canal left little more than a trickle below the dam in most years, drying up the San Joaquin before it reaches its confluence with the Merced. As a result, by the 1950s, the count of Chinook salmon fell to zero and the spring and fall salmon runs became extinct. Although this may seem like a hopeless situation, there is an effort ;underway to restore the river and the Chinook salmon runs. In 1988, 13 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit and successfully proved that the Friant Dam's diversion of water from the San Joaquin violated the Endangered Species Act and California's public trust policies. Eventually a settlement was reached in 2006, requiring the river flow to be restored and salmon to be reintroduced. Restoration flows began January 1, 2014 and on February 26, 2015, 54,924 hatchery raised spring-run juvenile Chinook salmon were released into the river and are being monitored. Click here for the latest updates.

Click here to see my photo essay about this confluence.

Love maps? The Water Education Foundation has printed a beautiful map of the river with text and photos about the restoration efforts.

Materials and Techniques: Silk crepe de chine hand painted using Remezol dyes, soy wax and water soluble resists. Silk broadcloth backing and polyester batting; machine quilted with rayon and polyester embroidery thread.

Exhibition History: Mar 1 - 29, 2012 Delta Waters, LH Horton Jr Gallery, Stockton, CA

Jun - Sep 2012, Art+Life, Commonweal Gallery, Bolinas, CA.

Oct 2017 - Mar 2018, Waterlines, New Museum Los Gatos, Los Gatos, CA

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Copyright ©2000-2018 Linda Gass