The larger river systems provide a unique kind of ecological situation. This is especially true of the large river systems that eventually flow into the Pacific Ocean. The largest river system in California is the combination of the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River, which ultimately flows into San Francisco Bay through the state's great Delta Region. Both the Sacramento and the San Joaquin include major tributaries that deliver water from the Sierras. Added to these rivers systems, are major rivers that flow from the Coastal Mountains into the Pacific. The most important of these are in the northern half of the state --- e.g., the Russian River, the Eel River, the Klamath River. From an ecological standpoint, rivers always provide a ready source of water for various fauna; and virtually all rivers provide a habitat for fish and waterfowl. Rivers flowing into the ocean, however, provide the unique opportunity for spawning ocean-going fish, such as salmon and stealhead. (Even halibut spawn in the outlets of such rivers.) Thus, the ocean connection provides a tremendously important expansion of the river-borne fish which, then, provide an expanded food source for other animals --- e.g., bears and humans.

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