Our work focuses on integrated watershed science to support the recovery of salmon that are of conservation and harvest importance in California’s Central Valley. Chinook salmon in California are in decline due to landscape-scale habitat loss, modified flows, and shifting climate regimes. We use a life cycle framework that integrates field, laboratory, and modeling to track salmon migration, abundance, habitat use, growth, predation risk, and survival. These efforts allow us to evaluate how temperature, flow, pathogen exposure and disease, food web alterations, harvest, hatcheries, and habitat restoration influence these dynamics. We use a variety of techniques—including acoustic telemetry, predation event recorders, environmental DNA (eDNA) and other molecular methods, isotopes and growth measurements in archival fish tissues (otoliths, eye lenses), and physical/biological modeling—to explore life history and population responses to historic and contemporary environmental drivers. Our work provides critical information used by fisheries and water resource managers, and the public, on how to support resilient salmon populations for future generations.