Salmon Habitat Restoration Project Delivers Results Within a Week

  • by Will Holbert
  • Nov 27, 2019
  • Water News

Five ACWA member agencies recently celebrated the completion of a habitat restoration project on the Sacramento River that produced results within a week.

The Rio Vista Side Channel Habitat Project in Red Bluff converted a seasonal side channel into nearly one acre of new aquatic habitat that will flow throughout the year. This creates refuge for juvenile salmonids before they migrate out to sea by providing slower flows, sources of food and protective cover from predators. The project also included native riparian planting.

Within a week, a biologist snorkeling through the side channel observed endangered winter-run Chinook salmon juveniles using submerged vegetation for cover.

ACWA members Reclamation District 108, Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, Provident Irrigation District, Princeton-Codora-Glenn Irrigation District and Tehama Colusa Canal Authority donated employees for the four-week project as part of a larger partnership supporting the Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) – a federal program of the US Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The partnership also included Sutter Mutual Water Company, River Garden Farms and the Natomas Mutual Water Company.

The Rio Vista Side Channel is the fourth side channel project to be completed through the CVPIA’s Upper Sacramento River Anadromous Fish Habitat Restoration Program in as many years, and continues the work of improving spawning and rearing habitat for salmonids in the Sacramento River below Keswick Dam.

Other projects also include the re-injection of gravel onto the Sacramento River’s bed to create healthy salmon spawning grounds. The essential key to the projects’ success is collaboration, said William Vanderwaal, Deputy Manager of Reclamation District #108 and Dunnigan Water District Manager.

“The process demonstrates how effective collaboration can produce exciting results for the enhanced survival of salmon,” Vanderwaal said. “This is a real-life microcosm of what we could see on a much larger scale if we can put Voluntary Agreements to work on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta.”

The project was funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with partners including the California Department of Water Resources, Resource Conservation District of Tehama County, Sacramento River Forum, Geographical Information Center – Chico State University, Sacramento River Settlement Contractors, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

 

 

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