Friday, November 6, 2009

How SARSAS Will Return Salmon to the Auburn Ravine, Part 1


For purposes of this report the Auburn Ravine is divided into sections as follows:

1. Coppin Dam to Highway 65

2. Highway 65 east to Fowler Bridge

3. Fowler bridge to the Ophir tunnel

4. Ophir tunnel to the City of Auburn


A. There are 11 man made barriers between Coppin Dam and highway 65. Ten of the barriers are flashboard dams and one is a gaging station.
The ten flashboard dams were a problem as not all were being taken down thus preventing upstream migration. SARSAS, NOAA and the SSWD work together and all dams are removed on or before October 15th.
The Lincoln gaging station is the remaining barrier west of highway 65 that needs to be mitigated.

B. There are numerous irrigation ditches and pumps that will require fish screens. We know where most pumps are located and we know where all irrigation canals/ditches are located. We know most of the canals are part of the jurisdiction of South Sutter Water District. Further we know that SSWD has been cited by NOAA for non-compliance regarding screening.

C. We know that the Auburn Ravine between the Coppin Dam and highway 65 is ill suited for salmon and steelhead spawning. Further, we know that salmon and steelhead can navigate the distance from the Sacramento River to the City of Lincoln in less than a 24 hour period if they choose to do so. We also know there are numerous resting pools along this span of the Auburn Ravine. We know that gravel restoration projects along this stretch of the Auburn Ravine would be ill advised as water temperatures are somewhat higher, and continuing siltation is probable. We know there is ample water in the Auburn Ravine in this area to allow for upstream migration during those times salmon and steelhead may access the Auburn Ravine. In conclusion, we know the stretch of the river between Coppin Dam and highway 65 is a reliable conduit for the transportation of salmon, steelhead and their fry to utilize.

D. We know after flashboard dams are put in place sometime around April 15th of each year that these dams may provide some type of barrier for downstream migration. We know ample water overflows some of these dams and others will need some type of notch. We know the Coppin dam will need further study and recommendation in order to assure downstream migration of fishes.

E. We know this stretch of the river is mainly within levee banks and in some locations has cut banks that contribute to ongoing siltation issues. And finally, we know some stretches have little or no cover along the banks while other stretches have excellent shading and cover from predators.

F. We know that beaver are problematic along this section of the Ravine and in some cases may restrict upstream migration.

G. We know SARSAS efforts along this section of the Auburn Ravine will be limited to assuring that flashboard dams are placed and removed according to regulations. Further SARSAS efforts will be related to screening of ditches and pumps and continuing an ongoing collaborative relationship with the management of South Sutter Water District.

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