Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fish Ladder on the Auburn Ravine at the Lincoln Gauging Station is Completed so Salmon and Steelhead for the First Time in Years Have Access to Spawn

December 7, 2011
Progress in Returning Salmon and Steelhead to Auburn Ravine
A fish screen has been installed on the Scheiber Ranch paid for by Rancher Albert Scheiber. ISI designed, built and installed the fish screen. The Schreiber Ranch was crossed by the new Highway 65 Bypass over the Auburn Ravine. The new screen is located immediately downstream of the new bridge. Albert Schreiber conducted a tour for several SARSAS members last week. The fish screen is a self-cleaning single cone electric powered cleaner. The screen keeps fish in the Auburn Ravine and allows the rancher to take water through the screen without the screen clogging with debris.
Any rancher/farmer living on the Auburn Ravine is encouraged to contain SARSAS (530 888 0281 or Family Water Alliance ( 530 844 2310 or to inquire about securing funding to install a fish screen on his canal or pump.
NID is currently installing a fish ladder on the Lincoln Gauging Station which will allow salmon and steelhead to pass over the dam this year. The projected date of completion is the end of November this year. Many salmon died trying to get over this dam last year. Any fish that arrive before the fish ladder is finished will be trucked above the dam so all this year’s run has the potential to survive and reach spawning grounds below the Hemphill Dam which is another NID barrier.
NID is currently planning the retrofit of Hemphill Dam upstream of Lincoln near Turkey Creek Golf Course. When the Hemphill Dam is retrofitted for fish passage, salmon and steelhead with then be able to reach the NID Gold Hill Dam two miles upstream from Gold Hill Road. Plans for the retrofit of the Gold Hill Dam have not yet been addressed by NID.
Now all eight dams below Lincoln are in compliance with NOAA regulations, thanks to NOAA Special Agent Don Tanner (who just received the SARSAS King Salmon Award for his work on AR). That means all dams are taken down NLT Oct 15 and stay down until April 15 each year to allow salmonids to reach spawning grounds on the upper Auburn Ravine.
The LGS Fish Ladder currently being installed by NID will be complemented by the Fish Screen, spearheaded by Brad Arnold of South Sutter Water District, to be installed on the Pleasant Grove Canal to prevent fish returning to the Pacific Ocean from being entrained in agricultural fields. The Family Water Alliance secured funding for this fish screen, which has a target date on installation the beginning of 2012.
Ron Ott, SARSAS Fish Passage Specialist, says that the screen on the Pleasant Grove Canal has the potential to keep huge numbers of the anadromous fish returning to the Pacific Ocean in the Auburn Ravine avoiding entrainment.
Much is happening and with each addition, salmon and steelhead can swim and spawn farther up Auburn Ravine, getting ever closer to the SARSAS mission of returning salmon and steelhead to the entire thirty-three mile length of the Auburn Ravine.
The Auburn Ravine is not connected to the American River; it is a tributary of the Sacramento River. It starts in Auburn, flows through Ophir and Lincoln, through miles of fields into the Eastside Canal, the Natomas Cross Canal and enters the Sacramento River at Verona, just downstream of the mouth of the Feather River.