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Fish Passage Improvement Program (FPIP)

Big Chico Creek

photo of creek


The Iron Canyon Fish Passage Project will improve fish passage for spring-run Chinook salmon and steelhead past barriers in Big Chico Creek, in Butte County. The project is located in Upper Bidwell Park on city of Chico property. In the past, the Department of Fish of Game trapped and hauled fish upstream past the barriers when flow conditions prevented passage.

Iron Canyon Fish Passage Project

The Iron Canyon Fish Passage Project is focusing on a fish ladder with 17 small concrete weirs built in the 1950s. Sections of the ladder are partially blown out or are worn to the point where rebar is exposed. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) funded DWR to conduct a preliminary engineering investigation (14.5 MB), which included preliminary design drawings, geologic and environmental documentation, and cost estimates for construction alternatives. This work was completed in 2002. The investigation included an assessment of the condition of the existing fish ladder, and development of alternatives that include repairing the existing ladder and constructing a new one. FPIP Northern District staff reviewed a technical geologic stability investigation funded by USFWS.

The Iron Canyon Fish Passage Project is in the Big Chico Creek Ecological Management Unit. The vision for the EMU is to increase runs of Chinook salmon and steelhead by providing unobstructed fish passage. The completion of this project will help Bay-Delta agencies meet Milestone 67.

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