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Fish Passage Improvement Program (FPIP)

Yuba River



photo of river

Background

In 1998, the Ecosystem Restoration Program Plan of CALFED recommended a program to determine if returning steelhead trout and spring-run salmon to the Upper Yuba River upstream of Englebright Dam, in Nevada County, was feasible. The program was developed to evaluate restoration feasibility and also determine potential effects of such activities on other resources, and to investigate potential options to achieve fish passage and restoration of habitat upstream of the dam. Stakeholders, including lake property and local business owners, recreationists, local, state, and national environmental organization representatives, and agency staff, developed a collaborative process and agreed on key issues to be addressed in the studies, including existing and potential habitat conditions, public health and safety, economics, sediment control and water quality, hydropower resources, and regional water supply.

Currently, the Yuba River downstream of Englebright Dam provides habitat for fall and spring-run Chinook salmon and is home to one of the last self-sustaining runs of wild steelhead in the Central Valley. Efforts to protect lower Yuba River fisheries and local water supply reliability are underway through the Yuba River Accord and the Lower Yuba River Technical Working Group.

While biological data suggests that the Yuba River upstream of Englebright also historically supported anadromous fish species, this habitat was altered by past hydraulic mining practices and dam construction. The Upper Yuba River may present an opportunity to improve habitat for native species whose populations are in decline. If restoration and introduction is feasible, stretches of the Upper Yuba River could provide a significant amount of habitat to help salmon and steelhead populations.


Upper Yuba River Studies Program

In October 2003, an Interim Report titled Summary of Current Conditions in the Yuba River Watershed was released. This report was prepared by the Upper Yuba River Studies Program Study Team. As part of ongoing studies at Englebright Lake, in June 2006, a Draft Englebright Lake Creel Survey Technical Report (270 KB) was completed.

In November 2007, the Upper Yuba River Studies Program collaborative effort released the Upper Yuba River Watershed Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Assessment Report (7.6 MB). This document presents the results of data collection, field studies, and modeling conducted by the study team to characterize current habitat conditions in the upper Yuba River watershed and assess whether the available habitat upstream of Englebright Dam is capable of supporting Chinook salmon and steelhead.

In October of 2006, CH2M HILL entered into an agreement with the Department of Water Resources to download and maintain the high priority data loggers deployed under the Upper Yuba River Studies Program. The technical memorandum, UYRSP Water Temperature Monitoring (120 KB), describes maintenance and instream data collection activities. A summary of the temperature monitoring sites, their period of record and status of loggers as of October 2007 is included in the memorandum.

The CALFED Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) and the Fish Passage Improvement Program have been unable to fund continued work on the Upper Yuba River Studies Program since 2008. For more information on the CALFED ERP, visit the Department of Fish and Game website at http://www.delta.dfg.ca.gov/erp/ or the CALFED website at http://www.calwater.ca.gov/calfed/objectives/Ecosystem_Restoration.html.


On February 29, 2012, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service issued a biological opinion (PDF, 3 MB) in response to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' biological assessment of the operation and maintenance of Englebright and Daguerre Point dams and Englebright Reservoir. This document reviews the effects of the action on federally listed threatened Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, threatened California Central Valley steelhead, the threatened Southern distinct population segment of North American green sturgeon, and their designated habitat in accordance with section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.


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