- Author: Maddison Easley
A collaborative effort involving the Pasternack Lab at UC Davis, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, Englebright Dam representatives, private contractors, and the UC Sierra Foothill Research & Extension Center has made significant headway in enhancing spawning habitat for anadromous fish on portions of the lower Yuba River.
Since 2007, more than 15,000 tons of triple washed gravel and cobble has been deposited (watch the time lapse video here) during periods of low flow in the stretch of river downstream from Englebright Dam, between the Narrows II and Narrows I powerhouses. During high flows a portion of this material is washed downstream.
Chinook salmon is the key species this project aims to impact. Ideal conditions for spawning include a flow of 1.5-2 feet per second (fps) and a depth of two feet. With the material deposition, expanded habitat is being created to encourage additional spawning. Even with a very limited volume of coarse aggregate added, over 100 salmon redds were documented between September of 2009 and February of 2010. This finding suggests that with additional deposition, a spring run for the salmon is definitely a possibility. Ultimately, having higher populations of fish will enhance the surrounding ecosystem and benefit all users of the lower Yuba River.
The summertime injections began this season again in late June and will continue until the end of August. Beginning in September, anadromous fish will be seen in the stretches of the lower Yuba to complete their life cycle.
Sources: UC Davis, Gregory Pasternack Lab
- Author: Ben Granholm
Nearly 60 individuals gathered at SFREC for the 6th Annual Lower Yuba River Accord Symposium on July 15th to dive into the history, management and future of the Lower Yuba River. Attendees listened to presentations and asked questions of those involved in the river's preservation.
Speaking on the goals of the River Management Team and the current Monitoring and Evaluation Program, Tom Johnson of the Yuba County Water Agency discussed efforts to develop optimum flow schedules, record temperature performance and ensure the smooth implementation of Yuba Accord operations.
Looking at the year-round temperatures of the Yuba River, Casey Campos and Duane Massa with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, talked of what these temperatures mean for the spawning and livelihood of fish inhabiting the river, particularly the habitats of the Chinook salmon. Campos explained that the Yuba River is among the coldest in the Central Valley.
Symposium coordinators, Gary Reedy of the South Yuba River Citizen League spoke on the need for habitat enhancement, giving a summary of previous actions, while Beth Campbell of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) discussed enhancement initiatives implemented by FWS.
The symposium concluded with lunch at the Yuba River Education Center, followed by a float down the beautiful Yuba River.
- Author: Maddison Easley
Indicative advancements have already been made with the documentation of healthy spawning occurring over the past several years. In the coming months, the Yuba - along with rivers statewide - will be shining as resolute salmon and trout make their way “home”. While the inborn instincts push the anadromous fish up the rivers, efforts on behalf of researchers and managers help enable the successful regeneration of these vulnerable species.