Interagency committee to study fish passage over Shasta, Folsom, New Melones

It turns out, there actually is an interagency committee formed to study getting salmon over first Shasta Dam, then Folsom and New Melones Dams. We need to figure out how the public, us, can support this committee.

Please read on!

The Shasta Dam Fish Passage Evaluation (SDFPE) is an effort to evaluate the feasibility of reintroducing Chinook salmon and steelhead to tributaries above Shasta Lake. A Fish Passage Pilot ImplementationPlan is being developed with representatives from U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), California Department of Water Resources (DWR), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), California State Water Board (Water Board), and the University of California Davis.

The SDFPE is part of Reclamation’s implementation of the June 4, 2009, Biological Opinion (BO) on the Long-Term Operation of the Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP) by NMFS. The NMFS BO concluded that, as proposed, CVP and SWP operations were likely to jeopardize the continued existence of four federally-listed anadromous fish species: Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, California Central Valley steelhead, and the Southern distinct population segment of the North American green sturgeon. The BO set forth a Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) that allows continued operation of the CVP and SWP in compliance with the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The NMFS RPA includes a Fish Passage Program (Action V) to evaluate the reintroduction of winter-run and spring-run Chinook salmon and steelhead. Action V of the RPA applies to three dams operated by Reclamation: Shasta, Folsom, and New Melones. Action V specifies a Fish Passage Pilot Program for Shasta and Folsom and an evaluation of the potential for a pilot program in New Melones. The nearterm goal for Action V, as stated in the RPA, is to increase the geographic distribution and abundance of the listed fish. The long-term goal is to increase abundance, productivity, and spatial distribution, and to improve the life history, health, and genetic diversity of the target species. Initial activities by the steering committee worked towards implementing pilog fish passage programs at at Shasta and Folsom dams. Due to the interagency resource coordination needs, complexity of the project, and similar technological aspects of the pilot evaluations between watersheds, the agencies decided to focus the initial pilot evaluations on Shasta Dam. Lessons learned from pilot evaluations at Shasta will be applied to evaluating passage at Folsom and New Melones.

Please see the formal report below:


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