2016 HAS BEEN A BANNER YEAR ON AUBURN RAVINE (COMPLETED!)
Ron Ott told us Pleasant Grove Canal entrained up to 90% of smolt and other juveniles returning to the Pacific Ocean to mature. This year with the help of Brad Arnold at South Sutter Water District, Placer County’s Placer Legacy and Family Water Alliance, a Double Cone Self Cleaning Fish Screen has been installed in Auburn Ravine to keep all the fishes from dying in ag fields allowing them to continue on their perilous journey to the Sacramento River, SF Bay and finally reach the Pacific. This is an achievement that took four long years trying to get power through wetlands to power the fish screens to keep them from clogging.
Robert Hane, Coordinator on North Ravine Restoration, has been working with Damion Ciotti of the Fish and Wildlife Service to restore the four mile long main tributary of Auburn Ravine. Damion has provided funding and expertise and oversee SARSAS’ restoration work. CCC and Sierra Native Alliance have provided manpower to remove invasive plants and debris accumulated in the ravine since the Gold Rush. Robert is currently working with the Taylor family of the Mt. Vernon Winery on detailed restoration viewable from Mt. Vernon Road.
But the real breakthrough occurred last Tuesday, May 17 at NID Offices in Grass Valley. The Engineering Committee made up of NID Board Chairperson Nancy Webber and Scott Miller recommended to the NID BOD to remove Hemphill Dam and select Options 4 or 5, both including a type of Infiltration Gallery in which water is taken from the bottom of Auburn Ravine and directed through pipelines into Hemphill Canal. This technique eliminates the need for a diversion dam so the Hemphill Dam, an ancient and difficult barrier for fish to negotiate, will be removed. This Committee recommendation will be voted on by the NID BOD on June 6, 2016, the next scheduled meeting.
Fish Passage on Lincoln Gaging Station completed in 2012 took four years so we have a start on the long awaited Hemphill Dam Fish Passage Project.
Bob Johnson, new Coordinator of the SARSAS Citizen Science Program is revamping our ravine testing procedures and added youth to our team. He is very busy working to update our data and post in on national data base www.inaturalist.org. Our CS people do weekly measurements on Auburn Ravine from October 15 to April 15 while flashboard dams are down and the anadromous fish are running and spawning.
New SARSAS Website Master Jerry Plummer not only keeps the website current, but he has found a way to minimize costs by almost 900% a month. Jerry is one of our best additions to the SARSAS team of volunteers. All in SARSAS are volunteers with no one being paid. All donation go toward our mission.
NOAA and CDFW and Placer County District Attorney’s Office have been working for many months with NID in private talks.
Major high level individuals from state agencies attended this meeting. Marc Commandatore, Fish Passage Improvement Supervisor from Department of water Resources, spoke persuasively in support of the dam removal and installation of fish passage at Hemphill Dam. Colin Purdy, Environmental Scientist, also spoke for removal as did Jennifer Byous, Placer County Senior Planner with Placer Legacy, several SARSAS members and members of the newly formed Friends of Auburn Ravine, a group that splintered from SARSAS to deal with the entire ecology of Auburn Ravine.
So 2016 has been a banner year for salmon and steel head in Auburn Ravine.