(KTXL) — California and federal officials announced Tuesday morning progress on a project that will eventually allow spring-run Chinook Salmon and other fish to swim farther up the Yuba River on their own.
“Salmon have been impacted by more than 150 years of infrastructure…these things helped California grow, but it impacted natural habitats,” said Wade Crowfoot, secretary of the Natural Resources Agency.
Crowfoot and other officials spoke alongside Daguerre Point Dam in Yuba County, a dam that was built in the early 1900s to limit damages to the environment from mining, and which has blocked salmon, green sturgeon and steelhead from moving freely toward the Sierra Nevada.
For decades, California has implemented projects that help move fish around dams and other structures, but when finished, the project at Yuba River will include a channel that allows the species to bypass Daguerre Point Dam on their own.
The project, which is still in the early phases, involves building a C-shaped channel around the dam that will have a low grade that allows the fish to swim upstream on their own and access “12 miles of prime habitat,” said Charlton Bonham, director of the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the state and federal government, as well as the Yuba Water Agency, has already committed funding for the project and that the project is part of the larger conversation about addressing climate change impacts.
“So often, it’s a conversation about greenhouse gases or tailpipe emissions, but there isn’t enough talk about giant sequoias, California condors, sturgeon or salmon…things that unite us all,” said Newsom.