Smartsville, Calif. December 8, 2016 – A habitat restoration project proposed for the Yuba River could improve habitat for salmon and steelhead trout. The Yuba River Canyon Salmon Habitat Restoration Project, located where Deer Creek flows into the lower Yuba, would create almost 10 acres of new salmon spawning habitat.
“By removing unnatural angular rock from gravel bars and replenishing nearby spawning gravels, we can increase spawning habitat by over 60% in that part of the river,” said Dr. Rocko Brown of Environmental Science Associates (ESA), a consulting firm working to design and manage the project.
This stretch of the Yuba River, just below Englebright Dam, is known as a tough place for spawning Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, which are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. For years, the dam has prevented good spawning gravels from moving downstream, and the riverbed mostly consists of large boulders and bedrock.
The restoration project is being funded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through its Anadromous Fish Restoration Program (AFRP). Other AFRP programs include the Hallwood Floodplain and Side Channel Restoration Project, located further downstream on the Yuba near Marysville.
“Salmon and steelhead swim all the way up to Englebright Dam looking for places to spawn,” said USFWS biologist Beth Campbell. “This project will make sure that there are good spawning gravels for them when they get there.”
The project team, which also includes Cramer Fish Sciences and the South Yuba River Citizens League, will host an informational public meeting about the project for residents and regional stakeholders. The meeting will be held at the Smartsville Community Room (8285 Smartsville Rd.), from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, on December 13th.
Topics covered during the public meeting will include the project’s goals and objectives, the need for habitat improvements, and different design alternatives and constraints. Public questions and comments will be welcomed.
“We’d like to engage with the local community to gather different inputs and perspectives,” said Dr. Brown. “The participation of the public in Yuba River salmon restoration is an important part of the effort.”
What: Yuba River Canyon Salmon Habitat Restoration Project – Public Meeting
When: Tuesday, December 13th from 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Where: Smartsville Community Room (8285 Smartsville Rd.)