Pacific Gas and Electric assisting in salmon restoration efforts

MANTON, Calif., U.S. 11/10/11 (PennWell) — A collaborative effort to rejuvenate an endangered species’ population seems to be paying off, the Bureau of Reclamation announces.

The Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project — working in conjunction with Pacific Gas and Electric Company and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — has resulted in a substantial increase in the number of Chinook salmon in California’s North Fork Battle Creek. 

FWS has been monitoring levels of threatened Chinook salmon for many years, and this fall, more than four times the normal number of salmon spawned in a recently restored habitat upstream of where the Wildcat Diversion Dam once stood.

Over the past decade, only about 7 percent of the Chinook nests (called “redds”) were build upstream of the dam. This year, fish built 33 percent of the redds upstream of the former dam site. 

Construction work on this restoration project began in 2009, and in August 2010, the Wildcat Diversion Dam was removed, restoring about 15 miles of stream habitat. 

PG&E’s cooperation in the project has also been crucial because the power company has voluntarily adjusted its hydroelectric production at the Battle Creek Hydroelectric Project to better benefit the salmon.

Also on North Fork Battle Creek, fish screen and ladder construction is occurring upstream at PG&E’s North Battle Creek Feeder and Eagle Canyon Diversion Dams and is anticipated to be completed by 2013.

On South Fork Battle Creek, construction of an Inskip Powerhouse bypass and tailrace connector to Coleman Canal (to prevent mixing of water from the two river forks) has been proceeding and is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2012. The contract was awarded in July 2010.

The remainder of the restoration project includes the construction of a fish barrier weir on Baldwin Creek, a fish screen and ladder on Inskip Diversion Dam, and a tailrace connector from South Powerhouse to Inskip Canal, as well as the removal of the Lower Ripley Creek Feeder, Soap Creek Feeder, and South and Coleman Diversion Dams. PG&E owns all of the facilities.

This construction is expected to begin in 2013 and be completed in 2015.

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