Stimulus funds go toward fish ladder construction in California, Massachusetts

The federal government may spend $7.5 million in federal stimulus money to build a new Santa Paula Creek fish ladder for the steelhead trout population after the existing ladder failed to function properly. The first ladder, constructed less than a decade ago, cost about $1 million.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is now planning a new fish ladder project, highlighting how difficult and costly it will be to restore populations of the endangered steelhead trout, according to media reports from the area.

The fish ladder is located upstream from the confluence of the Santa Clara River.

The existing ladder functions properly during low flows, but larger amounts of water cause the pools the fish use to jump over the 17 steps to fill up with sediment and debris, making passage difficult, local media reports indicate.

Recently, PPL Montana selected engineering firm GEI Consultants to provide ecological engineering services for the construction of a $7 million full-height fish ladder at the Thompson Falls hydroelectric project in Thompson Falls, Montana. The fishway, designed to provide over-dam passage for bull trout, reportedly is the first of its kind in the United States. (HydroWorld12/16/09)

As the Santa Paula Creek fish ladder project gets under way, another stimulus-funded fish ladder project is being developed in Massachusetts.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that Easthampton, Mass., was awarded $750,000 in federal stimulus funds for the construction of a fish ladder at the Manhan River Dam.

The ladder will allow various fish species to swim upstream to spawn in traditional breeding grounds of the Manhan River that were cut off with the construction of the dam.

Salmon, shad and other species will navigate two turns while swimming upstream to reach their destination. There will also be passage for the fish to swim back downstream.

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