Yuba Water Agency has contributed millions of dollars to fund scientific studies and restoration efforts to improve fish habitat.
The lower Yuba River is one of California’s signature salmon streams, and supports fall-run and spring-run Chinook salmon, and steelhead. Spring-run Chinook salmon and steelhead are listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, while fall-run Chinook salmon are a federal “species of concern”.
The lower Yuba River is special in California’s Central Valley because it has no hatcheries, and therefore provides habitat for self-sustaining wild Chinook salmon and steelhead.
Chinook salmon and steelhead are able to thrive in the lower Yuba River because Yuba Water Agency is able to provide dependably cool water temperatures from New Bullards Bar Dam. Prior to construction of the dam, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife found that spring-run Chinook salmon had become virtually extinct from the lower Yuba River. With the advent of cold water releases from New Bullards Bar Dam, spring-run Chinook salmon became re-established in the river and Yuba Water Agency continues to work with local, state and federal agencies, as well as environmental groups to protect and restore the Yuba River’s Chinook salmon and steelhead runs.
Yuba Water Agency’s major fisheries actions include:
-Managing the Project to provide up to an additional 170,000 acre-feet of instream flows
-Leading the River Management Team for habitat studies and restoration actions
-Funding for the Cordua and Browns Valley Irrigation District fish screens
-Constructing the $12.5 million Narrows II Bypass to ensure adequate fisheries flows in the event of a power outage
-Financing for the annual ‘salmon carcass’ study with the California Department of Fish and Game to track fish populations
-Contributing to Yuba County classroom education grants and activities
-Assisting the State of California and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in fish passage studies