The Yuba Salmon Partnership Initiative is a science-based collaboration between Yuba Water Agency, California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Marine Fisheries Service, American Rivers, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and Trout Unlimited.
These agencies and organizations are working to develop a program to reintroduce spring-run Chinook salmon, and potentially steelhead, to the North Yuba River upstream of New Bullards Bar Dam and enhance salmonid habitat in the lower Yuba River downstream of Englebright Dam.
Historically, the Yuba River has supported large salmon and steelhead runs that summer in the Sierra Nevada Mountains’ river pools before spawning in the fall. However, hydraulic mining during the Gold Rush took a heavy toll on habitat in the Yuba River. Population centers grew and miners washed massive amounts of gravel and silt downstream, resulting in the construction of dams to contain the debris from flooding downstream cities and towns. Facilities like the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Englebright Dam, constructed in 1941, completely blocked fish passage to habitat in upstream rivers and streams.
This initiative aims to return salmon to the best spawning habitat in upper Yuba River watershed – the North Yuba River upstream of New Bullards Bar Dam – using newly designed, state of the art collection and transportation facilities. The program would collect the juvenile salmon above New Bullards Bar Dam in the winter and spring and safely transport them downstream past the dams to resume their journey to the Pacific Ocean.
Yuba Water Agency has committed up to $100 million to the Yuba Salmon Partnership over the next 50 years, which would supplement additional local, state and federal funds for the program.
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