By Gary Bradford, Chairman, Yuba Water Agency
It was a great moment on the Yuba River yesterday when Yuba Water Agency joined Governor Newsom and state and federal fish and wildlife agencies to advance an ambitious restoration effort that will reopen habitat to multiple native fish species and promote the return of spring-run Chinook salmon to their native habitat in the North Yuba River for the first time in more than 100 years.
This restoration effort will include a new fishway–a channel resembling a natural river that salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and lamprey can follow to get around the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Daguerre Point Dam to reach more than 10 miles of healthy spawning habitat, as well as a water diversion to supply irrigation water south of the lower Yuba River that will protect fish passing the intake. It also includes initiation of a comprehensive reintroduction program to support recovery efforts of spring-run Chinook salmon with a goal of returning them to their original habitat in the North Yuba River above New Bullards Bar Reservoir as soon as 2025.
The parties agreed to future coordination related to ongoing federal license proceedings for Yuba Water’s existing hydropower facilities and to support the agency’s Lower Yuba River Accord instream flow proposal. That will provide more reliable and consistent river flows, increasing the chances the species will again spawn and rear in the habitat, while also ensuring water security for our agricultural industry–the heartbeat of Yuba County.
This new framework builds on the success of our past partnerships, including the Lower Yuba River Accord and the North Yuba Forest Partnership. These partnerships show that when we work together and think creatively, we really can advance multi-benefit water management and our missions of water supply reliability, flood risk reduction and zero-carbon hydroelectric generation, while also supporting the needs of salmon and other native fish species.
I could not be more proud to be part of an organization that is so collaborative and actively works to find creative solutions that can be a “win-win” for all involved. That’s what we have with this project.
For more information, please see:
- Yuba Water Agency announcement: Yuba Water partners with state and federal agencies on ambitious restoration effort to benefit Yuba River native fish species, safeguard water supply.
- The joint press release: Agreement reopens Yuba River to salmon and sturgeon, launching ambitious river restoration from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries and Yuba Water Agency
- Governor Newsom Announces Agreement to Reopen Yuba River to Salmon and Launch River Restoration
- The full video of the announcement on the Yuba River.