The fix to allow salmon to get to their spawning grounds, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, appears to be relatively simple and we hope it is accomplished in time for the next salmon run.
On a recent day after a rainstorm, several dozen fall-run Chinook salmon trying to migrate upstream in Auburn Ravine found their progress frustrated. Efforts to complete their long spawning run from the Pacific Ocean were halted by a small dam on the outskirts of Lincoln.
Known as Hemphill Dam, for decades it has blocked fish from accessing more than 5 miles of potential spawning habitat in Auburn Ravine, a creek that runs from the Sacramento River into the Sierra Nevada foothills beyond Auburn. Only in very high flows can salmon manage to jump over the dam and carry on.
“There’s so many salmon pooling up at the bottom of the dam, and there’s so little water in there, that the salmon are just in there swimming back and forth,” said Jack Sanchez, president of Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead, a nonprofit group working to restore the creek. “It’s very frustrating because the salmon are here and we can’t get them over the dam.”…
The Hemphill Dam, about 100 feet across and 6 feet high, was built in the 1920s and diverts water from the ravine into Hemphill Canal, which delivers irrigation water to rural properties in the Lincoln area.
The dam allows water to flow downstream into Auburn Ravine in a narrow band – only about a half-inch deep – across its entire width. This is too narrow for fish movement. Last year, the district spent $20,000 to install new stainless steel panels to shunt more water toward one side to create a deeper channel of water, in hopes this would create an easier path for fish.
This year, the district planned to spend an additional $50,000 to build a fish passage channel out of boulders downstream of the dam. Sanchez said the district waited too long to seek a required streambed-alteration permit from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the project didn’t get built in time for the salmon run.
Retrieved November 23, 2014 from http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/environment/article4070870.html