NEWS RELEASE: Spawning gravel for winter-run salmon being placed in the Sacramento River near Keswick Dam

Up to 15,000 cubic yards of loose gravel will provide critical habitat

News release from the Sacramento River Settlement Contractors:

More than 21,000 tons of gravel is being placed into the Sacramento River to provide spawning habitat for salmon and trout in the upper reaches of the river and its tributaries.

The spawning habitat has been reduced over time due to water flows pushing the gravel downstream. Spanning approximately 200 feet by 80 feet, the new gravel aims to replenish supply in an important historic spawning location near Salt Creek – about a mile south of the Keswick Dam.

“We are addressing a need in one of the salmon’s key life stages with the hope that more fish will spawn in the colder waters of Sacramento River,” said Roger Cornwell, President of Reclamation District 108. “With less debris entering the river and creeks naturally, we know it is important to lend a hand to our endangered species.”

Led by the Sacramento River Settlement Contractors and Reclamation District 108, and funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), this effort comes on the heels of a similar gravel infusion project in the Sacramento River underneath the Market Street Bridge – also a multi-agency collaboration.

Work in the Sacramento River, near Salt Creek in the northwest section of Redding, will begin November 6 and conclude by middle of the month. Access along the Sacramento River Trail will have minimal impact during the length of the project, and will be limited to crossing truck traffic at Middle Creek Road.

“We are focused on collaborative efforts that will provide both a short- and long-term benefit to our endangered fish species,” said John Hannon, Bureau of Reclamation fisheries biologist. “If we want to boost population numbers of fish like the Winter-run salmon, we, as local, state and federal organizations and agencies, must continue to work together to create these types of in-river solutions.”

The Sacramento River is the only river in the world that has four runs of Chinook, or “king,” salmon due to its diverse ecosystem that features near year-round cold water due to snow melt, food supply, water velocity, water depth and riverbed gravel. When one or all of these are drastically altered, fish populations are impacted.

The Salt Creek Gravel Project is part of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and also follows a comprehensive effort to recover all four runs of Chinook salmon in the Sacramento Valley Watershed. The project is also part of the Sacramento Valley Salmon Recovery Program, the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Recovery Plan, the California Resources Agency’s Salmon Resiliency Strategy and the early implementation of the Voluntary Agreements/Healthy Rivers California action plan.

The project is a partnership with a multitude of local, state, and federal entities including the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, US Army Corps of Engineers, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, and National Marine Fisheries Service. The project will be constructed in partnership with Sacramento River Settlement Contract Members including RD 108, Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, Basin Irrigation and Drainage Authority, the City of Redding, and also non-SRSC member, the Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority.

Media Contact:  Rob McAllister – 916.847.0417


Sacramento River Settlement Contractors (SRSC) are dedicated to providing reliable, affordable water supplies to their landowners and water users, while ensuring the environmental and economic viability of the region. Among the largest irrigation districts in the Sacramento Valley and with senior water rights, they have a long history of serving farmers and the agricultural community and maintaining critical wildlife habitat. The member districts fulfill their mission of efficiently and effectively managing and delivering water through an ever-improving delivery system and responsible policies, while maintaining a deep commitment to sustainable practices. Looking ahead, the SRSC will remain focused on continuing to deliver a reliable and sustainable water supply by positioning themselves to respond proactively, strategically and responsibly to California’s ever-changing water landscape.

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