Thursday, November 26, 2020

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Funding awarded for Sacramento River salmon projects

The Bureau of Reclamation last week awarded nearly $40 million for salmon habitat improvement projects along the Sacramento River, from Keswick Dam down to the Feather River confluence.

The restoration projects, which include side channel and floodplain restoration and riparian plantings, will enhance and improve spawning and rearing habitat for salmon at approximately 25 different locations across 132 river miles, Reclamation officials said.

The grants, each in the amount of $9.99 million over five years, were awarded to Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, Reclamation District 108, River Partners, and Chico State Enterprises.

GCID will implement seven habitat restoration activities to help restore, maintain, and improve Sacramento River salmon rearing habitat, officials said.

“On behalf of the Sacramento River Settlement Contractors, we are elated that Reclamation selected us to implement these projects which have been identified in Central Valley Project Improvement Act workplans,” said General Manager Thad Bettner, in a statement. “This effort will expand on projects we have been doing since 2014 and are vital to Sacramento River salmon spawning and rearing habitat. With more restoration projects completed the last several years, we continue to see larger populations of out-migrating juvenile fish, and this investment by Reclamation will continue to improve on that trend.”

Reclamation District 108 will implement seven projects, including gravel augmentation along the Sacramento River and side channel restoration activities.

“Reclamation 108 is proud to partner with the Bureau of Reclamation and fellow recipients to continue the important restoration work we have been carrying out on the Sacramento River,” said Lewis Bair, Reclamation District 108 general manager. “The work on the upper Sacramento River along with the teamwork advancing floodplain restoration on the lower Sacramento River provide salmon with a promising future.”

River Partners, a non-profit organization, will improve spawning and rearing habitat for salmon at six individual project locations along the Sacramento River. Each project will restore side channels, floodplains and spawning habitats to improve adult spawning and juvenile rearing habitat.

“For decades, River Partners has worked with many conservation partners to recover wildlife habitat for the benefit of people and the environment along the Sacramento River,” said River Partners President Julie Rentner. “This investment from Reclamation represents a tremendous opportunity to improve habitat conditions for dwindling Chinook salmon populations and realize the goals of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act for water users, Sacramento Valley communities, endangered freshwater ecosystems, and millions of Californians.”

Reclamation Regional Director Ernest Conant said the department was pleased to make the awards and draw on the expertise of their partners to carry out this important restoration work on the Sacramento River

“Our water operations along the Sacramento River are closely intertwined with the health of Chinook salmon populations,” Conant said. “We are committed to the restoration actions laid out in our current operating plan to help restore, maintain and improve rearing and spawning habitat.”

The projects are being implemented in accordance with the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and the 2019 Biological Opinions for the Coordinated Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. ♣

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