“Federal wildlife officials have ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that salmon, steelhead and green sturgeon are able to surmount its two dams on the Yuba River,” according to the Sacramento Bee.
“The National Marine Fisheries Service, in a biological opinion released late Wednesday, concludes that Daguerre Point and Englebright dams threaten the survival of the fish species. The order does not require dam removal, but that is one potential outcome.
‘”This is a big step forward for Yuba salmon recovery,’ said Steve Rothert, California director of American Rivers, a group that has been involved in salmon restoration efforts on the river. ‘The idea of getting fish past Englebright Dam opens up many possibilities.’
“The two dams provide no water supply or flood control benefits. Their primary purpose is a historical one: to store erosion and other debris washed downstream by long-ceased gold mining practices.
“Englebright Dam, the larger of the two, was built in 1941. It is a sheer wall of concrete, 270 feet high, without fish ladders. It blocks fish access to all three forks of the Yuba River, including hundreds of miles of salmon and steelhead habitat.
“Daguerre Point Dam has an old, outdated fish ladder that is inadequate for passing salmon and steelhead, and unable to pass sturgeon.
“The new biological opinion comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the South Yuba River Citizens League. The lawsuit challenged an earlier version of the biological opinion that did not order new fish passage improvements.
“In a 2010 ruling, Sacramento federal Judge Lawrence Karlton ordered the document revised.
“The new version requires the Corps, by March 1, 2014, to start an interim program to move fish around the dams using a “trap and transport” system, likely involving water trucks. A permanent fix is required by Jan. 31, 2020.
The rest of the article is here.
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