The Salmonid Restoration Federation and Friends of Butte Creek hosted the 5th Annual Spring-run Chinook symposium July 22-23 in Chico, California. This was a collaborative educational event with diverse symposium partners, Pacific Gas & Electric, California Department of Water Resources, Deer and Mill Creek Conservancies, and the Big Chico Creek Watershed Alliance. “Spring Run Salmon are in serious decline in California, now is the time to learn about the problems, and make commitments to restoration. The
fish can’t wait,” said Executive Director of Friends of Butte Creek, Allen Harthorn.
SRF was pleased to offer this opportunity for local landowners, restorationists, fisheries biologists and agency staff who participated in the Chinook Symposium which included field tours and presentations on problems and solutions specific
to Spring-run Chinook. The Spring-run Chinook Symposium offered restoration practitioners training and networking opportunities on issues affecting California’s threatened Spring-run Chinook populations.
Download a PDF version of the agenda here and the press release here.
This tour of Deer Creek and Mill Creek Restoration Projects was led by Holly Savage of the Deer Creek Watershed Conservancy and a representative of The Nature Conservancy. The tour began at the Abbey of New Clairvaux and included a brief overview of the Deer Creek Watershed Conservancy’s goals for salmonids in Deer Creek.
The tour visited sites proposed for improvements in the Deer Creek Flood Corridor Protection Project. This project will increase floodway width through setback levees and conservation easements to improve flood protection and ecosystem
function. Increasing the floodway width in this reach would provide a number of ecological benefits, including increased area for channel migration, ability for natural sediment transport and deposition that improves channel complexity
without damaging infrastructure, and increased area for riparian vegetation growth while maintaining flood conveyance; greater channel complexity and gravel size diversity via reduced water velocities and shear stress in the reach; more
confined low flow channel to improve adult salmonid fish passage and juvenile rearing habitat; and many others.
We also visited areas in the creek where fish passage has been an issue and discussed the Deer Creek Flow Enhancement Program (DCFEP) where local irrigators provide bypass flows for fish during low flow conditions. The DCFEP is designed
to fulfill the water needs of local agriculture and domestic water users while achieving the fisheries flow objectives in Deer Creek and the groundwater protection requirements set forth by the Tehama County AB 3030 Groundwater Management
Field Trip Leaders:
Holly Savage, Deer Creek Watershed Conservancy
Bert Bundy, Mill Creek Conservancy
2. Lower Butte Creek Salmonid Fish Passage Restoration
The tour began at Durham Mutual Dam where spring run Chinook have been stranded for the last four years, and on to two other dams and to the site of the Western Canal Siphon Project, where four dams were removed. After lunch
we visited the Weir 2 in the Sutter Bypass that is scheduled to be retrofitted with a new fish ladder by the Department of Water Resources in 2011. Chris Mosser, a graduate student from UC Davis, gave a presentation regarding Monitoring of Rescued Salmon in
Lower Butte Creek. The design of the Willow Slough restoration project, which is currently under construction near the mouth of Butte Creek in the Sutter Bypass, was presented at the Weir 2 stop.