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Major Accomplishments: Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project

interactive image:  photo - Red Bluff Diversion Dam is shown in upper right corner; click for larger photo
Red Bluff Diversion Dam is shown in upper right corner.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor hosted a groundbreaking event at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam in March 2010 as part of the largest single outlay of 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding in the nation by the Department of the Interior.

The event celebrated the beginning of construction of the Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam, a $220 million project that includes about $115 million in funds from ARRA.

Secretary Salazar said that “through the use of economic stimulus funds, we are protecting the region’s farming economy and jobs while helping to provide safe passage for fish.”

Commissioner Connor said that “this project represents almost 40 years of efforts by many entities to find a balanced solution that improves fish passage and sustains the reliability of agricultural water deliveries.”

The Fish Passage Improvement Project was needed as an improvement over the existing Red Bluff Diversion Dam on the Sacramento River, which has gates that, when lowered, form Lake Red Bluff and provide for diversion of irrigation water from the river into the Tehama-Colusa and Corning Canals. But the gate position also created a barrier to migrating fish. Although the dam was initially operated to provide continuous diversion, the gates-in diversion period has been reduced over the years to less than four months in order to improve fish passage of several salmon species and now green sturgeon, recently listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The construction of a screened pumping plant will allow the Diversion Dam gates to be permanently placed in the open position for free migration of fish while ensuring continued water deliveries to 150,000 acres of high-value cropland. The new features of the project will include a fish screen, intake channel, and a pumping plant with a capacity of 2,500 cubic feet per second, an access bridge, and a discharge conduit to divert water from the Sacramento River into the Tehama-Colusa and Corning Canals.

The project, being constructed in phases, is scheduled to be completed in 2012.

More information can be found at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/rbfish/.

interactive image:  photo - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the project on March 23, 2010; click for larger photo
interactive image:  photo - The siphon outlet structure under construction; click for larger photo
interactive image:  photo - Workers deliver a reinforcement cage for a bridge pier; click for larger photo
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the project on March 23, 2010. The siphon outlet structure under construction. Workers deliver a reinforcement cage for a bridge pier.
interactive image:  photo - Subcontractor welding caps for canal braces; click for larger photo
interactive image:  photo - Diesel hammers drive sheet piles; click for larger photo
interactive image:  photo - Workers assemble portable concrete mixing plant for onsite production; click for larger photo
Subcontractor welding caps for canal braces. Diesel hammers drive sheet piles. Workers assemble portable concrete mixing plant for onsite production.
Interactive image:  photo - Heavy equipment excavates the canal on the east side of Red Bank Creek; click for larger photo
Interactive image:  photo - Installing coffer dam sheet piling for fish screen; click for larger photo
Interactive image:  photo - Heavy equipment excavates the canal on the east side of Red Bank Creek; click for larger photo
Heavy equipment excavates the canal on the east side of Red Bank Creek. Installing coffer dam sheet piling for fish screen. Heavy equipment excavates the canal on the east side of Red Bank Creek.

An artist's rendering depicts the apperance of the finished fish passage improvement act
Project Benefits
Construction of a pumping plant will:

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Allow the Red Bluff Diversion Dam gates to be locked in the raised position to provide unimpeded upstream and downstream passage for threatened and endangered fish species to spawning grounds.
Provide irrigation water to about 150,000 acres of high-value cropland.
Increase the pumping capacity into canals to 2,500 cubic feet per second.


April 1, 2011