Major Accomplishments: Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project
|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/.
April 1, 2011