Sacramento Canals Unit Project
The Sacramento Canals Unit of the Central Valley Project was designed to provide irrigation water in the Sacramento Valley, principally in Tehama, Glenn and Colusa counties.
Authorized in 1950, the unit consists of Red Bluff Diversion Dam, Funks Dam, Corning Pumping Plant, Tehama-Colusa Canal and Corning Canal. At the upper end of the Tehama-Colusa Canal are the Tehama-Colusa Fish Facilities, which Reclamation constructed and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) operates. Full and supplemental irrigation service is provided to about 98,000 acres.
In 1963, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished building Black Butte Dam as a separate project. The Black Butte Integration Act of Oct. 23, 1970, brought Black Butte Dam and Reservoir under the auspices of the Sacramento River Division as the Black Butte Unit.
The Sacramento River Division through its Sacramento Canals Unit added two canals and a dam to the CVP. Begun in the 1950s, the Unit included the Corning Canal, Tehama-Colusa Canal and Red Bluff Diversion Dam. The Army Corps of Engineers finished building Black Butte Dam, as a separate project, in 1963. The Black Butte Integration Act of Oct. 23, 1970, brought the dam and reservoir under the auspices of the Sacramento River Division as the Black Butte Unit.
Concerns for the environment raised serious questions about facilities on the Central Valley Project in the 1980s and 1990s. Red Bluff Diversion Dam became the focus of many of the concerns. Despite the environmental problems faced by Red Bluff Diversion Dam, the Sacramento River Division continued to produce valuable crops. Crop production reports for the lands served by the Tehama-Colusa and Corning Canals exhibit why Central Valley is the richest farm producer of the Reclamation projects.
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Located north of California's state capital, Sacramento, the Sacramento Canals Unit supplies irrigation water to lands in the Sacramento Valley. Tehama, Glenn, and Colusa counties are the primary recipients of water from the Unit, but the Tehama-Colusa Canal extends a short distance into Yolo County.
The Unit consists of Red Bluff Diversion Dam, Corning Pumping Plant, Tehama-Colusa Canal and Corning Canal. Reclamation planned Stony Canal, but canceled construction of that feature. Red Bluff Diversion Dam and Corning Canal are in Tehama County. The Tehama-Colusa Canal travels through Tehama, Glenn and Colusa counties, into Yolo County. The Black Butte Unit, consisting of Black Butte Dam and Lake, lies across the border of Tehama and Glenn counties, southwest of Corning Canal's terminus.
Several groups of Native Americans inhabited northern California before the arrival of European settlers. Yahi, Maidu, and Wintun groups inhabited the region around the Sacramento River, now in the Sacramento River Division.
Spanish settlers, arriving in the 18th century, concentrated their missions along the coast of California. Sparse settlement started in the early 1800s, when the Spanish, and, later; Mexican governments gave large land grants to settlers in the interior of California.
Colusa and Glenn counties had six land grants totaling 156,262 acres. Tehama County had 131,379 acres awarded in seven land grants, but the Sacramento River Basin remained largely unexplored. The first settlers from the United States entered California in the 1840s.
The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848, brought more American immigrants to the area, especially around Sacramento. The advance of Americans into northern California eventually resulted in an agricultural boom. The Sacramento Valley attracted many farmers, and many became virtual land barons. Individuals owned farms containing 10,000 to 20,000 acres, and water soon surpassed gold as the most precious commodity in northern California. Sacramento became the capital of California, gaining a certain amount of prominence for the community, and in 1850, the new government wasted no time in turning its attention to the excitement surrounding water.