Salmonid Restoration Federation

8th Spring-run Chinook Symposium Tours

Wednesday, July 27 Concurrent Field Tours

9am-5pm, Upper Butte Creek Hydroelectric and Spring-Run holding Habitat Tour

Tour Coordinators:  Catalina Reyes, PG&E, and Allen Harthorn, Friends of Butte Creek

The Upper Butte Creek tour will focus on the operations and management of the hydroelectric facilities operated by PG&E that affect the conditions for Spring Run Chinook Salmon on Butte Creek. Highlights of the trip will be the DeSabla Forebay where Butte Creek and West Branch Feather River water are comingled before passing down the penstocks 1500 feet to Butte Creek. Excess summer heating can raise water temperatures for salmon and PG&E is developing proposals to mitigate the heating. DeSabla Powerhouse is the heart of the hydro system and Centerville Head Dam is the former diversion point for the Centerville Powerhouse which is in the process of decommissioning. The fate of the dam and the flume system will be discussed. A final stop will be at the Salmon Sanctuary observation deck above one of the most famous salmon holding areas on Butte Creek.

9am-5pm, Salmon and Steelhead Passage in Lower Deer, Mill, and Antelope Creeks

Tour Coordinators:  Jay Stallman, Stillwater Sciences, and Gregg Werner, The Nature Conservancy

Spring-Run Chinook salmon (SRCS) populations in Sacramento River tributaries have declined to threatened levels in part due to the effects of streamflow diversions which limit migration opportunity, cause excessively high stream temperatures, and can result in entrainment and delayed passage at diversion structures.  This field tour will explore these issues in the lower reaches of Deer, Mill, and Antelope creeks – three relatively pristine river systems draining the southwestern Cascades between Red Bluff and Chico where access to critical habitat for remaining wild SRCS populations is altered by irrigation diversions.  Field trip stops will feature ongoing efforts to understand SRCS run timing and escapement, characteristics and use of migration corridors downstream of irrigation diversion dams, and instream flow and water temperature requirements in these corridors.  Programs to increase instream flows through improved efficiency of water conveyance infrastructure, conjunctive use wells, and water exchange agreements will be reviewed. Stops will also include fish passage improvements at diversion dams.


Thursday, July 28 Concurrent Field Tours

9am-5pm, Clear Creek Spring Run Chinook Restoration Tour

Tour Coordinators:  Matt Brown, Sarah Gallagher and James Earley,  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Spring-run Chinook Salmon habitat restoration in Clear Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River near Redding, has been ongoing since 1998, and has included increased stream flows, water temperature control, dam removal, large-scale floodplain and stream channel reconstruction, and supplementation of spawning gravel. The Central Valley Project Improvement Act and the Ecosystem Restoration Program continue to provide water and funds, which have resulted in the establishment of the only Core 1 spring Chinook population in the Northwestern diversity group. Additional work remains to acquire channel maintenance flows, develop a long-term flow prescription, secure a long-term supply of spawning gravel, create additional spawning habitat, and manage water temperatures in the face of climate change. We have a diverse team working collaboratively to manage restoration efforts. Continued efforts are needed to restore habitat, and to build and sustain the Clear Creek spring run population. Tour stops will include floodplain and stream rehabilitation sites, spawning gravel supplementation areas, views of spring run habitat, and Whiskeytown Dam.  Members of the Clear Creek Restoration Team will talk about our challenges and successes, monitoring efforts, and our plans for the future.

9am-2:30pm, Instream Flow Evaluation of Upstream Spring-Run Chinook Salmon Passage Through Lower Butte Creek, California

Tour Coordinators: Bill Cowan, State Water Planning, Instream Flow Program, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Tracy McReynolds and Clint Garman, CDFW

This field tour will focus on Upstream Spring-run Chinook salmon passage through Lower Butte Creek and the flow study that is being conducted by CDFW. The tour will include presentations about the history of Spring-run Chinook salmon listing, restoration projects, the instream flow evaluation process, and post-restoration observations. The primary study site, the Lahar site, is located just south of the town of Chico. The tour will visit Durham-Mutual, to observe the complex geology and hydraulics of the main study site. Field tour guides will lead a tour of the site explaining how the topographic survey was completed for the River2D Hydraulic model. The group will be taken to the top of the site to observe the VAKI Riverwatcher installed in the Durham-Mutual fish ladder. Finally, the group will walk less than one river mile downstream to site of historic stranding.

The field tour is designed with the expectation that the participants will be able to traverse the river to observe various locations at the site and the downstream pool. Difficult wading conditions (swift water) are not expected at the time of the tour in late July. Participants should merely expect to get wet traversing the site and are encouraged to have footwear that will provide good traction over rocks that may be slippery. Water levels will likely be less than waist deep, unless of course someone decides to jump in one of the deeper pools to cool off. Chest waders are not required. The tour guides recommend wet wading because of the likelihood of warm weather conditions. Of course will any field tour, participants are required to have enough water, bring sunscreen, and food if necessary to be comfortable and attentive during the tour.