Yuba River Study Underway

A study to define the feasibility of various approaches to improving habitat along California’s Yuba River is now underway.

A federal cost-sharing agreement has been approved between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Yuba County Water Agency, the non-federal partner, for the $3 million feasibility study.

The study will be conducted in a risk-informed framework with the first step being a charette, a collaborative design and planning session to determine the project’s scope. This session will also open a formal public comment period and is expected to take place in Fall of 2015.

“The goal of the feasibility study is to present science- and logic-based options for restoration of the Yuba River ecosystem,” said Melissa Hallas, Sacramento District’s lead planner for the Yuba River study.As planners, we help decision-makers identify water resources problems, conceive solutions, and compare the importance of the inevitable conflicting values inherent in any solution and shape recommendations.

The Corps has been carrying out a program to inject a mixture of coarse sediment (gravel and cobble) into the lower Yuba River below Englebright Dam, in order to improve spawning habitat for salmonids, and has been funding surveys to monitor the effectiveness of these habitat restoration measures.

Four separate gravel injection efforts were undertaken from 2007-2013, with approximately 15,500 tons of gravel/cobble placed into the Englebright Dam Reach. Surveys by the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission found that salmon are using that gravel to spawn.

Surveys of salmon redds also show encouraging signs that the gravel injection is working as planned.

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