Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
REGION 8: New Fish Screen Improves Fish Passage on Sacramento River
California-Nevada Offices , October 24, 2008
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New fish screening facility on the Emery Poundstone Pumping Plant on the Sacramento River (photo: Digital Sky Aerial Imaging, Elk Grove, Calif., by permission)
New fish screening facility on the Emery Poundstone Pumping Plant on the Sacramento River (photo: Digital Sky Aerial Imaging, Elk Grove, Calif., by permission) - Photo Credit: n/a

by Cesar Blanco, Water & Fisheries Resources
On October 24, 2008, Reclamation District 108 (RD 108) held a dedication ceremony to celebrate the completion of a state-of-the-art fish screen project located on the Sacramento River approximately 40 miles northwest of Sacramento.  This fish screen project consolidated three of RD 108’s existing unscreened diversions into a new screened diversion, known as the Emery Poundstone Pumping Plant.  This new facility has a design flow of 300 cubic feet per second.  RD 108 is one of the largest agricultural water providers on the Sacramento River, delivering irrigation water to about 48,000 acres of agricultural lands.  


The Sacramento River is the largest river in California and serves as a critical migration route for Chinook salmon and other anadromous fish (those fish that live as adults in salt water and spawn in fresh water).   As the young fish migrate down the Sacramento River on their long journey to the ocean they face many dangers including the risk of being removed from the river by agricultural water diversions.  A modern-day device -- the fish screen -- is helping anadromous fish complete their ancient migration from freshwater to the ocean and back. 


The new fish screen structure is approximately 100-feet long and 25-feet high.  It consists of 5 separate15-foot wide screen bays, each with stainless steel wedge-wire fish screens with 1.75 millimeter slot openings.  The screen openings allow water flow to irrigation pumps while keeping fish out and permitting them to safely pass-by the water diversion.  The fish screens are continuously cleaned by a mechanical brush that sweeps across the entire screen surface every 5 minutes.


Funding for the project was provided by federal and state agencies.  Approximately 50% of the funding was provided by the Anadromous Fish Screen Program (AFSP), a federal program jointly implemented by the Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Reclamation.   RD 108 is responsible for the annual operation and maintenance costs of the fish screen.  This fish screen project was a cooperative effort that successfully improved fish passage on the Sacramento River without interrupting irrigation water deliveries or interfering with fish migrations during the project construction.

For additional information please contact the AFSP Program Manager, Dan Meier, at (916)414-6725.

Contact Info: Cesar Blanco, 916-978-6190, cesar_blanco@fws.gov

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