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RED BLUFF FWO: Fish Programs at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam Are a Multi-Agency Operation
California-Nevada Offices , September 15, 2009
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Measuring Chinook salmon at the fish trapping facility. (photo: USFWS)
Measuring Chinook salmon at the fish trapping facility. (photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
Brett Rohrer, California Department of Fish and Game, displays a large Chinook salmon. (photo: USFWS)
Brett Rohrer, California Department of Fish and Game, displays a large Chinook salmon. (photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a

By Tom Kisunuki, Red Bluff FWO
Lake Red Bluff. The water is kept behind the Bureau of Reclamation’s Red Bluff Diversion Dam (Dam) which releases water to the Tehama-Colusa Canal where it is delivered to farms in the northern Central Valley.  During the two and half months of Dam operation, the only way fish can pass upstream is by using fish ladders operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Service’s Red Bluff Fish and Wildlife Office operates two permanent and one seasonal fish ladders at the Dam.  Adult salmonids such as the winter, spring, and fall-run Chinook salmon, and steelhead ascend the fish ladders during this time.  Other common species known to use the fish ladders include Sacramento pike minnow, Sacramento sucker, lamprey, and hardhead.  Adult green sturgeon, American shad, and striped bass are unable to ascend the Dam’s fish ladders.  The Service counts the numbers and type of fish ascending the ladders. The fish counting program verifies that fish passage is occurring at this federal facility.  The seasonal results are provided to the cooperating agencies and to the public.  The Service also operates a visitor kiosk during the fish counting season where the public is able to view real-time video images of fish passing through the ladders. The kiosk is a popular with the local public and tourists that visit the area.

The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) operates a fish trapping facility at the Dam’s east fish ladder.  Fish are trapped to obtain information on run timing, run type, and to obtain genetic tissue samples from Chinook salmon. Fish trapping conducted by the CDFG provides information used by fisheries managers to determine run type, timing, and was historically used to generate run-size estimates. Fish trapping did not occur during the 2009 season, due mostly to the State’s fiscal issues. The fish counting program will continue as long as the operations of the dam continue, but the future of the fish trapping program is uncertain.

 


Contact Info: Tom Kisanuki, 530-527-3043, EXT 223, tom_t_kisanuki@fws.gov



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