New Fish Screen And Water Intake Facility Improves Fish Passage on the Sacramento River

Rear view of New Intake Facility on Sacramento River.

A rear view of the new Yolo area water intake facility. The new diversion facility will provide more efficient and reliable water supplies for Yolo County water users. Credit: Jon Myatt/USFWS

By Jon Myatt
September 13, 2016

Endangered salmon, steelhead and sturgeon will soon be safe from the deadly pull of water pumps on the Sacramento River in Yolo County now that a new diversion facility has finished construction.

A nearly century old water intake on the river north of Sacramento is being replaced, making way for a new intake and fish screen facility designed to protect threatened and endangered fish species while also providing improved water supply reliability for eastern Yolo County.

Located on the western bank of the Sacramento River immediately upstream from the Vietnam Veterans Bridge on Interstate-5, the intake facility is a collaborative effort between Reclamation District 2035 and the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency and its partners, including the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation.

The original facility has been providing water to Yolo area agriculture users ince 1920.

The original diversion pumps shown here have continued to  provide water to Yolo County area  users since 1920. Credit: Jon Myatt/USFWS

According to Dan Meier, program manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Anadromous Fish Screen Program, when the facility becomes operational intake pumps will move up to 400 cubic feet per second of water from the Sacramento River -- the equivalent to filling an Olympic-sized swimming pool in less than four minutes.

The new intake consists of ten vertical fish stainless steel screen panels with a brush cleaning system. With very small openings, about a sixteenth of an inch; the high tech fish screens allow species of threatened and endangered fish, including green sturgeon, Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead, to swim and spawn in the waterway—while still delivering water to the people and animals that need it.

“The project incorporates the very latest in fish screening design and technology, resulting in the highest levels of fish protection while still reliably providing water to farms, cities and wildlife habitats,” Meier said.

The new intake contains eight modern induction pumps that will move up to 400 cubic feet per second of water from the Sacramento River -- the equivalent to filling an Olympic-sized swimming pool in less than four minutes. Credit: Jon Myatt/USFWS

At a projected cost of almost $57 million, the fish screen facility is replacing the unscreened intake constructed in 1920, with a new joint intake serving Yolo County water users. Project construction was initiated in August 2014.

Project manager Glenn Vita stands next to one of eight
computer-controlled pumps. which will be "a significiant
improvement over the old, manually operated pumps,"
he said. Credit: Jon Myatt/USFWS

The state-of the art fish screens "meet National Marine Fisheries Service’s and California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fish screen design criteria," Meier said.

The project represents a successful collaborative effort to improve fish passage on Sacramento River, combining the newest technology in fish screen and diversion facility design that will eliminate fish entrainment.

Completion of the new screened diversion “is a significant milestone for the Anadromous Fish Screen Program,”’ said Rick Woodley, the Bureau of Reclamation’s regional resources manager. “It represents completion of the screening of one of the last major large previously unscreened diversions on the Sacramento River.”

“Not only will the new diversion help protect against entrainment of critical fish species, but will provide for a more reliable and better quality water supply for the cities of Woodland and Davis,” he said.

The diversion facility provides water directly to the recently constructed Davis Woodland Water Supply Project operated by the water agency “to replace deteriorating groundwater supplies used for drinking water with safe, more reliable surface water supplies from the Sacramento River,” Woodley said.

The intake will draw water to irrigate 15,000 acres of farmland in eastern Yolo County and also directly to a water treatment facility that supplies water to Davis and Woodland as part of the surface water project.

Glenn Vita looks at one of the 100-year-old induction pumps. Until today (September 13, 2016), these 100-year pumps were still operational. Credit: Jon Myatt/USFWS

The project will supply 30 million gallons a day of treated river water to the two cities – 18 million to Woodland, 12 million gallons to Davis – to supplement both cities’ groundwater.

The structure is jointly owned and operated by Reclamation District 2035 and Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency.

Project manager Glenn Vita explains the replacement timeline for the old intake and pumping facility in the river west of Sacramento International Airport. Credit: Jon Myatt/USFWS

Reclamation District 2035 encompasses nearly 20,000 acres east of the City of Woodland, including land in the Yolo Bypass, and provides water for crop irrigation and habitat preservation. Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency provides surface water supplies to the Cities of Davis and Woodland, and the University of California at Davis.

Funding for the intake and fish screen was provided by federal and state agencies and Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency, of which roughly 35 percent was provided through the Anadromous Fish Screen Program, a federal program jointly implemented by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Reclamation through the Central Valley Project Improvement Act.

Project partners include the National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Water Resources and the Wildlife Conservation Board.

The new Reclamation District 2035 -Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency joint  water intake facility stands next to the origianl water pumping station (right) constructed in 1920. Credit: Jon Myatt/USFWS

Check out more photos of the facility on our Flickr album below...

Sacramento River Fish Screen and Water Intake Facility


Jon Myatt is the digital communications manager for the Pacific Southwest Region, located in Sacramento, California.