Huge Step Forward for Yuba Salmon Restoration!

On February 29, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a much anticipated plan for how the Corps of Engineers must change its Englebright Dam and Daguerre Point Dam on the Yuba River to eliminate the dams’ contribution to the risk of extinction of Yuba salmon, steelhead and green sturgeon.

This plan, called a Biological Opinion, requires the Corps to provide a way for salmon and steelhead to swim past the dams and reach their historic spawning habitat upstream. American Rivers listed the Yuba River on the 2011 Most Endangered Rivers list because of the Corps’ dams, and we called on NMFS and the Corps to provide fish passage over the dams.

The new Biological Opinion requires the Corps to work with other dam operators in the Yuba Basin to study fish passage options, conduct preliminary trials and implement a full passage program by 2020. 

American Rivers has been working with the Corps, Yuba County Water Agency and others for over a year in the Yuba Salmon Forum and North Yuba Reintroduction Initiative to analyze a variety of fish passage options.  YCWA has provided funding and technical support to make much of this analytical work possible.

American Rivers believes the Biological Opinion, while not universally welcomed, will bring more clarity on the shared responsibilities and approach to protecting these fish.  We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working harder with the Corps, YCWA and others to help restore Yuba salmon.