Twenty-two Stream Flow Enhancement Projects funded by the Wildlife Conservation Board

By on April 10, 2018

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reporting that the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) recently approved $33.1 million in grants for 22 projects to enhance stream flows to benefit fish and wildlife habitat throughout the state. As authorized by the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1), the state Legislature appropriated funds for these projects.

The 22 projects were chosen through a competitive grant process, judged by the WCB, CDFW and the State Water Resources Control Board. Funded projects focused on efforts that will lead to direct and measurable enhancements to the amount, timing and/or quality of water for anadromous (those migrating up rivers from the sea to spawn) fish; special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species; or to provide resilience to climate change, as per the guidelines of the California Water Action Plan.

A total of $200 million has been allocated to the WCB for projects that enhance stream flow. Of that amount a total of $38.4 million—including $5 million designated for scoping and scientific projects—was allocated to the WCB for expenditure in Fiscal Year 2017/18 for the California Stream Flow Enhancement Program.

A sampling of the funded projects includes:

  • A $5.3 million grant to the Alameda County Water District — for a cooperative project with the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, California Natural Resources Agency, State Coastal Conservancy and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to modify flow releases in Alameda Creek. Additionally, they will construct two concrete fish ladders around existing fish passage barriers to provide salmonids access to high value habitat upstream of the project location, approximately 17 miles north of San Jose and 22 miles southeast of Oakland.
  • A $5 million grant to the Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency — for a cooperative project with the Department of Water Resources and CDFW, to improve roughly 7,500 linear feet of existing channels to connect isolated ponds. This project’s design was funded by the Stream Flow Enhancement Program in 2016. The project site is within the Sacramento River watershed and is less than one mile southwest of the town of Oroville, on the east side of the Feather River. The project is intended to provide fish refuge and eliminate potential stranding.
  • A $4.8 million grant to The Wildlands Conservancy for a project to enhance stream flow on Russ Creek. The project, located on the southern portion of the Eel River Estuary Preserve in Humboldt County, is approximately four miles west of Ferndale will reestablishing channel alignment to provide continuous summer base flows suitable for fish passage.
  • A $3.9 million grant to The Nature Conservancy for a cooperative project with UC Santa Barbara and the Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy to remove approximately 250 acres of the invasive giant reed (Arundo donax). The project, located in unincorporated Ventura County approximately two miles east of the city of Santa Paula and three miles west of the city of Fillmore, along the Santa Clara River, will save approximately 2,000 acre-feet of water annually for the Santa Clara River.

Most of the funded projects are located in northern California although a handful of the projects are located along the Central California coast. Additional details about the California Stream Flow Enhancement Program are available on the WCB website at: https://www.wcb.ca.gov/Programs/Stream-Flow-Enhancement.