Thursday July 7, 2022

Bureau of Reclamation

When the flood protection plan for Sacramento was conceived and constructed, the aim was to divert Sacramento River flood flows away from the city. The plan was successful, but it did not provide much for the needs of  fish that migrate through the floodplain to connect with the river channel.

That conundrum began to change more than a decade ago as the biological opinion for operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project identified improved fish passage at Fremont Weir as a means to help fish such as chinook salmon, steelhead and Sacramento River green sturgeon find their way downstream and back again.

Fast forward to a warm summer day in 2022 as officials with federal, state, local agencies and Native American tribes gathered to break ground on the second phase of the largest floodplain salmon rearing habitat restoration in California history. Dubbed the “Big Notch” Project, the $190 million effort (partially funded by Reclamation) aims to improve 30,000-acres of floodplain habitat in the Yolo Bypass in Yolo County.

“This project represents a large-scale opportunity to significantly better floodplain habitat for all native species and to improve rearing and migratory conditions for salmon, steelhead and sturgeon in the Delta and Sacramento River, which in turn helps provide the operational flexibility for the CVP.” said Ernest Conant, Regional Director of Reclamation’s California-Great Basin Region.

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