Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority Fish Passage Improvement Project

Red bluff cofferdam electrofishing

FISHBIO staff conducted fish rescues related to the construction of a fish-screened pumping plant for Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority in 2010 and 2011. This included conducting multi-pass boat electrofishing inside a 300-by-35-ft. cofferdam to relocate any listed species as water was pumped out of the reservoir. Staff adhered to strict safety protocols while navigating the boat within the confined space and using electricity in proximity of iron sheet piles.

Duck electrofishing Red Bluff cofferdam

Once water levels were sufficiently lowered, backpack electrofishing, seine nets, and hand nets were used to remove any remaining fishes. Following high flows that flooded the project site, FISHBIO staff conducted additional backpack electrofishing to remove fish trapped inside 400-ft.-long cement siphon tunnels that were under construction. This required confined spaces safety training to operate in the dark and muddy project site. All captured fishes were identified and lifted in buckets over the 30-ft.-high cofferdam walls to be released in the Sacramento River, and were removed in accordance with the conditions of the Biological Opinion prepared for the project.

Project Blog Posts:

Expect the unexpected

A muddy situation

Water + steel + electricity = ?

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