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Alameda Creek Fisheries Restoration Workgroup
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has released the final
version of the
Alameda Creek Aquatic Resource Monitoring Report 2007.
The web cam is up and running for the 2009-10 season. Work group participants
who would like access to the web cam should contact Andy Gunther or David
Asbury at CEMAR.
The Alameda County Water District has begun construction on two fish
passage projects in the Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel. In the first
Rubber Dam 2 Decommissioning and Foundation Modification,
the ACWD has permanently
removed its lowermost rubber dam from the channel. A section of the dam's
foundation is being removed and a fish ladder installed to allow for fish
passage under low flow conditions. The project will be finished by this
The second project is the
Bunting Pond Fish Screen. The ACWD is installing a fish screen at the Bunting
Pond water diversion to eliminate the potential for entrainment of out-migrating
juvenile steelhead at the intake location. This project will also be finished
by this fall.
The Alameda Creek Alliance has posted
photos of both projects.
The Alameda Creek Alliance and the Center for Biological Diversity announced
the signing a historic conservation agreement with Oliver de Silva, Inc.,
regarding the proposed Apperson Ridge Quarry and the existing Sunol Valley
Quarry. Under the agreement, Oliver de Silva will fund and implement the
cooperatively developed Apperson Ridge Conservation Plan, which will significantly
reduce potential impacts of the approved Apperson Quarry operation on
native wildlife species and their habitats, will provide extensive mitigation
for any biological impacts, and will permanently protect and enhance habitat
for special-status species in the vicinity of the project. Oliver de Silva
will also fund the Sunol Quarry Conservation Plan, which will assist in
fish-passage projects for steelhead trout and will significantly advance
the restoration of Alameda Creek. More information is available on the
Alameda Creek Alliance website.
Jeff Miller heard from Ed Pang of CALTRANS that while there have been
some internal project delays in the last couple of years, project design
activities have resumed for the CALTRANS culvert at the junction of Palomares
Road and Route 84. Detailed engineering designs include removal of the
existing box culvert crossing at Stonybrook creek, construction of a clear-span
bridge to meet fish passage requirements, and maintenance of the natural
stream channel with some grading from just upstream of the structure to
the confluence with Alameda Creek. CALTRANS intends to provide draft structure
and grading plans for review and comment by the Work Group later in June
Despite the dry year (see September 2008 entry below), it appears likely
that at least some of the progeny of Bonnie & Clyde have survived.
Pete Alexander observed trout fry in a pool in lower Stonybrook where
the spawning event took place; this is well below the region where resident
fry are normally seen.
The Alameda County Water District has developed a schedule for completing
several fish passage projects in the Flood Control Channel, for which
$2.6 million in grant money has been raised. A
brief summary (including a project map).
A release of partially treated wastewater into Alamo Canal (in the Alameda
de la Laguna drainage) from the Diablo San Ramon Services District Waste
Water Treatment plant occured on Monday October 6. Also, a few days before
the first rainfall event of the season provided up to 240 cfs flow at
the Niles Gage. On Monday there were a large number of dead fish in the
impoundment behind ACWD's upper rubber dam, and ACWD informed DFG
and NOAA. DFG staff on site gave an initial estimate of 5,000 dead fish,
mostly smaller fish. Water quality tests by ACWD indicated virtually zero
dissolved oxygen in the waters of the impoundment. EBRPD surveys upstream
found no fish dead, and adequate dissolved oxygen in the waters. ACWD
is continuing to work with State and local agencies to determine the cause
of the fish kill.
Unfortunately, this has been a dry year, and the end of summer stream
conditions have taken their toll on the fry produced by the spawning steelhead
in March. The adults (named Bonnie and Clyde) were apparently unable to
back downstream and out to the Bay. They survived in a small pool until
sometime in August, when both succumbed to low water levels and likely
raccoon predation. Of hundreds of young of year steelhead observed in
the vicinity of spawning in May and June, by September 10, only one pool
still contained juvenile trout, with only 5 fry left.
On May 20 the Alameda County Water District held a dedication ceremony
to celebrate the completion of the first set of fish screens in the Alameda
Creek flood control channel, which will improve steelhead trout migration
in lower Alameda Creek.
Two steelhead moved upstream from the BART weir appear to have spawned
in Stonybrook Creek! This would likely be the first spawning event for
steelhead in the Alameda Creek watershed in about 50 years. The Alameda
Creek Alliance has posted
photos of the fish.
The Alameda County Water District and Alameda County Flood Control District
were recently notified by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that
they will receive a $500,000 grant to help fund the design, permitting,
and environmental review for the BART Weir/Middle Dam Fish Ladder Project.
Phase 1 study plan
has been completed.
DFG and NMFS have provided permits for fish rescue and transport operations.
More information is on the
Alameda Creek Alliance website.
Construction of the fish screens at the upper inflatable dam have been
completed. The fish screens will undergo a full commissioning test during
the month of February before being put into regular service. More info
is on the
McBain & Trush are completing the final edits to the Phase 1 Study
Plan, which will be available for download soon from this web site.
Construction of fish screens at the major ACWD diversions behind the
upper inflatable dam are nearing completion. Information on this project,
and the decommissioning of the lower inflatable dam, can be found on the
Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the
Alameda County Water District have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement
(MOA) to begin preliminary design work to eliminate two key barriers to
migration, the BART Weir and the middle inflatable rubber dam.
Work has begun on
a restoration project aimed at battling serious streambank erosion along
the Arroyo de la Laguna between Pleasanton and Sunol, using bioengineering
techniques such as anchoring logs and tree roots to reduce stream velocity
and control erosion. The project is located along a 1,000-foot section
of the Arroyo de la Laguna, owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities
Commission, about a half mile south of the Verona Road bridge between
Pleasanton and Sunol. This project is a collaboration among the U.S.D.A.
Natural Resources Conservation Service, Alameda County Resource Conservation
District, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Livermore-Amador
Valley's Zone 7 Water Agency, Alameda County Public Works Agency,
and the Dublin San Ramon Services District.
The San Francisco Chronicle covered the September 21st ceremony commemorating the
signing of the MOU and the removal of Niles and Sunol Dams.
After many years
of study, fundraising, and permit negotiations, the San Francisco Public
Utilities Commission has begun work on the removal of Niles and Sunol
The San Francisco
Public Utilities Commission has certified the environmental documents
for the removal of Niles and Sunol Dams. Construction activities are presently
scheduled for late summer 2006. Read the
Four more adult steelhead
trout migrating up Alameda Creek were rescued below the BART weir on Saturday,
March 11th, and moved upstream into Niles Canyon. Two large adult male
steelhead were previously moved upstream on March 4th. The fish moved
Saturday were from 22 to 27 inches long, weighed from 3.7 to 8.3 pounds,
and included one female and three male trout. Photos from these rescues
can be found on the
Alameda Creek Alliance website.
On December 7, 2005,
an article about
restoration of steelhead in Alameda Creek
appeared in the East Bay Express.
On December 8, 2005,
an article about
restoration of steelhead in Alameda Creek
appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Several documents that have been under development are now available.
The final report analyzing the Re-graded Channel Alternative for fish
passage at the BART Weir is now available. Download a
CEMAR to receive a CD with the report (37 MB PDF).
A Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) has been prepared for the
Sunol and Niles Dam Removal Project,
and is now available for public review.
Public hearings will be conducted in late November and early December
Final report is now available regarding conceptual designs for removal and replacement of two crossings of Stonybrook Creek by Palomares Road
11 x 17 conceptual designs), along with a
describing fish passage at two private stream crossing.
Caltrans has released
a proposed negative declaration for the Highway 84 Improvement Project
in Niles Canyon, which includes addressing the culvert at the mouth of
Stonybrook Creek. Caltrans is accepting comments on their draft environmental
review until July 13.
The Alameda Creek Alliance has prepared
to CALTRANS requesting that the project more effectively address
fish passage at the Stonybrook culvert.
You can request the Negative Declaration from Ed Pang of Caltrans by calling
(510) 286-5609 or e-mailing "ed_pang at dot.ca.gov".
The Alameda County
Water District (ACWD) has been awarded two $500,000 grants from the National
Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to improve steelhead migration in
Alameda Creek. NFWF funded two ACWD projects that will help improve passage
for steelhead trout in the Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel. In conjunction
with other Alameda Creek watershed projects completed, planned, or underway,
these projects will restore a steelhead run in the largest local watershed
tributary to San Francisco Bay. Upward of 15 miles of stream habitat will
once again be available to migrating and spawning steelhead upon the completion
of all projects.
One NFWF grant will help fund the removal of the lower inflatable rubber
diversion dam in the Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel, while the other
grant provides for the installation of fish screens on ACWD's water
supply diversion point above the upper inflatable dam. Both projects will
be completed by fall of 2006. See
article from the SF Chronicle.
After two years of
planning, fundraising, design, and construction, CEMAR has installed a
"web cam" to watch for inmigrating adult steelhead at the BART
Weir. With funding from the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation
District and the Alameda County Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Work
Group now has the ability to watch for inmigrants using any high-speed
internet connection. This should make it much easier to determine when
fish are present. For more information contact Gordon Becker or Jeff Miller.
Two grant proposals
were submitted to the San Francisco Bay Salmonid Habitat Restoration Fund
of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The proposals, prepared
by the Alameda County Water District with the assistance of CEMAR, jointly
request $1,000,000 for passage improvements and fish screens at the major
water pumping facility. This fund was established as mitigation for Bay
Bridge construction, and decisions are expected in April 2005.
A U. C. Berkeley
hydrology class has prepared a preliminary assessment of
potential steelhead habitat in Sinbad Creek through Sunol.
NOAA Fisheries has
released a status review of 26 salmon and steelhead species listed under
the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including Central California Coast (CCC)
NOAA proposed including resident rainbow trout in Alameda Creek in the threatened CCC steelhead population.
"Proposed ESU Listing Determinations Federal Register Notice Language"
has the full text of the proposed rule. See pages 59 and 278 for the Alameda
Creek reference in the proposed rule.
The US Army Corps
of Engineers has put funding on hold for §1135 projects not currently
under construction, including the Alameda Creek flood control channel
improvements. Corps representatives remains optimistic that money will
become available in the third or fourth quarters of the current fiscal
year as well as in the next fiscal year. Corps staff are consulting with
agency representatives regarding pursuing additional funding mechanisms
with the Corps.
The letter and comments concerning the
proposal to the SWRCB/CALFED for Prop 13 funding.
Arroyo Mocho/Arroyo Las Positas Realignment Project
Zone 7 Water Agency began construction in summer 2003 on a project that
will widen, realign, and restore sections of Arroyo Mocho and Arroyo las
Positas in Livermore. The project will remove two existing fish passage
barriers, add two
to steep sections of the creek, and restore a more natural stream channel with
native vegetation and enhanced stream wildlife habitat.
The SFPUC and its
consultants Geomatrix and HDR Engineering have completed the
DRAFT Report on the Conceptual Engineering for the Removal of Sunol and Niles Dams.
The SFPUC has requested that
comments from the Workgroup be provided by August 8 Barbara Palacios (the
project manager) at email@example.com. Please keep in mind that this
is an engineering report; issues such as impacts to biological and cultural
resources will be evaluated as part of the Environmental Impact Report
for the project. Please contact Barbara if you have questions.
The U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers announced that planning for a restoration project in the
Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel has been approved for the next planning
phase, development of the Detailed Project Report (DPR). This document,
when completed, will serve as the basis for approving construction. Initial
tasks for developing the DPR, including a description of the Alameda Creek
flood control channel "without project" conditions, will commence
in June 2003. This step will be followed by a development of alternatives
and a recommended plan to meet project goals.
September 30, 2002
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission web site now has a page
that describes the
Trout Migration Study.
February 26, 2002
The San Francisco Chronicle published an article on
August 17, 2001
The first dams were removed from Alameda Creek. The removal of these small
swim dams in Sunol Regional Park began the restoration of Alameda Creek
to a more natural system capable of supporting steelhead.
Article from the Contra Costa Times about the
See before & after images.