- Colonel William LeadySouth Pacific Division Commander, United States Army Corps of Engineers
Protect the Yuba River's Salmon from Dams
The Yuba River is one of California’s last refuges for spring-run Chinook salmon and provides drinking and agricultural water and recreation opportunities to surrounding communities.
However, two federal dams have damaged river health and blocked access to more than 120 miles of historic salmon and steelhead habitat for 70 years.
Unless the Army Corps of Engineers mandates that fish passage be provided at these dams, the Northern Sierra’s salmon and steelhead will edge closer to extinction.
Tell the Army Corps to provide fish passage at the dams to help save the important salmon and steelhead runs.
- South Pacific Division Commander, United States Army Corps of Engineers
Colonel William Leady
As a supporter of American Rivers and the South Yuba River Citizens League, I am writing to request that the Army Corps of Engineers embrace its responsibility to protect and restore wild salmon on the Yuba River in California. The Corps' dams on the Yuba have long outlived their authorized purpose of debris control. Today, they are a principle cause of death of three iconic and economically important migratory fish species--Spring-run Chinook, steelhead trout, and green sturgeon--all protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. These dams are owned by taxpayers and ought to be managed for the benefit of public resources, including self-sustaining fisheries.
The Corps of Engineers owns and operates Daguerre Point Dam and Englebright Dam, located at approximately 12 miles and 24 miles, respectively, upstream from the confluence of the Feather River. The Corps has recognized that the antiquated fish ladders at Daguerre Point Dam cause "take" of listed species and are unable to adequately allow fish passage during the majority of their migration. Furthermore, fish that successfully migrate above Daguerre Point are completely blocked from more than 100 miles of historic and suitable salmon habitat by Englebright Dam. In their draft Recovery Plan for endangered salmonids in the Central Valley, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) prioritized passage above the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Englebright Dam on the Yuba as the primary recovery action in the Northern Sierra region necessary to avert extinction of Spring-run Chinook.
Currently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is actively reviewing four hydropower licenses within the Yuba River basin, including two licensees currently operating hydropower facilities and re-regulating outlets at Englebright Dam. Adequate volitional fish passage, or possible dam removal, that walks these species back from the edge of extinction by reuniting them with their habitat should be a shared responsibility, with the Corps taking a lead role in protecting these federally threatened fish. I urge you to complete a job that was begun in 1998: determine and implement the most effective fish passage solution for the two Corps dams on the Yuba River.
Thank you for considering my request.
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