NID water project aids fish migration around Lincoln

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A fish passage project that will allow fall-run Chinook salmon and steelhead trout to migrate farther upstream on Auburn Ravine Creek was approved April 27 by the Nevada Irrigation District (NID) board of directors. The project, planned for late summer, will be located below NID’s Auburn Ravine water measurement station, west of Highway 65 in the city of Lincoln. NID uses the station to measure flows to Lincoln, the Placer County Water Agency and South Sutter Water District. NID Maintenance Manager John Kirk said the work will restore a 200-foot stretch of Auburn Ravine that is eroded and overgrown. The creek banks will be tapered back and transitional pools will be built into the creek bed. Gentle one- and two-foot steps will ease the upstream transition to the station’s existing eight-foot barrier. Carrie Monohan, Ph.D., NID’s consulting scientist, said the project will open more than a mile of suitable upstream habitat to migrating fish. Said to be the first of its kind in the area, the project is a collaborative effort of Placer County, CALFED, the Bella Vista Foundation, Granite Bay Flycasters and NID. NID is the lead agency and will contribute up to $250,000 to the project. “Watershed protection is an important part of the district’s mission and we want to do our part to make sure we have clean and healthy watersheds,” said NID General Manager Ron Nelson. The work will be funded through the district’s designated watershed improvement fund, Nelson said. The district is also looking into a second project that would modify its upstream Hemphill Diversion Dam to allow fish passage through an additional seven-mile stretch of Auburn Ravine. As part of their consideration, NID directors approved environmental studies and a mitigation and monitoring program for the fish passage project, which is located in a city of Lincoln greenway near a residential area. A committee review was scheduled for this time next year to see how the fish passage is working.