This update just in from Donnie Ratcliff, FWS AFRP:

One of the highest priority barriers to fish passage in the Lower Calaveras River has been modified just in time to provide open passage for this fall’s returning Chinook salmon and threatened Central Valley steelhead.

Budiselich Flashboard Dam is a relatively small diversion dam that has historically created a large problem for migratory fish trying to move in and out of the Calaveras River.

Fish Passage was improved by implementing a series of boulder weirs and a rock ramp fishway that will allow fish and other aquatic organisms to easily scale the five to seven foot drop created by the concrete dam base. The project was implemented by the Stockton East Water District (SEWD) and was collaboratively funded by SEWD, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Anadromous Fish Restoration and National Fish Passage Programs, and the California Department of Fish and Game.

Additional partners that have provided in-kind assistance and support for the project include the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, University of the Pacific, the Fishery Foundation of California, and the Friends of the Lower Calaveras River. 

The lower portions of the Calaveras River are a complicated series of nearly 100 potential barriers to passage by aquatic species. A 2005 report by DWR identified over 35 of those barriers as high priority and most limiting to opening the river to migratory fish.

The Calaveras River Fish Group, an interdisciplinary group of experts who work collaboratively to manage fisheries and aquatic habitat in the river, further refined those results and identified the 4 highest priority barriers for repair or removal. The Budiselich site is the first of those high priority sites to be addressed.

Funding is in place and planning has begun to address the Caprini low-flow crossing, another high priority site, in the near future.

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