As part of the Nov 7-8th Forum Meeting in Santa Rosa, California, the California Fish Passage Forum organized a field tour of the Yellowjacket Creek Fish Passage Project, revisiting the project 5 years after its 2018 construction.
The Yellowjacket Creek project restored fish passage to almost two miles of high-quality spawning and rearing habitat above a concrete weir and spillway apron, which was a total barrier for migrating Coho salmon and steelhead. The upper reaches of Yellowjacket Creek are spring-fed, have cold water, and are perennial even during severe and successive drought years — perfect for juvenile fish.
The project constructed a series of 33 boulder step pools and installed a new fish screen at the diversion structure. This project was funded by Jackson Family Wines and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grants Program. Other members of the project team included the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Fisheries), FlowWest, and Parsons Walls.
The field tour included many for the original 2018 project development, design, and engineering personnel. Tour attendees got an in-depth overview of the background of the project, the problem to be solved, details of the construction, and perspectives on factors to promote success for similar projects. The project site has well well-established riparian vegetation, which provides bank stabilization and protection against failure. The bottom-most of the 33 step-weir pools has filled with sediment, and all other step pools remain intact and provide continuous passage up the creek. Multiple juvenile Coho were spotted at the project site.
See the 2019 TU article on the project here.