Strawberry Creek at Clam Beach Fish Passage Project

Project Lead: Trout Unlimited

Location of Project:  40.993609, -124.113184

Description of Project: The goal of this project is to provide fish passage through the existing concrete channel upstream and adjacent to the Highway 101 culvert on Strawberry Creek. The project will retrofit the existing structure by installing 13 angled concrete baffles to create a fishway through the grade control channel. The baffles will create 100% passable conditions to adult and juvenile salmonids and lamprey species to restore access to five miles of upstream spawning and rearing habitat. 

Strawberry Creek is a small coastal drainage located near McKinleyville, CA. The watershed currently supports coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii clarkii), steelhead trout (O.mykiss), and Western brook lamprey (Lampetra richardsoni). The watershed also historically supported Coho Salmon (O. kisutch) and is suspected of supporting a population of Pacific Lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus). The fish passage condition of the existing channel and culvert were assessed in 2014 by Ross Taylor and Associates. The existing culvert was identified as passable, but the concrete channel was characterized as a total barrier to all life stages of salmonids. Adult and juvenile salmonids reside year-round downstream of the concrete channel. 

The USFWS has retained Michael Love and Associates (MLA) to develop fish passage designs for the Highway 101 crossing on Strawberry Creek. In March 2017, MLA completed a Basis of Design Technical Memorandum and Design Plans for the site at the 70% level.

The project intends to provide fish passage through the concrete channel while avoiding any discernible increases in inundation of adjacent Central Avenue. Specific design objectives for the site are to increase water depth and decrease velocity within the concrete channel to meet fish passage criteria while avoiding flood impacts to the adjacent roadway and avoiding an increase in inspection and maintenance requirements. Funding from the California Fish Passage Forum will support implementation/construction costs. Most project costs have been secured by the USFWS, however, since the initial request for implementation funds, some costs associated with dewatering and onsite water management have increased. Forum funds will aid with the reimbursement of these additional costs. 

Project partners include US Fish & Wildlife Service, Michael Love and Associates, GHD Inc, and California Department of Transportation.