West Tule Creek Diversion
Project Lead: Water Resource and Training Center
Location of Project: 40.52537093, -123.23820333
Description of Project: The Water Resource and Training Center (WRTC) in coordination with project partners propose to address fish passage limitations and environmental compliance standards at the Evans Range diversion located on West Tule Creek, a tributary to Hayfork Creek. Fish passage barriers are prolific throughout the Hayfork Basin, consisting of irrigation diversions, culvert crossings, and concrete sills (NOAA 2014). These barriers restricting 1.5 miles of anadromous habitat during various salmonid life stages, and often times do not meet state and federal fish passage requirements. The Evans Ranch Diversion is located on USFS land approximately 1.67 miles upstream from the confluence with Hayfork Creek. The diversion consists of a channel spanning flash-board dam set on a concrete sill that diverts flow through a box-set fish-screen and into a piped conveyance system. This diversion structure creates an approximate 18″ high full passage barrier during low flow conditions and the screen can impinge juvenile salmonids due to a lack of hydraulic function.
Completion of this project will result in immediate benefits to all life stages of salmonid species, as it will allow for volitional access to rearing and spawning habitat on Tule Creek above river mile 1.67. Long term measurable benefits to salmonids will be demonstrated by the extent of habitat occupied and utilized above the point of diversion, and the effectiveness of the fish protection measures.
The Forum’s funding will be utilized to create 100% design for improved fish passage, diversion method, and screening. The Nature Conservancy has provided matching contributions for initial concept development, project coordination, and landowner outreach. An additional component of this project includes in-stream flow improvements via on farm efficiencies, which are currently under development. The landowners are committed to this project and will contribute matching funds for upgrading the plumbing on their system including labor, parts, and heavy equipment use.
Specific funding outcomes and deliverables include:
- Final designs for improved diversion method
- Final designs for environmental compliant fish-screen
- Continued project coordination and outreach
Project partners include California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Scott River Water Trust, Samantha Chilcote Consluting, Cascade Stream Solutions, and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).