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Battle Creek Confluence Project


Photo courtesy of Riley Wills of the Tehama County Resource Conservation District

Normandeau is part of a team of resource managers, river engineers, Native American Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK) practitioners, and fisheries biologists involved in a recently approved grant to restore a historic side channel along the mainstem Sacramento River near Cottonwood, California. The Sacramento River is the largest river in California and was once referred to as the “Nile of the West.”

The 3,000 ft to 8,000 ft side channel (depending on final design) will run through the forested floodplain on the right side (see image), beginning near the top of the floodplain opposite the large midchannel bar and exiting in the foreground slough. The side channel is located immediately downstream of the Battle Creek confluence. Here, millions of juvenile Chinook salmon (including endangered winter-run) are raised in the Coleman National Fish Hatchery, many of which are released directly into Battle Creek. Once completed, the side channel will provide these downstream migrants with a safe and alternate pathway to the mainstem river, which at that location (locally known as the “Barge Hole”) is known to be a predator hotspot.

Normandeau’s role in this project is focused on collaborating with design engineers on the habitat requirements of juvenile Chinook outmigrants, and pre-project monitoring of fish occupying the project area. This million-dollar planning and permitting project is sponsored by the Tehama County Resource Conservation District and funded by the California Wildlife Conservation Board and is expected to commence this year.

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