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More than one mile of the north channel of the lower Yuba River will be closed to all watercraft starting April 1 through early December for habitat enhancement work as part of Yuba Water Agency’s Hallwood Side Channel and Floodplain Restoration Project.
The north channel of the river will be closed from Daguerre Point Dam to 6,000 feet downstream until December 1, 2021. Signs will be placed at popular entry points along the river, alerting boaters of the closure. The south channel will remain open to shallow-draft watercraft.
"We understand that the closure is inconvenient for people who enjoy fishing and recreating on the Yuba River, but it is crucial for everyone’s safety and critical for the work we are doing to improve salmon and steelhead habitat to have the intended impact," said Jeff Mathews, Yuba Water’s habitat enhancement project manager who is helping lead the effort.
The Hallwood Side Channel and Floodplain Restoration Project is designed to enhance the lower Yuba River ecosystem by increasing available juvenile salmon habitat to improve the natural production of Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead. Both are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Enhancing the habitat will give young salmon and steelhead areas to hide from predators, so that they’re able to eat and grow in preparation for their journey out to the ocean. The project will also reduce flood risk through lower water surface elevations and velocities during flood events.
The first phase of the project recently wrapped up and includes 89 acres of juvenile floodplain rearing habitat, providing 1.7 miles of perennial side channels and 3.7 miles of seasonal side channels, alcoves and swales. The second phase of work will begin on April 1, 2021.
When the entire project is complete, the lower Yuba River will have up to 157 enhanced acres of seasonally inundated riparian floodplain, approximately 1.7 miles of perennial side channels, and approximately 7 miles of seasonally inundated side channels, alcoves and swales. Enhancements will be made through land surface changes, riparian planting and placement of large woody material embedded to simulate a more natural river at key locations. The total project cost is estimated to be $12 million. Funding has been provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Proposition 68 grant program and Yuba Water.
The Hallwood Side Channel and Floodplain Restoration Project is a collaborative effort among many different organizations, including USFWS, cbec eco engineering, South Yuba River Citizens League, Cramer Fish Sciences, Teichert, Western Aggregates and Yuba Water.