Klamath-Cascades Fish Passage Advisory Committee 12 years of accomplishments to improve passage for fish and wildlife in northeastern California

Richard Lis, Calif. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

The Klamath-Cascades Fish Passage Advisory Committee (KC FishPAC) began in 2007 to address the need for the remediation of fish barriers on highways managed by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in response to the mandate of California Senate Bill 857 (Statutes of 2005), in Lassen, Modoc, Plumas Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity Counties. Barrier remediation, initially required determination of barrier priorities, assessment of upstream habitat, evaluation of possible upstream and downstream barriers, upcoming project structure replacement needs by Caltrans, determination of approximate project costs, and funding mechanisms and availability. Collaboration with funding partners has been an emphasis of the KC FishPAC because costs were often beyond those allocated solely by Caltrans. A summary of the projects accomplished by the KC FishPAC in the past 12 years will be presented, along with their benefits to fish and wildlife movement. Two examples will be presented to highlight different aspects of fish passage barrier removal and the different funding mechanisms utilized. One on Fort Goff Creek (Siskiyou County) to remove a barrier for coho salmon required collaboration with many agencies and partners. Another, Ditch Gulch (Trinity County) is a Caltrans project to improve fish passage and wildlife movement and has been implemented solely by Caltrans. Upcoming projects and priorities of the KC FishPAC will be presented and discussion of the expansion of the FishPAC to include wildlife movement needs. The KC FishPAC has served as a motivating and cohesive element to bring the collaborating agencies together to make steady progress on eliminating barriers on complex projects that often take many years to complete. The analysis and removal of fish and wildlife barriers requires a balance of fish and wildlife access needs, within the framework of the existing transportation corridor that was overlain upon the local ecological system. The KC FishPAC group was often motivated by innovative Caltrans hydrologists and engineers in Caltrans District 2 who were alert to opportunities for fish passage improvement and brought them to the attention of the committee. Thus, the KC FishPAC has consistently had a balance of members with specialized knowledge of ecology and biology on one side to be countered with specialized knowledge of transportation and hydrology. It has been the balance within the committee that has led to the number of successful projects to benefit of fish and wildlife movement along with improved transportation structures.

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