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Battle Creek restoration agreed

Restoration of 42 miles of salmon and steelhead along Battle Creek in Northern California, US, is due to be undertaken soon by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), several government resource agencies and a variety of stakeholders.

Historically, Battle Creek was one of the most important Chinook salmon spawning grounds in the Sacramento Valley, but water flows have been affected by irrigation diversions and power dams.

The restoration proposal includes:

•Increasing the minimum instream flows from the present 3-5ft3/sec year-round, to

35-88ft3/sec, to be adjusted seasonally.

•Decommissioning five diversion dams — Wildcat, Coleman, South, Lower Ripley Creek and Soap Creek — and transferring their associated water rights to other uses.

•Screening and enlarging ladders at three diversion dams — Inskip, Eagle Canyon and N Battle Creek.

•Constructing new tailrace connectors that eliminate

mixing of waters from the North Fork and South Fork sectors, and reducing redundant screening.

The total cost of the project will be US$50.7M, of which PG&E’s share will be 40%. Once the parties sign a formal agreement, work will begin on final engineering, environmental assessments, permit processing, and pursuit of appropriate FERC approvals. Lead agencies for the state and federal environmental review processes will be the Bureau of Reclamation and the State Water Resources Control Board.

Construction work may begin in 2000.