Deer Creek

Deer Creek is a major tributary of the Sacramento River near the town of Vina in Tehama County.  Deer Creek features unique habitat that makes it a very important resource for anadromous fish in the Sacramento Valley because of the natural production of spring-run Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. There are 3 diversion dams and 4 screened diversion ditches in Deer Creek. Deer Creek Irrigation District Dam (DCID) is the uppermost dam on Deer Creek. DCID is a flashboard dam with a screened diversion.

Recognizing the importance of irrigation needs and providing unimpeded fish passage, we worked with DWR’s Northern Region and a technical advisory committee to develop a preferred alternative for fish passage at this site. We completed a preliminary engineering technical report for the design of a nature-like fishway, which will provide salmonids unimpeded access to over 25 miles of prime spawning habitat upstream of the DCID diversion dam, while having no adverse effect on DCID’s diversion. The DCID Fish Passage Improvement Project is in the final design stage. Next steps are seeking funding and acquiring the required permits for construction.

Inadequate flow is also a significant problem in Deer Creek. DWR, CDFW, and DCID are working together to finalize an environmental flow enhancement program in lower Deer Creek. The goal of the enhancement program is to increase fish transportation flows downstream of DCID during irrigation season. 


Is this an Active Project or Completed Project? Active

Watershed: Deer Creek

Why is the project needed? What are the project goals?

Reduced instream flows due to irrigation demands and structural damage to the apron of the DCID dam during the 1997 flood event has contributed to the difficulties of upstream migration. 

The goals of the project are to improve fish passage at the DCID dam while ensuring water supply reliability for DCID.


This project is in the final design stage.


The technical advisory committee for the project is composed of representatives from DWR, DCID, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).