Juvenile Salmon Collection System
In February 2022, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) received $1.5 million in funding for the Juvenile Salmonid Collection System (JSCS) Pilot Project in the upper McCloud Arm of Shasta Lake —the first step of a program to return endangered Chinook salmon to their historical habitats.
The proposed project will evaluate the viability of collecting juvenile salmon as they emigrate out of their historical habitat above Shasta Dam. The success of this project is an integral step in the reintroduction of native salmon back into their historical spawning and rearing tributaries. Until the construction of the Shasta Dam, large numbers of Chinook salmon spawned in the Upper Sacramento, Pit, and McCloud rivers. But with the construction of the dam, Chinook salmon have been prevented from accessing high quality, high elevation, cold water spawning and rearing habitats. Climate change and drought have added threats to Chinook salmon’s long-term survival, with warmer waters impacting historic current spawning and rearing sites.
Now, these fish survive by spawning in the heavily managed and sometimes unnaturally warm Sacramento River below Shasta Dam, where their numbers have since dwindled. For instance, only about 5% of winter-run Chinook salmon eggs incubating in the river survived the 2014-2015 California drought due to warmer than usual water releases from Shasta Dam.
In search of a fish passage solution, the JSCS project will test an experimental, adaptive, and mobile guidance and capture system designed to collect out-migrating salmon. The proposed experimental evaluation approach will determine if the system creates the desired conditions to guide fish, control water temperatures, and manage debris. No fish will be used to test the collection efficiency of the system during the initial one or two years of testing. Once it is determined that the system meets or exceeds the desired conditions, collection efficiency testing with fish will be conducted.
During this pilot testing period, deployment of the collection system will occur after Labor Day each year and testing will conclude in November. The system will be launched from the Hirz Bay boat ramp, and the deployment crew will work with the public to minimize any impacts on recreational activities. (Fishing and boating adjacent to the collection system will be limited while testing proceeds.)
What are the goals of JSCS?
The goal of the project is to test a system that would improve fish passage around high-head dams through the efficient collection and downstream passage for juvenile fish migrating out to the ocean. The success of this project is an integral step in the reintroduction of native salmon back into historical spawning and rearing tributaries of the upper Sacramento River system.
The project is expected to launch in September 2022 and run for 1–2 years. Testing would be conducted from September – November with the JSCS being removed from the reservoir after testing is completed for the year.
The JSCS design and evaluation team is led by DWR in partnership with NOAA Fisheries, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, and others.
Juvenile Salmon Collection System Fact Sheet
Learn more about the JSCS Pilot Project.
Public Outreach Meeting
DWR staff will host a public outreach meeting about the Juvenile Salmonid Collection System pilot project. No RSVP is necessary.
Redding Library – Community Room
1100 Parkview Ave
Redding, CA 96001
August 15, 2022
5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
JSCS CEQA Information:
Mitigated Negative Declaration