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Alameda Creek Fisheries Restoration Workgroup

News Archive

December 2009

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has released the final version of the Alameda Creek Aquatic Resource Monitoring Report 2007.

November 2009

The web cam is up and running for the 2009-10 season. Work group participants who would like access to the web cam should contact Andy Gunther or David Asbury at CEMAR.

July 2009

The Alameda County Water District has begun construction on two fish passage projects in the Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel. In the first project, Rubber Dam 2 Decommissioning and Foundation Modification, the ACWD has permanently removed its lowermost rubber dam from the channel. A section of the dam's foundation is being removed and a fish ladder installed to allow for fish passage under low flow conditions. The project will be finished by this fall.

The second project is the Bunting Pond Fish Screen. The ACWD is installing a fish screen at the Bunting Pond water diversion to eliminate the potential for entrainment of out-migrating juvenile steelhead at the intake location. This project will also be finished by this fall.

The Alameda Creek Alliance has posted photos of both projects.

May 2009

The Alameda Creek Alliance and the Center for Biological Diversity announced the signing a historic conservation agreement with Oliver de Silva, Inc., regarding the proposed Apperson Ridge Quarry and the existing Sunol Valley Quarry. Under the agreement, Oliver de Silva will fund and implement the cooperatively developed Apperson Ridge Conservation Plan, which will significantly reduce potential impacts of the approved Apperson Quarry operation on native wildlife species and their habitats, will provide extensive mitigation for any biological impacts, and will permanently protect and enhance habitat for special-status species in the vicinity of the project. Oliver de Silva will also fund the Sunol Quarry Conservation Plan, which will assist in fish-passage projects for steelhead trout and will significantly advance the restoration of Alameda Creek. More information is available on the Alameda Creek Alliance website.

February 2009

Jeff Miller heard from Ed Pang of CALTRANS that while there have been some internal project delays in the last couple of years, project design activities have resumed for the CALTRANS culvert at the junction of Palomares Road and Route 84. Detailed engineering designs include removal of the existing box culvert crossing at Stonybrook creek, construction of a clear-span bridge to meet fish passage requirements, and maintenance of the natural stream channel with some grading from just upstream of the structure to the confluence with Alameda Creek. CALTRANS intends to provide draft structure and grading plans for review and comment by the Work Group later in June 2009.

January 2009

Despite the dry year (see September 2008 entry below), it appears likely that at least some of the progeny of Bonnie & Clyde have survived. Pete Alexander observed trout fry in a pool in lower Stonybrook where the spawning event took place; this is well below the region where resident fry are normally seen.

December 2008

The Alameda County Water District has developed a schedule for completing several fish passage projects in the Flood Control Channel, for which $2.6 million in grant money has been raised. A brief summary (including a project map).

October 2008

A release of partially treated wastewater into Alamo Canal (in the Alameda de la Laguna drainage) from the Diablo San Ramon Services District Waste Water Treatment plant occured on Monday October 6. Also, a few days before the first rainfall event of the season provided up to 240 cfs flow at the Niles Gage. On Monday there were a large number of dead fish in the impoundment behind ACWD's upper rubber dam, and ACWD informed DFG and NOAA. DFG staff on site gave an initial estimate of 5,000 dead fish, mostly smaller fish. Water quality tests by ACWD indicated virtually zero dissolved oxygen in the waters of the impoundment. EBRPD surveys upstream found no fish dead, and adequate dissolved oxygen in the waters. ACWD is continuing to work with State and local agencies to determine the cause of the fish kill.

September 2008

Unfortunately, this has been a dry year, and the end of summer stream conditions have taken their toll on the fry produced by the spawning steelhead in March. The adults (named Bonnie and Clyde) were apparently unable to back downstream and out to the Bay. They survived in a small pool until sometime in August, when both succumbed to low water levels and likely raccoon predation. Of hundreds of young of year steelhead observed in the vicinity of spawning in May and June, by September 10, only one pool still contained juvenile trout, with only 5 fry left.

May 2008

On May 20 the Alameda County Water District held a dedication ceremony to celebrate the completion of the first set of fish screens in the Alameda Creek flood control channel, which will improve steelhead trout migration in lower Alameda Creek.

March 2008

Two steelhead moved upstream from the BART weir appear to have spawned in Stonybrook Creek! This would likely be the first spawning event for steelhead in the Alameda Creek watershed in about 50 years. The Alameda Creek Alliance has posted photos of the fish.

The Alameda County Water District and Alameda County Flood Control District were recently notified by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that they will receive a $500,000 grant to help fund the design, permitting, and environmental review for the BART Weir/Middle Dam Fish Ladder Project.

January 2008

The Phase 1 study plan has been completed. DFG and NMFS have provided permits for fish rescue and transport operations. More information is on the Alameda Creek Alliance website.

Construction of the fish screens at the upper inflatable dam have been completed. The fish screens will undergo a full commissioning test during the month of February before being put into regular service. More info is on the ACWD website.

December 2007

McBain & Trush are completing the final edits to the Phase 1 Study Plan, which will be available for download soon from this web site.

August 2007

Construction of fish screens at the major ACWD diversions behind the upper inflatable dam are nearing completion. Information on this project, and the decommissioning of the lower inflatable dam, can be found on the ACWD website.

June 2007

Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the Alameda County Water District have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to begin preliminary design work to eliminate two key barriers to migration, the BART Weir and the middle inflatable rubber dam.

September 2006

Work has begun on a restoration project aimed at battling serious streambank erosion along the Arroyo de la Laguna between Pleasanton and Sunol, using bioengineering techniques such as anchoring logs and tree roots to reduce stream velocity and control erosion. The project is located along a 1,000-foot section of the Arroyo de la Laguna, owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, about a half mile south of the Verona Road bridge between Pleasanton and Sunol. This project is a collaboration among the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service, Alameda County Resource Conservation District, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Livermore-Amador Valley's Zone 7 Water Agency, Alameda County Public Works Agency, and the Dublin San Ramon Services District.

The San Francisco Chronicle covered the September 21st ceremony commemorating the signing of the MOU and the removal of Niles and Sunol Dams.

August 2006

After many years of study, fundraising, and permit negotiations, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has begun work on the removal of Niles and Sunol Dams!

April 2006

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has certified the environmental documents for the removal of Niles and Sunol Dams. Construction activities are presently scheduled for late summer 2006. Read the press release.

March 2006

Four more adult steelhead trout migrating up Alameda Creek were rescued below the BART weir on Saturday, March 11th, and moved upstream into Niles Canyon. Two large adult male steelhead were previously moved upstream on March 4th. The fish moved Saturday were from 22 to 27 inches long, weighed from 3.7 to 8.3 pounds, and included one female and three male trout. Photos from these rescues can be found on the Alameda Creek Alliance website.

December 2005

On December 7, 2005, an article about restoration of steelhead in Alameda Creek appeared in the East Bay Express.

On December 8, 2005, an article about restoration of steelhead in Alameda Creek appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.

October 2005

Several documents that have been under development are now available.

The final report analyzing the Re-graded Channel Alternative for fish passage at the BART Weir is now available. Download a summary, or contact CEMAR to receive a CD with the report (37 MB PDF).

A Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) has been prepared for the Sunol and Niles Dam Removal Project, and is now available for public review. Public hearings will be conducted in late November and early December 2005.

Final report is now available regarding conceptual designs for removal and replacement of two crossings of Stonybrook Creek by Palomares Road (final report, 11 x 17 conceptual designs), along with a companion report describing fish passage at two private stream crossing.

June 2005

Caltrans has released a proposed negative declaration for the Highway 84 Improvement Project in Niles Canyon, which includes addressing the culvert at the mouth of Stonybrook Creek. Caltrans is accepting comments on their draft environmental review until July 13.
The Alameda Creek Alliance has prepared written comments to CALTRANS requesting that the project more effectively address fish passage at the Stonybrook culvert.
You can request the Negative Declaration from Ed Pang of Caltrans by calling (510) 286-5609 or e-mailing "ed_pang at".

May 2005

The Alameda County Water District (ACWD) has been awarded two $500,000 grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to improve steelhead migration in Alameda Creek. NFWF funded two ACWD projects that will help improve passage for steelhead trout in the Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel. In conjunction with other Alameda Creek watershed projects completed, planned, or underway, these projects will restore a steelhead run in the largest local watershed tributary to San Francisco Bay. Upward of 15 miles of stream habitat will once again be available to migrating and spawning steelhead upon the completion of all projects.

One NFWF grant will help fund the removal of the lower inflatable rubber diversion dam in the Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel, while the other grant provides for the installation of fish screens on ACWD's water supply diversion point above the upper inflatable dam. Both projects will be completed by fall of 2006. See article from the SF Chronicle.

March 2005

After two years of planning, fundraising, design, and construction, CEMAR has installed a "web cam" to watch for inmigrating adult steelhead at the BART Weir. With funding from the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the Alameda County Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Work Group now has the ability to watch for inmigrants using any high-speed internet connection. This should make it much easier to determine when fish are present. For more information contact Gordon Becker or Jeff Miller.

December 2004

Two grant proposals were submitted to the San Francisco Bay Salmonid Habitat Restoration Fund of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The proposals, prepared by the Alameda County Water District with the assistance of CEMAR, jointly request $1,000,000 for passage improvements and fish screens at the major water pumping facility. This fund was established as mitigation for Bay Bridge construction, and decisions are expected in April 2005.

June 2004

A U. C. Berkeley hydrology class has prepared a preliminary assessment of potential steelhead habitat in Sinbad Creek through Sunol.

NOAA Fisheries has released a status review of 26 salmon and steelhead species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including Central California Coast (CCC) steelhead trout. NOAA proposed including resident rainbow trout in Alameda Creek in the threatened CCC steelhead population. "Proposed ESU Listing Determinations Federal Register Notice Language" has the full text of the proposed rule. See pages 59 and 278 for the Alameda Creek reference in the proposed rule.

March 2004

The US Army Corps of Engineers has put funding on hold for 1135 projects not currently under construction, including the Alameda Creek flood control channel improvements. Corps representatives remains optimistic that money will become available in the third or fourth quarters of the current fiscal year as well as in the next fiscal year. Corps staff are consulting with agency representatives regarding pursuing additional funding mechanisms with the Corps.

February 2004

The letter and comments concerning the proposal to the SWRCB/CALFED for Prop 13 funding.

November 2003

Arroyo Mocho/Arroyo Las Positas Realignment Project
Zone 7 Water Agency began construction in summer 2003 on a project that will widen, realign, and restore sections of Arroyo Mocho and Arroyo las Positas in Livermore. The project will remove two existing fish passage barriers, add two fish ladders to steep sections of the creek, and restore a more natural stream channel with native vegetation and enhanced stream wildlife habitat.

July 2003

The SFPUC and its consultants Geomatrix and HDR Engineering have completed the DRAFT Report on the Conceptual Engineering for the Removal of Sunol and Niles Dams. The SFPUC has requested that comments from the Workgroup be provided by August 8 Barbara Palacios (the project manager) at Please keep in mind that this is an engineering report; issues such as impacts to biological and cultural resources will be evaluated as part of the Environmental Impact Report for the project. Please contact Barbara if you have questions.

April 2003

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that planning for a restoration project in the Alameda Creek Flood Control Channel has been approved for the next planning phase, development of the Detailed Project Report (DPR). This document, when completed, will serve as the basis for approving construction. Initial tasks for developing the DPR, including a description of the Alameda Creek flood control channel "without project" conditions, will commence in June 2003. This step will be followed by a development of alternatives and a recommended plan to meet project goals.

September 30, 2002

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission web site now has a page that describes the Trout Migration Study.

February 26, 2002

The San Francisco Chronicle published an article on .

August 17, 2001

The first dams were removed from Alameda Creek. The removal of these small swim dams in Sunol Regional Park began the restoration of Alameda Creek to a more natural system capable of supporting steelhead.

Article from the Contra Costa Times about the removal ceremony. See before & after images.


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CEMAR: Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration
Pursuing innovative, collaborative approaches to restore California's coastal ecosystems.

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