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Efficient Fish Rescues

After some major winter storms one can see steelhead return to Alameda Creek after spending a few years in the ocean. Unfortunately, they cannot migrate upstream to spawn because of a large flood control structure and an inflatable dam in the channel. The Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the Alameda County Water District are collaborating to construct a fish ladder that will allow migrating steelhead to pass over the two facilities in the channel and continue their migration upstream. This project should be completed by 2012.

web cam Meanwhile, a group of volunteers (under the supervision of experienced fisheries scientists) are capturing migrating fish (see video, above), releasing them at a site where they can continue their migration (under permits from the California Department of Fish and Game and the National Marine Fisheries Service). One of the challenges faced in this effort is detecting the presence of the fish. It was very time-consuming, and sometimes not possible, for the volunteers to go down to the Creek to see if fish were present.

To increase our capacity to detect fish at the migration barrier, CEMAR designed and installed a "web cam" that allows volunteers to monitor for fish arrival using the Internet instead of having to travel to the Creek.

This solar powered device (see photo at right) transmits a wireless signal to a nearby county building, where an Internet connection is available that the volunteers can access using their own computers. This system actually allowed the first migrating steelhead in 2008 to be identified by an ex-CEMAR from his desk in Madison, WI, where he is a graduate student!

Because of this program, and the hard work of the team rescuing fish, we can report that in 2008 steelhead trout spawned in the Alameda Creek watershed for the first time in 50 years.

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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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