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    “Connecting Headwaters to the Ocean – Designing for Fish Passage and Enhanced Instream Flow“

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    Ventura County-CA: Southern steelhead need unobstructed passage throughout the length of the Santa Clara River, from the ocean to the upstream areas of tributary creeks, to complete their lifecycle and reproduce.  Experts on fish and water issues will explain how much flow is needed to provide minimum depth for fish when they migrate, and how to restore passage at man-made barriers that impede fish movement, at ‘Water Talk: Designing for Fish Passage and Instream Flow’ on Jun 29, 6:30pm at Patagonia (235 W. Santa Clara Street, Ventura).

    “Half of the ocean-going anadromous salmon species in California are on the road to extinction within the next 50 years,” reports Candice Meneghin, CalTrout Conservation Manager, “Our recent report SOS II: Fish in Hot Water (http://caltrout.org/sos/) reveals dams are a major problem because they disrupt the historic pattern of in stream flows as well as block fish migration.”   In the Santa Clara River, operation of Pyramid and Santa Felicia Dams (on Piru Creek) and Freeman Diversion (downstream of Santa Paula on the Santa Clara River mainstem) change the timing, magnitude, duration and frequency of historical stream flows.  Flow release and capture at these water utilities, especially during average or low water years, need to fit with natural rainfall occurrences so minimum in stream depth occurs for fish passage. 

    The first speaker at the Water Talk will be Bill Trush, Co-Director of the Humboldt State University River Institute presenting scientific results on what hydrological changes have occurred in nearby southern California Rivers and why these now threaten steelhead populations.  A second speaker will be Tom Hicks, a California water law and conservation attorney with special expertise in stream flow enhancement, who will discuss water transfers and explain case studies used to increase in stream flows. The Santa Clara River Steelhead Coalition will also be showcasing their outreach video Restoring Resilience that introduces member and participant organizations, the steelhead habitat restoration actions underway on the watershed, and how this promotes connectivity from the headwaters to the ocean for steelhead recovery.

    Santa Clara River main stem at 12th street bridge, Candice Meneghin

    Program attendees will understand more about designing projects on the Santa Clara River for fish passage, including restoring minimum flows, locations of existing impediments that block migration, and tools and programs available to help integrate steelhead recovery into multi-benefit projects that support fish, water and people.  The program is an excellent opportunity for students, residents and advocates to learn from science-based, solutions-oriented professionals involved with environmental protection and sustainability.

    All Water Talks are free, open to the public and hosted by the Santa Clara River Steelhead Coalition whose mission is to protect and restore wild Southern steelhead and its habitat in the Santa Clara River watershed. The Coalition is chaired and coordinated by California Trout, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring resilient wild fish in healthy waters for a better California.

    For more information contact Nina Danza, California Trout Project Coordinator at [email protected].

    Vern Freeman Diversion, Mike Weir

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