Fish Passage and Habitat Connectivity

Salmon and other migrating fish need access to freshwater habitat for spawning and rearing. In some cases, these fish need to swim thousands of miles through the oceans and rivers to reach their destination, but they are often blocked from completing their journey by man-made barriers, such as dams and culverts. These barriers can be removed or replaced with full span bridges or other crossings and will hopefully lead to an increase in our fish populations, returning them to levels we haven’t seen in the last few decades but hope to see again.

In Santa Cruz County, Steelhead populations are threatened but can be improved with good stream care. Coho salmon are critically endangered and may become locally extinct without serious efforts to improve their stream habitat.

The RCD is committed to the appropriate removal or modification of barriers that block fish passage and habitat. We work collaboratively with both public and private landowners to identify projects and secure grant funding to plan, permit and pay for removal of obstacles to fish migration.

We have led or collaborated on the following dam removals and passage improvements in Santa Cruz County.

Working with many local partners we are also exploring alternatives for improving fish passage along the Branciforte Creek Flood Control Channel in downtown Santa Cruz.

We are continually looking for new projects throughout the County.

Contact the RCD for assistance.

Conservation benefit: To aid in recovery of threatened and endangered salmon and other fish species through the removal of physical barriers that impede fish migration and block habitat.

County of Santa Cruz
City of Santa Cruz
Integrated Watershed Restoration Program
Sempervirens Fund

California State Coastal Conservancy
County of Santa Cruz

Stream Care Guide

Stream Resources library

RCD Contact: Daniel Nylen

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