Fish Sniffer Magazine Issue 4021 | Page 10

10 Nobember 26 , 2021 MAP FEATURE VOL . 40 • ISS . 21

RANCHO CORDOVA – As hundreds of Chinook salmon congregated in the rock -lined channel at the entrance to the new Nimbus Fish Hatchery ladder , the Bureau of Reclamation and California Department of Fish and Wildlife ( CDFW ) on November 2 held a short ribbon cutting ceremony marking the completion of the hatchery ’ s new Fish Passage Project . Before the ceremony , hatchery staff took over 700 salmon into the facility in just 20 minutes , according to Gary Novak , hatchery manager . The hatchery trapped a total of 1800 salmon and took over 650,000 green eggs in the two first spawning sessions at the facility after the ladder was open . State and federal officials said the modernized ladder and flume

The new 1900-foot-long Nimbus Fish Passage Project consists of a rock-lined channel , weir fish ladder and concrete flume . Photo by DAN BACHER , Fish Sniffer Staff

Chinook Salmon Surge Into New Hatchery Ladder on American River

Dan Bacher caught this beautiful steelhead on one of many drift boat trips with his long time fishing buddy Rodney Fagundes of Watsonville in the American River below the Nimbus Fish Hatchery .
Photo by DAN BACHER , Fish Sniffer Staff
fishway will help fall Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead returning to the hatchery . The 1,900-foot-long passageway consists of a rock-lined channel , weir fish ladder , and concrete flume . The new project features a visitor plaza with underwater public viewing windows . Construction began in spring of 2020 and was completed in October 2021 . Speakers at the event included David Palumbo , Deputy Commissioner , Bureau of Reclamation ; Ernest Conant , Regional Director , Bureau of Reclamation ; Chuck Bonham , Director , California Department of Fish and Wildlife ; and Drew Lessard , Central California Area Office Manager , Bureau of Reclamation . The officials said the project , which took ten years of planning and construction to complete , creates “ a more reliable and safer system ” for collecting adult fall-run Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead trout at the Nimbus Hatchery . “ We are very
A new mural adorns the fish feed bins at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Sacramento County .
CDFW photo by George Gilmore . pleased to complete this important project to benefit fall-run Chinook salmon and steelhead populations ,” said Reclamation Regional Director Ernest Conant . “ We appreciate our long-standing partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to help with the design and construction as well as with Nimbus Hatchery operations .” “ Not only will this new and improved fish ladder greatly improve our hatchery operations and efficiencies at Nimbus , we ’ ve moved the ladder entrance to lessen the disturbance for those salmon and steelhead spawning naturally in the river ,” said CDFW Director Charlton H . Bonham . “ We ’ re proud to be part of a project that simultaneously benefits both our hatchery operations and wild-spawned fish and improves the visitor experience along the river and ladder for our Sacramento-area constituents who love to tour this facility , even though it has been closed recently due to COVID-19 .”
Bonham also announced CDFW ’ s Nimbus staff have been tasked with increasing hatchery production to 4.5 million salmon smolts this year by producing 500,000 additional fish to “ combat effects of the drought .” “ Chinook salmon returns to the American River declined significantly during California ’ s last drought ,” said Jason Julienne , supervisor for CDFW ’ s North Central Region fish hatcheries . “ We ’ re using those observations and that experience to get ahead of any population declines this time around by increasing production to help sustain this important salmon run .” However , California Sportfishing Protection Alliance fishery biologist Tom Cannon said in his California Fisheries Blog that “ American River fall-run salmon escapement has dropped after recent drought years and would be expected to fall again in 2022 and 2023 as a consequence of the 2020-2021 drought period .” In a November 2 , 2021 post , the