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Satus Creek Dam Removal

The Yakima Nation recieved a federal grant to remove an abandoned dam on Satus Creek, which feeds the Yakima River.  This project will open 80 miles of the creek and its tributaries to migrating steelhead.  The dam, which measures approximately 135′ accross and 4′ high, is the first of 16 other barrier removal projects funded through a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and American Rivers.

Below is an article on the project written up in the Yakima Herald.

PUBLISHED ON Friday, May 02, 2008 AT 12:05AM

Yakamas will tear down dam on Satus Creek
by David Lester
Yakima Herald-Republic

A small, abandoned dam that impedes migration of steelhead in Satus Creek, the basin’s biggest producer of the threatened fish species, will be removed under a federal grant to the Yakama Nation.

Tearing out the old concrete structure will open an estimated 80 miles of habitat for steelhead in the creek and its tributaries, officials said.

Steelhead, an ocean-going trout species, has been listed as threatened since 1999. About 3,000 steelhead returned to the Yakima River Basin to spawn this year, with about half of the fish entering the lower stretch of Satus Creek.

Satus Creek drains a wide area on the Yakama Nation Reservation and enters the Yakima River south of Granger.

The $30,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is part of a partnership with American Rivers, a nationwide conservation group working to restore healthy rivers.

Amy Kober, communications director in American Rivers Northwest office in Seattle, said the old concrete dam is 135 feet long and 4 feet tall. The dam has a fish ladder on one bank that is often plugged with trash.

The dam is a significant barrier to fish movement during low flow periods in the spring and fall and can affect both adults and juvenile fish.

Adults are known to congregate below the dam at low flows, making them susceptible to predators and poachers, she said.

Removing the dam will end those delays and should lead to more steelhead nests and more fish production, she said.

The project is the latest of 16 barrier removal projects in the Northwest for which the federal agency has made available more than $400,000 under the partnership with American Rivers. The grants are generally small, ranging from $25,000 to $50,000.


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