REDDING (AP) - The state will spend $67 million to
tear down five small dams along Battle Creek, a
tributary to the Sacramento River. The Department
of Fish and Game announced the funding Thursday,
the final piece of a two-decade effort to make it
easier for salmon and steelhead to spawn upstream.
The 12- to 15-foot concrete dams run between
Manton and the Coleman National Fish Hatchery near
"This is really the culmination of 20 years of
work," said Mike Berry, staff environmental
scientist at the department's Redding office.
Eight dams along Battle Creek were built in the
early 1900s and divert water to powerhouses that
generate electricity for 15 million Pacific Gas &
Electric Co. customers from Eureka to Bakersfield.
PG&E spokeswoman Lisa Randle said the utility will
replace the lost power with other sources but will
keep three dams in operation.
"As a company, we do think it is the right thing
to do," Randle said.
Removing five dams and adding fish ladders to the
other three will open 42 miles of spawning and
rearing habitat to wild salmon and steelhead,
But critics said the project doesn't go far enough
because the best fish habitat sits above the dams
that will be left in operation.
"We really think the most effective way to do this
is to take out all eight of the dams," said Zeke
Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast
Federation of Fishermen's Associations.