Major oz wrote:
>>Yesterday evening the Santa Clara County Water District
>>held a public comment meeting about their plan to
>>replace the 40" waterfall on Stevens Creek with four
>>8" falls and rest pools for better steelhead migration.
>There are steelhead in Santa Clara County?
>Details please -- you have touched a sensitive nerve.
Stevens Creek has been a seasonal flow watershead as long as I
have lived here. Back in the late 1980s, for a breif period I
to work along the creekbed. It was dry and flat with big berry
bushes growing along the sides. Hard to believe that two foot
long fish could ever swim in the thing. The source of the creek
is up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, only twenty or thirty miles
away at the most.
I didn't really know until last night, but what happened was a couple
of years ago the Santa Clara County steelhead run was declared
threatened or endangered or something like that, and the Water
District started looking for something to do to help. I think the
status opened the spigot on some funding sources, which helped
the project feasable.
It turns out that the fish have great difficulty getting over the water
control features that were not built with them in mind. That 40"
waterfall is enough to keep lots of them from using the stream.
The naturalist expects that lowering that jump will double or
tripple the number of steelhead spawing in Stevens Creek.
He explained that what the steelhead do is wait in San Francisco
Bay until there is a "peak flow event", at which point they head
the river as far as they can get. If it is far enough they spawn
head out to sea, and if they can't get far enough then they go
out and try something else during the next rainstorm or whatever.
Steelhead spend as little time in the fresh water as possible, because
once they are acclimated to the sea they don't eat in the rivers.
upstream takes a lot of energy, and spawning really takes a lot
energy. They just want to do it and head for the sea. The guy
said that unlike salmon, steelhead can spawn every year or two,
so ones that like the new lower weir could be back again.
Apparently the fish have some choice in the matter of where they
go to breed. They have a predisposition to go back to where they
were born, but if that option is not available to them, they will
something else. The naturalist was very sure that there would be
more fish using the creek if we only made it easier.
The project manager explained that there would be some noize
during the demolition of the current creekbed feature, and the
crew to build the new weir would be five to ten people. The only
noticable impact of the construction will be a pen in the cul de
at the end of Central Avenue, which they got a permit from the
city for. In that pen will be two portapotties along with
else, so the construction workers won't be bothering the rest of
Construction will be finished by about October 15th. (Usually
the rain doesn't start before the middle of November.)
Money for the project comes from a number of different sources,
including the fish and game service, the Water Districts habitat
restoration fund. The project will cost about half a million
which somebody said was "dirt cheap for what we get". The current
low bidder on the project is a Mountain View firm whose name I
didn't catch with much experience pouring concrete for the
government. They picked this project to do this year because it
got them more "bang for the buck" then any of the other habitat
restoration projects they could have used the money on. If it is
successfull, then they will do similar projects in other places
the county over the following years.
I gave off vibes that I like the idea a lot. I'm hoping it happens.
Once the thing is built, I will be down there some rainy day or
night, watching to see those fish getting value out of my tax
Posted to alt.fan.heinlein on June 12th, 2002