Fish passage improvement project on Sacramento River breaks ground

DENVER, CO, April 6, 2010 -- March 23 marked the groundbreaking for the Fish Passage Improvement Project at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam (RBDD) on the Sacramento River...

Pennwell web 300 400
DENVER, CO, April 6, 2010 -- March 23 marked the groundbreaking for the Fish Passage Improvement Project at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam (RBDD) on the Sacramento River. The groundbreaking commemorates a milestone in the 10-year project between CH2M HILL, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the RBDD and the associated Tehama-Colusa Canal, and the Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority (TCCA), which operates and maintains the delivery system.

TCCA provides water to 150,000 acres of irrigated agriculture on the western side of the Sacramento Valley.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor kicked off the event. Schwarzenegger credited the project with creating approximately 1,200 jobs. After the event, Connor told the Redding Record Searchlight "This project represents almost 40 years of efforts by entities to find a balanced solution that improves fish passage and sustains the reliability of agricultural water deliveries."

The $230 million improvement project began with a need to improve fish passage of several salmonid species and now the green sturgeon, which was recently listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. CH2M HILL began working on the preliminary design and draft Environmental Impact Study/Environmental Impact Report in 2000. The project was on hold for several years while the courts resolved a number of legal issues.

Once the environmental documents were finalized in 2008, the CH2M HILL design team, spearheaded by project manager Peter Rude, design manager Doug Harris, and principal fishery engineering technologist Bob Gatton, got to work on the fish screen, canal, access bridge, and associated civil design work. The team worked in conjunction with USBR, which designed the siphon on Red Bluff Creek and the pumping plant. NewFields conducted the permitting work.

"CH2M HILL and USBR formed an integrated team to complete the complex design on a tight schedule," said Peter Rude. "The project design was fast paced, with final designs beginning in October 2008 and finishing in October 2009. TCCA and USBR are very pleased with the project to date."

The project is scheduled to be on line in May 2012 with final completion later that year.

"TCCA supplies water to 150,000 acres of irrigated agriculture in three counties worth approximately $250 million per year. Moving this project forward ensures that these 150,000 acres don't dry up, preserving the family farms, and the economies of these three rural counties," added Rude.

Headquartered in Denver, Colo., employee-owned CH2M HILL is a global leader in consulting, design, design-build, operations and program management for government, civil, industrial and energy clients. With $6.3 billion in revenue and 25,000 employees, CH2M HILL is an industry-leading program management, construction management and design firm, as ranked by Engineering News-Record (2009). The firm's work is concentrated in the areas of water, transportation, environmental, energy and power, and facilities and infrastructure. The firm has long been recognized as a most-admired company and leading employer. Visit


More in Environmental