Like in many states, dams are a polarizing subject throughout California, particularly in the northern part of the state.
Further south along the Central Coast, a Carmel River dam removal – the San Clemente Dam – has finally started to impact steelhead numbers coming in from the Pacific four years after its removal. Here’s Paul Rogers of the San Jose Mercury News with details:
The 106 foot-tall dam had been located 18 miles up river from Monterey Bay. In 2016, the first year after it was removed, researchers found that no steelhead trout, an iconic type of rainbow trout listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, swam past its former site to a tagging location seven miles upriver. By 2017, seven steelhead had made the trip. Last year, the count was 29. So far this year, 123 steelhead have traveled upriver.
“We’re seeing progress. I’m surprised that it has been happening in such a short time,” said Aman Gonzalez, who managed the dam removal project for California-American Water, the company that owned it.
The more of the muscular, silvery fish make it upstream, the more the species can expand back into its traditional range, scientists say, increasing the number of places where the fish can spawn and produce more babies in the years ahead.
Promising news indeed.