The Juvenile Salmonid Collection System (JSCS) is an experimental, adaptive, and mobile guidance and capture system designed to collect out-migrating juvenile salmonids at the head of a reservoir, just downstream from where rivers enter the reservoir. Given its adaptability, the JSCS may be considered for other reintroduction efforts above high-head dams in California.
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) with the assistance of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), are developing the JSCS Pilot Project (proposed Project) to determine if the system can be a critical part of the effort to reintroduce native anadromous salmonids back into historical spawning and rearing tributaries of the upper Sacramento River system. DWR also acknowledges the Winnemem Wintu Tribe (WWT) as a key partner on the proposed Project and appreciates that the WWT have shared their knowledge and understanding of the value of revitalizing the salmon population, which has informed the development of this document and benefits the project through continued coordination and partnership.
NOAA Fisheries vulnerability assessments have determined that the future viability of anadromous migratory salmon is at high risk due to impacts from climate change (Crozier et al. 2019). Thus, reintroduction into cold water habitats upstream of large Central Valley reservoirs is a high priority for long-term conservation and recovery of listed Central Valley salmon and steelhead, as outlined in NOAA Fisheries’ Central Valley Recovery Plan, the State’s 2016 Water Action Plan (referenced by the new 2020 Water Resilience Portfolio) and Sacramento Valley Salmon Resiliency Strategy, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) State Wildlife Action Plan and associated California State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) and the WWT Salmon Restoration Plan.
The proposed Project would evaluate the feasibility and viability of collecting juvenile anadromous salmonids as they emigrate out of historical habitat upstream from Shasta Dam (Figure 1-1). The success of the proposed Project is an integral, yet independent, step in the reintroduction effort.
The proposed Project does not reintroduce fish or use fish for testing; it aims to demonstrate the feasibility and viability of the JSCS to provide proper conditions for capturing juvenile salmonids by altering flow patterns and velocities and controlling water temperatures. If successful, a separate, subsequent project(s) would be implemented for additional testing to confirm the ability of the JSCS to capture fish and to determine which fish would be reintroduced.
The Study Area for the proposed Project is within the McCloud Arm of Shasta Reservoir. The exact location for each year of the proposed Project (Project footprint) is not known because reservoir pool (water surface) elevations vary year to year in the September through November target period for deployment. The actual location of the proposed Project would be determined based on: 1) the actual reservoir elevation estimated in the summer months—and refined in the weeks—prior to installation; 2) consideration for the specifics of installation feasibility and site geometries; 3) presence of biological resources; and 4) collaboration with the WWT, to avoid any sensitive cultural and/or biological resources in the area that are considered important to the tribal community.