Clean the Dam Ladders UPDATE

Published 2/7/2022  |  South Yuba River Citizens League
Daguerre Point Dam fish ladders

On January 13, SYRCL released a call to the public for signatures on a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers asking them to clean and maintain the fish ladders at Daguerre Point Dam. On average, fewer than 3,000 Chinook salmon return to the lower Yuba River annually, which is a 99.5% decrease from the historic population size. A lack of regular fish ladder maintenance is impeding the ability of these threatened fish from being able to pass over the dam and access suitable spawning habitat critical to their survival.

During the 20 days the letter was open, we collected 700 signatures from 28 different states, including California and nearby states Washington and Nevada as well as states as far away as Alaska, Texas, and the District of Columbia. Nevada City, Grass Valley, and the Sacramento region generated the greatest number of signatures.

The letter also received support from a number of regional and national organizations, including Friends of the River, Foothills Water Network, Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter, Sacramento River Council, Trout Unlimited, Planning and Conservation League, Northern California Council of Fly Fishers International, Tuolumne River Trust, California Outdoors, Restore Hetch Hetchy, Protect American River Canyons, and Coast Action Group.

The level of support was also evident in the many comments that emphasized the importance of taking action to save this keystone species.

Here are just a few comments collected from our Clean the Dam Ladders petition:

This is very important- the public is watching. You must maintain the ladders. Thank you.” (Tacy Hahn, Nevada City, CA)

We need to do everything possible to restore what little habitat remains for our steelhead and salmon and facilitate their passage upstream of Daguerre point dam. I want there to be fish for my children and grandchildren to see spawning on this river.” (Robin Brandon, Penn Valley, CA)

Salmon are incredible creatures who deserve the basics: access to spawning grounds! They weather too many challenges over their life to be stopped at the last moment by insufficiently maintained ladders on an unnecessary dam.” (Kyle McNeil)

In past years when I’ve kayaked down the Yuba River, I portaged around the south side of the Daguerre Dam. Each year I did this, it was disturbing to see the concrete pools of the fish ladder filled with debris, and I thought, why isn’t this fish ladder being maintained. I hope it can be corrected.” (Randy Smith, Sacramento, CA)

Fish are an imperative part of our ecosystem. Without a healthy fish population, several aspects of a riparian ecosystem are degraded. This also effects farms downstream and food supply in the long term. Protecting the environment is also safeguarding our communities in many complex, nuanced ways.” (Shiree Rezendez, Grass Valley, CA)

As a founder of SYRCL, we have been working to restore the Yuba River since 1983. Please help us recreate salmon passage!” (Joseph Bell, Grass Valley, CA)

Our work to help this threatened species is far from done. Stay up-to-date and get involved in advocating for Yuba salmon by signing up for our newsletter.