Use of Pumping as an Alternative to Gravity Diversion at Red Bluff Diversion Dam, California

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Fish Passage Policy and Technology: Proceedings of a Symposium

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Bates K;


American Fisheries Society


Red Bluff Diversion Dam is located on the Sacramento River, near the city of Red Bluff, California. Completed in 1964, the dam which includes fish ladders on both abutments, adversely affects both upstream and downstream fish passage. Accelerated declines of salmon populations in the Sacramento River in the 1980's have stimulated activities to further enhance the fishery. Starting in 1986, the gates of the dam have been raised from November through April (a period with reduced diversions) to expedite passage. Pumping is required to make deliveries when the gates are raised. A planning study is ongoing to determine optimum modifications that would improve year-round passage and provide year-round deliveries to the canals. Various combinations of improved fish ladders and/or extended periods with raised gates (and increased pumping) are being evaluated. Use of Archimedes screw pumps and screw/centrifugal pumps (which have the potential to lift fish with low mortality) are being considered. A pilot pumping plant has been designed to evaluate pump performance and establish features for a larger plant. The pilot plant includes two 10-ft diameter Archimedes screw pumps each with a discharge capacity of 100 ft3/s and one 42-in screw/centrifugal pump with a discharge capacity of 100 ft3/s. A 4-year fisheries and engineering study of the pilot plant, which will be operational by January 1995, is anticipated.

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