Skip to Content

Dam demolition benefits endangered salmon

By Phil Gomez

Click here for updates on this story

    DAVENPORT, California (KSBW) — The removal of a century-old dam in Santa Cruz County will now benefit endangered fish by supplying a habitat for them to spawn.

The demolition of the Mill Creek Dam opens a door that’s been closed for more than 100 years to endangered fish, like Coho Salmon to spawn upstream.

Heavy equipment was brought in this week to remove the Mill Creek Dam.

“The dam would have been spanning the creek right down over there. So, we were able to pull the sediment from behind the dam bring it up and shift it around so the creek could flow unimpeded,” said Sempervirens Fund Land Steward Manager Ian Rowbotham.

The key to this project was releasing old sediment trapped behind the dam.

It’s described as durable limestone cobble that Coho Salmon rely on.

“It’s critical because it’s an aspect that’s been lacking downstream of the dam here. Salmon rely on gravel and sand to be able to lay their eggs on to be able to grow p into the next generation of fish,” said Rowbotham.

The Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project have released 25,000 Coho Salmon hatchlings annually.

Anything that will help in their survival is a welcome addition.

“That’s a big deal for us, any kind of impediment the fish passage in the Santa Cruz Mountains is something we try to address and removing those barriers to fish movement is helpful,” said Monterey Bay Salmon & Trout Project, Executive Director Ben Harris.

The Santa Cruz Water Department also brought good news this week.

Juvenile Coho Salmon have been surviving in freshwater creeks along the North Coast for two years in a row now.

“We are seeing more Coho in our monitoring efforts and we are working regionally so, it’s important that other watersheds are functioning. Mill Creek is adjacent to Laguna Creek. Those watersheds may have fish moving back and forth between them,” said Watershed Compliance Manager Chris Berry.

Mill Creek is but a trickle right now, but over time it’ll grow and environmentalists hope so will the numbers of endangered Coho and Steelhead.

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Regional

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

CNN Newsource


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content