Before 2009, the upper reaches of Dutch Bill Creek, historically prime spawning habitat for the endangered coho and steelhead salmon, were blocked to salmon by the Market Street culvert and Camp Meeker dam. In collaboration with community partners, the Gold Ridge RCD worked to decommission and replace both the dam and culvert with passable structures. Fish access was further improved with instream fish passage enhancement structures.
The main objective of this project was to restore fish passage for juvenile and adult salmonids in order to promote migration and increase accessibility to upstream habitat. The culvert on Dutch Bill Creek at Market Street in the community of Camp Meeker was ranked the fifth highest priority fish passage barrier in Sonoma County (Ross Taylor and Associates, 2003). Passage was mainly limited due to significant downstream erosion that resulted in an eight-foot vertical jump at the culvert outlet. This poses both an elevation barrier and a shallow water barrier during low flows. The culvert bottom is also a major hindrance to passage of both adult and juvenile steelhead. At high flows, velocities in the culvert are too high for upstream migration. At low flows, the broad flat bottom causes “sheet flow” conditions that preclude downstream passage of juveniles.
Using rock, logs, and gravel the project resulted in a raised channel bed downstream of the culvert. Baffles were placed in the culvert to slow the velocity and improve the hydraulic characteristics of the culvert bottom. A rock weir fishway downstream of the culvert raised the channel grade to the elevation of the culvert.
Funded by: the CA State Coastal Conservancy, the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the National Association of Counties, NOAA Restoration Center, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the County of Sonoma.