DWR and Reclamation take steps to improve salmon habitat restoration project on Yolo Bypass


Yolo Bypass and Vic Frazio Wildlife Area, looking toward downtown Sacramento. DWR/2016

Yolo Bypass and Vic Frazio Wildlife Area, looking toward downtown Sacramento. DWR/2016

The California Department of Water Resources and federal Bureau of Reclamation took steps toward improving fish passage and rearing habitat in the Yolo Bypass today with the release of the draft environmental document for the proposed Yolo Bypass Salmonid Habitat Restoration and Fish Passage Project in Yolo and Sutter counties. The document is being made available for public review and comment.

The draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) identifies methods to improve adult fish passage and increase floodplain rearing habitat for juvenile salmonids in the Yolo Bypass. The document analyzes the effects of taking no action and six alternatives that would put one or more gated notches in the Fremont Weir, at the northern end of the Yolo Bypass.

The goal of the project is to increase the volume of water entering the Yolo Bypass in an effort to pull more fish onto the bypass and create a larger floodplain area. This would allow juvenile salmon to feed in a food-rich area for a longer time where they can rapidly grow to a large size, thus improving their chances of survival as they travel to the ocean. The project would also reduce migratory delays for adults returning to their spawning grounds.

The project increases the availability of floodplain fisheries rearing habitat for juvenile Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead, per Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) action I.6.1 as described in the existing biological opinion from the National Marine Fisheries Service. It also reduces fish passage migratory delays and loss of fish at Fremont Weir and other structures in the Yolo Bypass for salmon, steelhead and sturgeon, per RPA action I.7.

Analysis under CEQA indicates the potential for significant impacts to water quality, fisheries, agricultural resources, air quality, and noise caused by the construction and/or operation of some of the alternatives under consideration.

Two public meetings have been scheduled to receive oral or written comments on the draft EIS/EIR:  

  • Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Woodland Community and Senior Center, 2001 East Street, Woodland, CA 95776.
  • Thursday, Jan. 18, 2017, 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., West Sacramento Community Center, 1075 West Capitol Ave, West Sacramento, CA 95691.

Copies of the draft EIS/EIR, are available at:

Please submit written comments to either:

  • Karen Enstrom, California Department of Water Resources, 3500 Industrial Blvd., West Sacramento, CA 95691 or Karen.Enstrom@water.ca.gov
  • Ben Nelson, Bureau of Reclamation, Bay-Delta Office, 801 I St., Suite 140, Sacramento, CA 95814 or bcnelson@usbr.gov

Written comments must be received by close of business Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. For further information, please contact Karen Enstrom at (916) 376-9778 or Karen.Enstrom@water.ca.gov or Ben Nelson at (916) 414-2424 (TTY 800-877-8339) or bcnelson@usbr.gov.


Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation’s second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at http://www.usbr.gov. Follow us on Twitter @USBR and @ReclamationCVP.

DWR is responsible for managing and protecting California’s water resources. DWR works with other agencies to benefit the State’s people and to protect, restore and enhance the natural and human environments. Visit our website at www.water.ca.gov. Follow us on Twitter @CA-DWR and @CADWR.