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Fish Barrier Removal Projects

Many species of fish can be blocked from swimming up and down rivers and streams by dams, culverts, and other structures. Removing these structures allows for natural water flows and fish passage.

Removing Obstacles to the Recovery of Endangered Steelhead Trout and Other Species

Roughly 80-95% of southern steelhead trout have lost their historical habitat ranges due to damming and other human impacts. Obstacles such as dams block access to fish spawning and rearing habitats and can severely impact natural stream functions and hydrology. Barriers in streams and rivers are major challenges to the recovery of endangered steelhead trout in the northern Santa Monica Bay watershed. Restoration of steelhead trout to its historic range could serve as a key indicator of ecosystem health for streams in the Bay watershed.

Through partnerships with landowners and agencies, The Bay Foundation (TBF) has worked on programs at Arroyo Sequit Creek within Leo Carrillo State Park, and Rindge Dam in Malibu Creek State Park to reconnect lower watershed habitats with upstream headwaters.

Project Highlights

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Restoring the Upstream Habitat at Rindge Dam

The 100-foot-tall Rindge Dam was constructed in the 1920s on Malibu Creek. The dam is approximately three miles upstream from the coast of Malibu, California, inside Malibu Creek State Park. By the 1950s, it was filled and blocked with sediment coming down the watershed, completely negating its intended purpose of creating a water reservoir.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is leading the restoration planning effort for the dam removal. DPR is currently working on the feasibility study, which analyses several alternatives for dam removal, and TBF is currently involved with the restoration planning process through communications and technical support. This important project would provide access to over 10 miles of upstream habitat to anadromous fish species, including endangered steelhead trout.

Impeded Steelhead Migration in Arroyo Sequit Creek

In the summer of 2015, TBF, working with the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the California Conservation Corps, demolished and removed two Arizona-type crossings, one two-and-a-half-feet tall check dam, and protruding metal pipe from the stream channel. This opened Arroyo Sequit Creek in the western Santa Monica Mountains to steelhead migration for the first time since the 1950s. The crossings were replaced by bridges that reduced pollutant loading to the creek and allow for safer pedestrian access within Leo Carrillo State Park.

View a time lapse video of the check dam’s removal below.

Four and a Half Miles of Fish Habitat Recovered in Arroyo Sequit Creek

The removal of barriers in Arroyo Sequit Creek has allowed upstream passage for the federally endangered anadromous steelhead trout, which relies on lower energy upstream sections of our local rivers and streams to mate and lay eggs.

Restoring the Upstream Habitat at Rindge Dam

The 100-foot-tall Rindge Dam was constructed in the 1920s on Malibu Creek. The dam is approximately three miles upstream from the coast of Malibu, California, inside Malibu Creek State Park. By the 1950s, it was filled and blocked with sediment coming down the watershed, completely negating its intended purpose of creating a water reservoir.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is leading the restoration planning effort for the dam removal. DPR is currently working on the feasibility study, which analyses several alternatives for dam removal, and TBF is currently involved with the restoration planning process through communications and technical support. This important project would provide access to over 10 miles of upstream habitat to anadromous fish species, including endangered steelhead trout.

Impeded Steelhead Migration in Arroyo Sequit Creek

In the summer of 2015, TBF, working with the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the California Conservation Corps, demolished and removed two Arizona-type crossings, one two-and-a-half-feet tall check dam, and protruding metal pipe from the stream channel. This opened Arroyo Sequit Creek in the western Santa Monica Mountains to steelhead migration for the first time since the 1950s. The crossings were replaced by bridges that reduced pollutant loading to the creek and allow for safer pedestrian access within Leo Carrillo State Park.

View a time lapse video of the check dam’s removal below.

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