LINCOLN, Calif. (AP) - Big numbers of salmon are climbing the new Auburn Ravine fish ladder in what a California environmentalist calls a fall spawning godsend.
The Sacramento Bee says California Department of Fish and Game biologists have counted 150 chinook salmon using the $800,000 ladder near Lincoln in the past three weeks.
Officials have also found 13 spawning sites in the gravel creek bed upstream of the Placer County ladder.
The Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead group worked for three years to restore salmon to the creek.
The Nevada Irrigation District (NID) installed the fish ladder at its Lincoln Gauging Station, which is about 30 miles north of Sacramento, in fall, 2011.
NID described the passage as a "'nature-like fishway' consisting of a series of rock chutes and armored step pools separated by buried concrete walls. The walls, combined with large rocks (weighing approximately 8,000 lbs each), are designed to reduce future erosion. This ensures that the design grades are maintained and fish passage under a wide variety of flows is possible for years to come.
The passage is expected to provide a significant improvement to the watershed in the area."
A board member for the salmon and steelhead nonprofit, John Rabe, says the results have exceeded the organization's dreams.
Funding the project were NID, the California Department of Water Resources (CALFED), Placer County, Dry Creek Conservancy and Granite Bay Flycasters.
The Associated Press and News10/KXTV