Upper River Bend Habitat Project Reaches Halfway Milestone

The Water Forum’s 2023 Habitat Project at Upper River Bend in Carmichael has reached its midway point and is now progressing into the next phase.

Crews from Ford Construction finished excavating and sorting gravel for spawning areas. Over the next few weeks, they will continue the process of strategically placing clean gravel, sourced from the project site, into the river for salmon and steelhead to build redds (nests). When finished, the project will include nearly 5 acres of spawning habitat, created by placing 30,000 cubic yards of clean gravel into the flowing river to create a “riffle”.

In addition, work is ongoing to excavate a 2,000-foot side channel complex and alcove within the existing gravel bar. These areas will provide nearly 6 acres of refuge for juvenile fish to hide from predators, find food and grow away from the main river channel.

To further support the aquatic ecosystem, approximately 60 woody tree structures will be added to the side channel to offer hiding and resting spots for young fish. These woody materials, sourced from a decommissioned orchard, will find new life as vital habitat for juvenile fish rather than going to the landfill. The principle of “reuse” also extends to the gravel excavated from the side channel and alcove areas, which has been repurposed onsite to build the spawning riffle.

The 2023 Habitat Project is made possible by grant funding from the California Natural Resources Agency (Proposition 68) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Central Valley Project Improvement Act) and contributions from regional water purveyors, including the City and County of Sacramento.

The project remains on track for completion during the last week of October. For more information and updates, please visit waterforum.org/habitat2023.

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