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C&E-1.2

Santa Ynez River

  • Goal: To restore a healthy steelhead population in the Santa Ynez River
  • Year Started: 2011
  • Client: California Trout

The Santa Ynez River once supported a thriving steelhead population. However, construction of the Bradbury Dam – erected in the 1950s to supply water to Santa Barbara County’s towns and farms – decimated the Santa Ynez River steelhead run. The Dam cut off steelhead access to the ocean, access to historic spawning and rearing habitat upstream, and drastically altered and reduced water flow throughout the watershed. The Santa Ynez River steelhead run was estimated at between 13,000–25,000 adult fish in the last century but has fallen to only a handful of adult fish making the migration under current conditions.

To help turn this situation around, EDC is representing California Trout in proceedings before the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). We hope to successfully restore the population of endangered steelhead in the Santa Ynez River by working with the SWRCB to adjust flow requirements, water releases, facilitate steelhead passage around Bradbury Dam, and encourage additional water conservation efforts. Our intention is to help provide water for people and fish while also recharging the groundwater basin.

santa ynes river

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