One of our most successful habitat project partnerships is the Butte Creek Fish Passage Project, which restored the spring-run chinook salmon populations on Butte Creek.
The Gorrill Fish Screen and Ladder Project was part of a larger effort on Butte Creek to restore 25 miles of unimpeded flows along the middle reaches of the tributary, comprising one of the nation’s most significant fisheries restoration efforts. In addition to restoring the creek for the benefit of spring-run salmon, these projects also effectively divert water for the benefit of farms, birds and other species along the Pacific Flyway. The Gorrill Fish Screen and Ladder Project portion was completed in 1999 with the purpose of protecting and assisting migrating fish with passage to spawning grounds in Upper Butte Creek.
The Butte Creek project is touted as the keystone project in preserving the spring-run which has resulted in over 10,000 regularly returning adult salmon from a low of only a few hundred in the early 1990’s. Importantly, most of the work on Butte Creek was done outside of a major regulatory process, where partnerships, hard work, and innovation led the way for restoration—not regulation.