Alameda Creek is one of the largest drainage watersheds in the San Francisco Bay Area, encompassing almost 700 square miles and draining roughly the southern two-thirds of the East Bay. Water drains all the way from Livermore, Pleasanton, and San Ramon to Alameda Creek, which then flows through Niles Canyon into western Alameda County.
Alameda Creek is both a major drainage and a flood control feature, and it provides habitat for a wide variety of native stream fish. The District has long participated in efforts to manage the many resources and beneficial uses of Alameda Creek.
Alameda Creek Fish Ladder
The District has been leading efforts to restore steelhead trout to Alameda Creek in collaboration with the Alameda Creek Fisheries Restoration Workgroup, a consortium including the Alameda County Water District (ACWD) and other utilities. Construction on structures designed to divert fish from man-made barriers began in summer 2007. Three dams—Sunol, Niles, and an inflatable dam—have already been removed.
In 2012, four agencies approved a design for a fish ladder in Alameda Creek that will enable fish to migrate upstream and over a large concrete barrier that protects the BART and Union Pacific Railroad track footings from erosion. The ladder will help steelhead trout and salmon swim upstream to spawn, just as they did before the barriers were built. Juvenile fish will be able to safely continue their natural life cycle downstream. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has provided a $1 million grant to construct the ladder.
Having enough water in the creek for fish to swim year-round is another important consideration. The regional Public Utilities Commission and ACWD agreed to release more water from upstream. The District is considering cutting notches through other concrete barriers in the channel to create low-flow water streams in the creek throughout the year.
A plan to provide new vegetation for shade and fish habitat along the edges of the fish ladder has also been developed.
In 2014, permits were obtained to enable construction of the new Alameda Creek Fish Ladder. All construction projects are slated for completion by late 2017.
Visit Alameda Creek! Check out the Alameda Creek Regional Trail.
Alameda Creek Fisheries
Alameda Creek Alliance