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FREMONT — Denied access to their natural spawning grounds in the Alameda Creek watershed for roughly 50 years, threatened fish species will soon be able to migrate upstream when two multi-million dollar fish ladders are completed.
A groundbreaking for the first of two ladders — which have been in the conceptual and planning stages for 20 years — was held this week along the banks of Alameda Creek in Fremont with officials from the Alameda County Water District, as well as other local and state agencies present.
The grant-funded ladder is one of two scheduled to be built in the creek by late 2021, allowing steelhead trout and chinook salmon to move upstream, where they have historically been denied access by rubber dams and a concrete structure built to control flooding in 1972.
This digital rendering shows what a fish ladder planned for Alameda Creekwest of a railroad overcrossing in Fremont will look like when complete. The ladder will provide a series of ascending pools for fish to use to get up and around the Alameda County Water District rubber dams and other structures in the creek.
This digital rendering shows what a fish ladder planned for Alameda Creek west of a railroad overcrossing in Fremont will look like when complete. (Image courtesy Alameda County Water District)
The ladder construction represents a shift in priorities for local and state agencies, which have aggressively pursued ways to restore Alameda Creek, where it may have been written off in the past, said Jeff Miller, founder of the advocacy group Alameda Creek Alliance.
“It’s kind of a start of a new pretty exciting chapter for restoring Alameda Creek. … We’re going to have salmon and steelhead back in the watershed,” he said.
“Despite the delay, and how long it’s taken to get these … I think we’re set up really well for the next phase of trying to restore the creek.”
The first ladder the water district is building is just west of the Mission Boulevard overcrossing in the Niles district of Fremont, allowing passage around a rubber dam. The second ladder, which should start construction in 2019, is about a mile downstream at the concrete structure, called a weir...
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