For followers of the ambitions goal of bringing Steelhead Trout back to Permanente Creek, this has been a very good time.
The 1.3 concrete trapezoidal channel between Stevens Creek and Permanente Creek is the biggest barrier for anadromous fish, i.e., migrating fish from the Bay.
Good news number 1: Just after the government shut down, Gary Stern from NOAA Fisheries squeaked out a draft report from our June creek walk.
Good news number 2: The report stated “Permanente Creek appears to provide conditions that would support spawning and rearing of trout and steelhead.” However, the report noted that as we proceeded upstream, the habitat was “significantly compromised by the high levels of coarse sand. We suspect the source of the sand is the Lehigh Southwest Cement Company.”
Good news number 3: The report was sent hours before a grant application deadline. The grant is for a feasibility study to modifying the diversion channel for fish passage. I couldn’t have asked for a better letter of support.
Good news number 4: The Santa Clara Valley Water District board approved adding Permanente Creek into their Habitat Conservation Plan.
Good news number 5: The District earmarked $12M to modify the channel for fish passage. Does this mean $12M will be available? Not quite, but it means that the District wants to see this project proceed.
So, the next steps are securing funds to scope options for modifying the diversion channel. Got any friends with deep pockets? Tell them they can name the first steelhead to traverse the diversion channel.