Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project and Diversion Dam
The Red Bluff Diversion Dam, its gates now raised, spans the Sacramento River two miles southeast of Red Bluff and diverted water into the Tehama-Colusa and Corning canals to irrigate the west side of the Sacramento Valley.
Completed in 1964 as part of the federal Central Valley Project, the 52-foot-high dam included fish ladders and fish counting structures at each end to allow fish migrating upstream.
But these fish passage efforts did not work as planned and the Red Bluff Diversion Dam was subsequently decommissioned by the Bureau of Reclamation. The decommissioning followed a court battle with environmental advocates who argued the dam negatively impacted endangered fish populations including salmon and steelhead.
The dam’s gates were permanently raised in 2011. Subsequently, an approximately $200 million Red Bluff Diversion Dam Fish Passage Improvement Project was completed in 2012.
The project includes a fish screen, intake channel, a pumping plant, and a discharge conduit to divert water from the Sacramento River into the Tehama-Colusa and Corning Canals to help irrigate cropland.