Lower American River – Sunrise Side Channel Design and Post-Project Performance Monitoring

This project included modification of the naturally existing Sunrise Side Channel through topographic manipulation to increase the temporal availability of Central Valley Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) spawning habitat, and to reduce the opportunity for redd desiccation and subsequent egg mortality due to flow reduction.

The project was led by the Sacramento Water Forum with support from US Bureau of Reclamation, Sacramento County Parks, CA Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento Flood Control Agency, California State University – Sacramento and various private consultants.

cbec staff project involvement can be divided into two time periods:

  1. Initial design and analysis, performed by Chris Bowles, John Stofleth and Chris Campbell while they were employed at a previous firm,
  2. Post-project performance and evolution monitoring/modeling performed while at cbec.

These cbec staff members participated in all phases of the initial project design, which included:

  • conceptual development
  • topographic/bathymetric surveys
  • numerical 1D and 2D hydraulic modeling (using MIKE21 FM and HEC-RAS)
  • velocity/flow measurements using an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP)
  • construction observation

Following project installation, cbec has performed foot and boat based topographic/bathymetric surveys, discharge/velocity measurements and 2D hydraulic and habitat suitability modeling (using SRH-2D) to quantify and document spawning habitat availability as the site evolves.

The project was constructed in the fall of 2008, and cbec has subsequently performed physical surveys at four different times, over a range of flow conditions. The data provided by this ongoing monitoring and modeling provides a basis for adaptive management of the site.


Waterbody / Watershed

Lower American River