Protecting Fish Protects Water For People

The Santa Ynez River and Lake Cachuma are our Districtís primary sources of water. We must share this limited water supply with other local communities as well as with endangered fish and wildlife species.

To make sure that its customers continue to have access to this supply, Montecito Water District works with other water agencies to undertake fish protection activities on the Santa Ynez River and the creeks that feed it.

Required fish protection programs are a win-win for local people, as well as fish and wildlife in the Santa Ynez River.



Vital Water Information for Customers of Montecito Water District 
 Spring 2002

Water News

Project Helps Fish and Protects Water Rights for People

Steelhead Get Help From Montecito Water District


Building a bridge for endangered fish is the theory behind the Salsipuedes Creek Fish Passage Enhancement Project. The recently completed project improves passage for steelhead trout and opens up over 11 miles of fish habitat on Salsipuedes and El Jaro Creeks.

In order to maintain access to Santa Ynez River water supplies for customers, water agencies are restoring wildlife and fish habitat on the River. Local water suppliers have developed an extensive program that improves habitat and sets aside water for wildlife.

The Salsipuedes Creek project cost about $90,000, paid for by a Federal/State grant and the Coastal Conservancy. The total cost to local water agencies of all the required fish protection programs on the Santa Ynez River is about $400,000 each year.

One project at Salsipuedes Creek was needed because a concrete apron under Highway 1 caused a six-foot vertical drop, forming a total barrier to steelhead migration during low stream flows.

Montecito Water District and other local agencies comprising the Cachuma Conservation Release Board eliminated the barrier by building a concrete structure that serves as a fish "bridge", and by excavating three pools to facilitate fish passage.


To date, overall costs of the fish programs for local agencies have been decreased by sharing costs with other agencies and through over $1 million in grants that have been received from State and Federal agencies in recent years.


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