Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead

Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead

Mission Statement:  to return salmon and steelhead to the entire length of the Auburn Ravine

    SARSAS is trying to do with one stream, the Auburn Ravine, what must be done to all streams and rivers on the entire West Coast and that is to make the entire length of the ravine navigable for Anadromous Fish. 

    The health and well-being of Salmon is directly linked to that of people.  If we improve the health and well-being of Salmon, we improve the health and well-being of mankind and therefore ourselves. 

    Salmon are as resilient and adaptive as humans; when they can no longer adapt, neither can mankind.  They need our help....NOW.

Please click link below to view SARSAS Plan:

The SARSAS plan for returning salmon and steelhead to the Pacific Marine Fishery

To learn more about what SARSAS has accomplished and what it is trying to accomplish, click here to view a video about SARSAS.

he SARSAS Plan for Saving Salmon in California and in the Pacific Marine Fishery - The Plan Can Serve as a Model for Other Groups Forming on the 737 Tributaries of California's Two Great Rivers. Effective October 2014.

Yes, the people of California, volunteering together, can save the salmon.  The people must spearhead the saving of the salmon because time is critical.  The salmon has little time left on the planet without the help of the people ...  To read more, click here to download the document.

Click here to view a larger image of the map of the Auburn Ravine.

Important and Urgent Message!


Hello All,

NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service) is in the process of reassigning Special Agent Don Tanner as a cost saving measure unmindful of the job he has done for anadromous fishes especially in the Central Valley of Ca and Auburn Ravine. 

Please write to President Obama and send copies of your letter to Senators Boxer and Feinstein.  Please do so as soon as possible; the reassignment could be made within weeks.

Be brief and say something like:

 "Special Agent Don Tanner's non-aggressive, low-key, without a policeman's uniform style of meeting the public has done more for the protection of inland anadromous fishes in the Central Valley of California than we thought humanly possible.  He has single handedly opened the Auburn Ravine for salmon and steelhead spawning.  His enforcement style is nonpareil; he should be kept in his Sacramento Office assignment for the good of Pacific Coast salmon and steelhead."

If you never write another letter or send another email, please send this one.  He means so much to SARSAS because he has done so much good for fishes.

Thanks so much,

Jack L. Sanchez

August 2, 2014 - Auburn Journal - Guest Column by Jack Sanchez

"Another View: Conditions Excellent for Salmon Returning to the Auburn Ravine"

To view photos by 
Phil Robertson taken along the Auburn Ravine, click on the link above on the menu bar for "Photographs".

Steelhead and Rainbow Trout in Auburn Ravine and Nearby Streams, a Brief Introduction

Ronald Otto

May 2014

Auburn Ravine Preservation Committee, and Ophir Property Owners Association, Inc.


Among the many reasons to be thankful we live in the Sierra Nevada foothills are the lovely streams that flow through our communities and ultimately to the sea. Auburn Ravine, Coon and Dry Creeks have a rich history of resident trout and migratory (anadromous/sea-run) salmon and steelhead. We will focus on Auburn Ravine in Ophir where surprising numbers of fish—up to nearly 8,000 estimated rainbow or steelhead trout per mile—have been found with California Department of Fish and Wildlife surveys. Local residents and fishery professionals have observed juveniles ready to travel toward the ocean, in addition to very small young-of-the-year fish and larger adult rainbow or steelhead trout in Auburn Ravine.  Many fish have been caught there over the years.

Longtime Ophir resident, Slim Goodall, who began fishing Auburn Ravine near the end of the Great Depression, said it “was a known fact that steelhead and salmon came up to the Wise Powerhouse (in Ophir) back in those days.” Although greatly diminished from historical levels, these iconic fish once ascended Auburn Ravine in considerable numbers and are the subject of extensive community and agency restoration efforts. For example, the Ophir Property Owners Association has worked tirelessly on this for three decades or more. 

With the dramatic alteration of Sacramento-San Joaquin River, Bay-Delta system flows and other stressors, migratory or sea-run Central Valley steelhead populations have plummeted. However they and more numerous resident rainbow trout can occupy the same stream and form a single inter-breeding population. Further research including Auburn Ravine and similar streams is needed to clarify the relationship between--and potential mutual benefits to—healthy populations of resident rainbow and migratory steelhead trout, which share rivers or streams.  We are early in our journey toward more fully understanding these remarkable fish, as well as other imperiled anadromous and resident fish that inhabit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Rivers, their tributaries, the Delta and San Francisco Bay.  We hope this information has whetted your appetite for more…and that you will support the local organizations fighting the good fight (Ophir Property Owners Association, Save Auburn Ravine Salmon And Steelhead, the Dry Creek Conservancy, Newcastle Community Association, et al.)


The Hemphill Dam: 
To All SARSAS Supporters - A Call to Action
Please write a gentle, courteous letter to Jim Bachman, Chairman of the Board of the Nevada Irrigation District (NID), urging him to put fish passage on the Hemphill Dam.  Fish passage will allow salmon get to prime spawning gravels upstream of Turkey Creek Golf Course.  In your letter, thank NID for installing the fish ladder at the Lincoln Gauging Station in 2012.  NID is a good group and has done much to help SARSAS accomplish some of its goals.  

Be courteous, but show NID that many people want NID to act rapidly on fish passage at the Hemphill Dam.  The fish will be back in October of 2014.  Time is of the essence.  Please write a letter and mail it today.

Jim Bachman
Chairman of the Board
Nevada Irrigation District Business Center
1036 West Main Street
Grass Valley, CA 95945

June, 2014

SARSAS Update on the Progress in Returning Salmon and Steelhead to Auburn Ravine

By Jack Sanchez

The goal of Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead (SARSAS) is to return salmon and steelhead to the thirty three mile length of the Auburn Ravine with salmon spawning within Ashford Park and Auburn School Park Preserve, the two parks in the center of Auburn.  To that end SARSAS is a 501#c, non-profit, public benefit corporation active to that goal.  The SARSAS General Meeting is held at the Domes, 175 Fulweiler Avenue in Auburn and features an expertise speaker in some aspect of stream restoration.  Meetings are held the fourth Monday of each month at 10 a.m. in Room CEO 1 and are open to the public.

The Auburn Ravine is a tributary of the Sacramento River; It starts in Auburn, flows through Ophir and Lincoln, through miles of agricultural fields into the Eastside Canal, the Natomas Cross Canal and enters the Sacramento River at the fishing hamlet of Verona, just downstream of the mouth of the Feather River.

SARSAS has accomplished much toward its goal. A 1.2 million dollar fish ladder was installed in 2012 on Nevada Irrigation District’s (NID) Lincoln Gauging Station Dam, allowed three hundred salmon to reach Hemphill Dam, about two miles above Lincoln.  About thirty salmon made it over Hemphill Dam and spawned.  To view the fish ladder at LGS, go to Lincoln and drive west on Ferrari Ranch Road across railroad tracks, turn right onto Green Ravine Road, turn right on second Southbridge Circle and left on Mossdale.  Walk the trail about one hundred and fifty yard to fish ladder at Lincoln Gauging Station.

 CaFW has just finished a yearlong study of Auburn Ravine, spurred on by Auburn Ravine become an active salmon spawning stream once again, but has not yet published its results, which  are anxiously anticipated for its new and factual information of aquatic life in Auburn Ravine, adding to our understanding of fish and other aquatic life in Auburn Ravine.

A fish screen has been installed on the Scheiber Ranch paid for by Rancher Albert Scheiber.  Darryl Hayes, of Instream Screens, Inc., designed, built and installed the fish screen.  The Schreiber Ranch was crossed by the new Highway 65 Bypass over Auburn Ravine.  The new screen is located immediately downstream of the new bridge.   Albert Schreiber conducted a tour for several SARSAS members. The fish screen with its small holes that water can flow through but prevents salmon from being entrained, is a self-cleaning single cone electric powered screen; it keeps fish in the Auburn Ravine and allows the rancher to take water out of the Ravine through the screen without the screen clogging with debris.

Now all eight dams below Lincoln are in compliance with NOAA regulations, thanks to NOAA Special Agent Don Tanner’s diligent and thorough work of contacting flashboard dam owners.  Flashboard dams are dam which are removed each year and reinstalled.  That means all dams are taken down No Later Than Oct 15 and stay down until April 15 each year to allow salmon and steelhead to reach spawning grounds as far up as they currently can get, which is the Hemphill Dam at Turkey Creek Golf Course...

Fish are now able to swim 22 of the 33 mile length of Auburn Ravine.  Located two miles upstream of the City of Lincoln and adjacent to Turkey Creek Golf Course, Hemphill Dam is the next major barrier to be dealt with to get salmon to Auburn to spawn in Auburn School Park Preserve between Auburn City Hall and Placer High School and Ashford Park on Auburn Ravine Road.  Since 2013 had a very meager rainfall, only a few fish reached Hemphill Dam and none that SARSAS knows of made it over to spawn in the pristine waters above it.  Hemphill Dam is the current barrier to fish upstream migration.

Remleh Scherzinger, the new General Manager of Nevada Irrigation District, met with SARSAS Members on Wednesday, May 27, 2014, to work out details to get some kind of fish passage on the Hemphill Dam in place for the current Fall Chinook Run which begins in October.  NID has a three step plan to achieve fish passage over Hemphill Dam and last year modified the water flow over the dam to increase water flow on the north side for fish to use to negotiate the dam.  Since rainfall was lacking, the modification met little success.  Further streambed and dam modifications are being prepared for the fall Chinook run and next year a fish ladder will be installed or the dam will be removed, whatever NID decides.

South Sutter Water District and Family Water Alliance are working with the agencies to install conical fish screens on the Pleasant Grove Canal located a few miles downstream of Lincoln.  Ron Ott, SARSAS Fish Expert, indicated that this canal entrains up to 90% of all salmon smolt swimming down Auburn Ravine to return to the Pacific to mature.  Funding is in place but the installation has been delayed for two years while a power source over wetlands can be achieved; the new target date is fall of 2014. We still need a notch in the Coppin Dam for steelhead downstream passage and a fish screen over the Auburn Ravine Canal near the Coppin Dam off Eastside Canal.

 Any rancher/farmer living on the Auburn Ravine who takes water from it is encouraged to call Family Water Alliance (530 267 7743) and speak with Executive Director Nadine Bailey to inquire about securing funding to install a fish screen on his canal or pump. Fish screens allow water to be taken from the Auburn Ravine without entraining the fish that can continue returning to the Pacific to mature and return to Auburn Ravine to spawn.  The more fish screens on out-takes on Auburn Ravine, the healthier the fishery will be.

Much is happening and with each addition, salmon and steelhead can swim and spawn farther up Auburn Ravine, getting ever closer to the SARSAS mission of returning salmon and steelhead to the entire thirty-three mile length of the Auburn Ravine.

If you are interested in helping with SARSAS or attending meetings to gather additional information on our efforts, please visit or contact Jack Sanchez at

A Special Video Prepared by Phil Robertson

As you may know, Chinook Salmon in Central California have been shut out of most of their historic spawning grounds.  One organization which is trying to help by removing barriers to the salmon is SARSAS (Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead).  I have attempted to support their efforts through my photography.

Below is a link to a video put together by the talented Steve Hubbard of Gold Country Images (a SARSAS board member) using my free-form poetry.  I hope you like it.  

Steve put together all of the images, the words are mine.  I speak softly so please turn your volume up.  You may need to copy this link into your browser.

Thank you.   Phil Robertson
Click here to view the video.

Some Recent Videos to View

1.  Watch the video "Leave It to Beavers" A PBS Nature Presentation.

A growing number of scientists, conservationists and grass-roots environmentalists have come to regard beavers as overlooked tools when it comes to reversing the disastrous effects of global warming and world-wide water shortages. Once valued for their fur or hunted as pests, these industrious rodents are seen in a new light through the eyes of this novel assembly of beaver enthusiasts and “employers” who reveal the ways in which the presence of beavers can transform and revive landscapes. Using their skills as natural builders and brilliant hydro-engineers, beavers are being recruited to accomplish everything from finding water in a bone-dry desert to recharging water tables and coaxing life back into damaged lands.

2.  2013 Chinook Salmon in Auburn Ravine

3.  Steve Hubbard's Flyover of the Auburn Ravine.  This is the mouth of Auburn Ravine at Verona where it joins the Sacramento River.


SARSAS meetings hosted by Placer County Supervisor Robert Weygandt are held on the fourth Monday of every month at 10 am at the Domes, 175 Fulweiler Avenue, Auburn, Ca 95603.  Meetings are held to one hour.

October Meeting: Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014: Rocko Brown
Engineering Geomorphologist
ESA (Environmental Science Associates)
"Restoring Salmon Ecosystem"

Future Meetings

December 22, 2014: Peter B. Moyle
Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology
Center for Watershed Sciences
UC Davis
"Reconciliation Ecology: The Putah Creek Ecosystem"

January 26, 2015:  Bernadette Bezy

February 26, 2015: Pamela C. Creedon
Executive Officer
Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board
"Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Auburn Ravine"


Paul Newman speaks about "Salmon Nation"
(Press the play button to listen)

Visit the website for Salmon Nation

Next Barrier Needing a Fish Ladder and Fish Screen on Auburn Ravine

The Hemphill Dam is the next target for fish passage. It is an Nevada Irrigation District Dam. NID just put a fish ladder on the Lincoln Gauging Station last November which really allowed salmon to reach the first marginal spawning gravels below Hemphill Dam. Once HH is retrofitted for fish passages, salmon will be able to reach prime spawning grounds moving 6 miles upstream to the Gold Hill Dam, another NID Dam.

One of the Reasons SARSAS is Now at Work

It's early, but mark your calendar!

Wild Salmon or Tri-Tip Dinner

A benefit for SARSAS

Saturday, May 16, 2015
6:00 PM

Hosted by Pescatore Winery
7065 Ridge Road, Newcastle, CA

The dinner sold out very quickly last year so we want to get word out early.  Several reservations have already been made for the 2015 dinner. Please do not wait to make reservations.  Call or email now.

Jack Sanchez
(530) 888 - 0281

Click here to view the flyer for this event.

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