Fall Creek Hatchery

Natural Resources
Inspection/condition assessment, Alternatives analysis/feasibility study, Conceptual design, Engineering services, Final design, Environmental/permitting, Construction management, Engineering during construction, Testing & commissioning
Professional services, Construction management
Hornbrook, California
why it matters

The Fall Creek Hatchery will replace the Iron Gate Hatchery, which is being decommissioned as part of the Klamath River Renewal Program that will remove four hydroelectric dams and restore a free-flowing river. This facility will be pivotal for protecting coho salmon and Chinook in the Klamath River basin and aims to provide adult coho salmon and Chinook that can disperse to newly accessible habitats created post dam removal. The hatchery will play a key role in preserving fish populations, providing better water quality, and revitalizing area tribes that rely on salmon for their culture and sustenance.

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The Fall Creek Hatchery accommodates various stages of fish rearing with the construction of new concrete raceways, incubation and spawning buildings, water supply infrastructure, waste collection systems, fish handling traps, a fish ladder, and fish barrier structures. The project also involves refurbishing three holding ponds for efficient trapping and sorting. McMillen conducted assessments of the biological needs of the fish, performed hydrologic analyses and geotechnical investigations, and supported permitting for the upgrades. Water supply and quality considerations were central to the design, focusing on maintaining biosecurity for the sensitive species involved. The hatchery is designed to simulate natural cold-water streams and will nurture Chinook and coho salmon. The intake structure and piping will divert flows from Fall Creek, while tanks and raceways will provide ample rearing volume. The project also includes the construction of hatchery buildings and the implementation of waste management systems. A Denil-type fish ladder will be installed to facilitate fish movement. 

This project is an outstanding example of the benefits that can be achieved when the client, owner, operator, and design team collaborate closely to meet program goals. McMillen and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) met frequently throughout the alternative analysis and design phases to ensure the design was optimized for cost-effective and efficient operations.

The hatchery, expected to be completed by April 2024, will operate for about eight years to allow for the gradual reintroduction of anadromous fish within the California portion of the Klamath River Basin. Fall Creek Hatchery will have the capacity to produce up to 3,250,000 Chinook and 75,000 coho salmon annually.

“McMillen has by far been the best consulting firm I have worked with in over 20 years.”

Jason Roberts

Environmental Program Manager, Inland Fisheries, Northern Region (Region 1) Tribal Liaison, California Department of Fish and Wildlife

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