Little Shasta River Flow Enhancement Project

Little Shasta River Flow Enhancement Project

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Project Goal:

In 2017, CalTrout partnered with the Hart Ranch on the Little Shasta River and completely retooled the ranch’s irrigation infrastructure. By replacing leaky pipes and valves, improving water management, and being more efficient with agricultural operations, the Hart Ranch is using California water code 1707 to dedicate meaningful water savings back to the stream for salmon. By doing so they have drastically reduced their exposure to environmental litigation under the Endangered Species Act.

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Project Stages

35% Planning and Design


100% Planning, Design, and Permitting

Estimated Completion Date:

Project Funders

CA Wildlife Conservation Board

CDFW Prop 1 Watershed Restoration Grant

Fish Affected:

Project Description

The 4,500-acre Hart Ranch, a key landowner in the Little Shasta River watershed, is irrigated primarily by open ditches from the 1800s. In partnership with UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, CalTrout is working with Hart Ranch to improve water use efficiency and restore cold, nutrient-rich flows back to the Little Shasta, balancing the needs of livestock and wild fish.

Completed in early 2019, we replaced the antiquated leaky irrigation ditches with efficient pipes and valves. Beginning this summer, we will remove a diversion dam and replace them with a roughened channel and structure that allow for year-round fish passage. Later this year, we will replace the ranch's open-ditch stockwater system with pipes.

Overall, the project results in an additional 1.5 cfs of water instream for fish and optional dedication of the Hart Ranch's entire water right (approximately 20 cfs) for increased flow during critical salmonid life stages, such as spring out-migration. Enhancing flows at the right time of year reconnects over 10 miles of the Little Shasta River with the mainstem.

The Hart Ranch is using California water code 1707 to dedicate meaningful water savings back to the stream for salmon in combination with a Safe Harbor Agreement with NOAA Fisheries and CDFW. Partners are exploring future upstream fish habitat restoration and migration barrier removal that will open an additional 4 miles of cold-water spawning and over-summering habitat for juvenile coho salmon.

Project Partners:





Hart Ranch

UC Davis


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