SMARTSVILLE, Calif. - In an effort to aid salmon habitat restoration on the Yuba River, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District has finished injecting gravel below the Corps' Englebright Dam near Smartsville, Calif., Jan. 13.

The Corps injected 5,000 tons of gravel into the river to improve spawning conditions for threatened Central Valley steelhead trout and spring-run Chinook salmon under a program prescribed by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

A biological opinion issued by NMFS in 2007 called for gravel injection below the dam, part of a broader plan to improve fish habitat at Englebright and Daguerre Point dams, both operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District. As part of a pilot habitat restoration project, the Corps placed 500 tons of gravel in the river in 2007.

The Corps contracted Dr. Gregory Pasternack, University of California - Davis professor of land, air and water resources, to develop, oversee and evaluate the gravel injection plan. Gravel for the project was supplied by Silica Resources Inc. of Marysville, Calif., in a mix recommended for salmon habitat by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sean Warren Smith Inc. was contracted by the Corps in September 2010 to place the gravel.

"We're pleased to be working to improve habitat for these threatened species," said Englebright Lake park manager Doug Grothe. "And we'll continue to work with our state, federal and local partners to do everything we can to help aid their recovery."