On April 5, California Water Service (Cal Water) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the completion of a fish ladder passage in Bear Gulch Creek from which 10 percent of Cal Water’s local water supply is drawn. Previously, steelhead trout were unable to spawn in Bear Gulch Creek due to a dam constructed around the turn of the century. Cal Water collaborated with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Marine Fisheries Service to develop a plan, which included the fish ladder, to allow the steelhead to move unimpeded upstream and downstream to spawn and repopulate. The ladder is composed of a series of ascending pools through which the fish can move on their migration to and from the ocean.

In a press release, Cal Water District Manager Dawn Smithson noted, “Being a responsible environmental steward and corporate citizen is one of our core values, so building this passage to protect this threatened species was a high priority for Cal Water. If we were unable to draw water from the creek, we would have to rely more on costlier purchased water from third parties. By building the passage, we are able to get more of our local water supply from the creek, while ensuring enough water is released for native fauna at the same time.”

Cal Water representatives were joined at the ribbon-cutting ceremony by Woodside Mayor Chris Shaw, Planning Commissioner Marilyn Voelke, Planning Director Jackie Young, Woodside Fire Marshall Denise Enea, and a staff member representing Assembly Member Marc Berman.

(L -R) Cal Water Chairman of the Board Pete Nelson, Bear Gulch District Manager Dawn Smithson, Cal Water Vice President of Operations Timothy Treloar, Cal Water VP of Corporate Communications and Community Affairs Shannon Dean, Cal Water Board Member Richard Magnuson, and local residents.

Inspecting the new fish ladder.
Cal Water’s Bear Gulch Creek Fish Ladder Passage


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