Auburn man’s simple solution means more water for Auburn Ravine salmon

Second valve can return water otherwise wasted by agriculture-water customers
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - An Auburn man’s simple solution is helping give a Placer County tributary of the Sacramento River more water to help salmon and steelhead flows.

Robert Hane, who owns a 16-acre Christmas tree farm, has been regularly diverting a portion of the water the Nevada Irrigation District supplies him with back into North Ravine, which flows into Auburn Ravine.

Hane has two valves that allow him to switch to an outflow of water into the ravine for 12 hours every day. The simple switch means an extra 12,000 gallons of water flow downstream daily, he said.

That’s the equivalent of the contents of a medium-sized swimming pool.

Now Hane has started sharing his twin-valve approach with neighbors and hopes to expand his efforts to reach as many agricultural water users along raw water canals in the area.

Hane, who also serves as volunteer streambank restoration coordinator for the Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead organization, said the switchover is as simple as buying two valves, a single “T” connection and piping to rechannel water to a nearby creek like North Ravine. He estimates the average cost for materials at around $150.

“Even using it one hour a day would still be wonderful,” Hane said. “It would have to be people who fit into the criteria of living by a creek and who are willing to donate part of their water into the system. By this small gesture, they would help create healthier, clearer streams.”

Jack Sanchez, president of the stream restoration group, said that he’s particularly pleased that Hane is willing to share the double-valve concept. Hane is willing to speak to groups or individuals about his own experiences using the double-valve over the last 37 years.

“Water is absolutely essential for what SARSAS is doing,” Sanchez said. “The more water we get, the better we are.”

Auburn Ravine Creek is small but considered one of the richest potential salmon fisheries in the state, Sanchez said. The creek, which runs through both Auburn and Lincoln, joins the Sacramento River north of Sacramento.

Sanchez said other efforts by SARSAS include working with the city of Lincoln to ensure Auburn Ravine gets a fair share of water the community is planning to use from the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant for agricultural uses.

And treated water users can preserve water by doing things such as using commercial car washes that use less water than traditional auto washing at home would. Xeriscaping – planting with drought tolerant plants that need little water – is another way to save water, Sanchez said.

“We don’t want to take away water rights that people already have,” Sanchez said. “We’re hoping that they can share those water rights. It’s about developing a sense of community.”

Find out more:

Contact for Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead twin-valve campaign is Robert Hane, Pine Valley Ranch (530)885-3005.