BOR to Increase Flows to Help Klamath River Salmon

Last week the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) announced that it would release additional water from Trinity Reservoir for the lower Klamath River to help protect returning adult fall run Chinook salmon from a disease outbreak and mortality. Supplemental flows from Lewiston Dam would commence on August 21 and extendinto late September.  That’s good news for salmon.  Read the BOR’s announcement here.

But not so fast.  Shortly after the announcement,  the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority along with Westlands Water District filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop the Bureau of Reclamation from releasing Central Valley Project water from the Trinity Division to the Klamath River.  In their joint statement, they claim

“The decision by the Bureau of Reclamation to repurpose precious Central Valley Project water resources to augment Klamath flows for non-endangered fish, an action that is of questionable benefit, is both irresponsible and incomprehensible.”

We find their choice of the word ‘repurpose’ ironic given that the original ‘purpose’ of the water is to flow down the river, or be ‘flushed down’ as they put it. 

Yes, farmer’s are being impacted by the current drought. But they’re not the only ones.  As we and The Nature Conservancy mentioned in our letter to the BOR,

The low flows of 2002 resulted in the largest die off of adult salmon ever recorded in the United States. It is estimated that between 38,000 – 75,000 fish died during this period, mostly fall run Chinook salmon that were just beginning their spawning migration. This preventable event devastated the commercial fishing industry and severely impacted the local Tribes who rely on the fishery as a source of food, as well as centerpiece of their cultural heritage.

The water districts filed a similar lawsuit last year when increased flows were announce and lost.  Yesterday, the court denied the Temporary Restraining Order allowing for the increased flows from Trinity Reservoir to the Lower Klamath. You can read their ruling here.

Let it flow!

Your gifts makes it possible for CalTrout to engage and ensure there is enough water to sustain healthy, wild fish.  Donate now to support this and efforts like it.

 Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 8.37.32 AM

The Week’s Newsbytes

The Week’s Newsbytes

The Flip-Side of Fish Hatcheries

comstock hatchery alistair cookAre hatcheries, originally intended to preserve salmon, actually harming the species? Get some perspective in the latest issue of Comstock’s  that includes insight from CalTrout’s Central CA Director, Jacob Katz.

“Mother Nature would have spread those fish out, so that some would have left on the early end, some in the middle and some at the end, like a stock portfolio that you spread across a wide range of investments,” Katz says. “The natural system had a far broader range of timing of fish leaving freshwater.”

To read the full article, click here.

Photo by Alistair Cook

Notice: Higher Flows on Pit 5 Reach

On the weekends of August 15-16 and September 12-13, PG&E will provide high, whitewater flows on the Pit 5 Reach of the Pit River.  Flows will be be 1,200 – 1,500 cfs, or more, higher.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Please use caution and be safe!

The Week’s Newsbytes

State’s precious water supply takes hit from marijuana

Last week the San Francisco Chronicle ran an op-ed written by CalTrout Executive Director, Curtis Knight, along with California representatives of Trout Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy. The article highlights the challenges of controlling water diversions in the unregulated marijuana industry and the detrimental effect this has on stream flows and the environment.

Marijuana’s semi-legal status makes this industry’s water usage challenging to regulate.  Stream-flow protections and adequate funding to enforce them are essential to ensure legalization does not escalate detrimental environmental effects and push our wild salmon and trout rapidly toward extinction.

With legalization a possibility in 2016, CalTrout, TNC and TU, are working to ensure that solutions are in place so California’s limited water supplies support people, businesses and wildlife.

Click here to read the full article.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

The Week’s Newsbytes

CalTrout Convenes Greenhouse Gas Monitoring Workshop

California Trout is working with key partners to implement Sierra-wide greenhouse gas research and restoration grant.

GHG monitoring groupThis past Monday, CalTrout convened a workshop in Bean Meadow to provide training on greenhouse gas (GHG) monitoring. The workshop was part of a larger project CalTrout is spearheading that aims to quantify GHG in Sierra meadows and to document how restoration of meadows contributes to mitigation of potential impacts from a changing climate. Approximately 20 people joined in the workshops, including those involved with the newly formed (and still forming) Sierra Meadow Restoration, Research Partnership and key partners involved with the broader effort to restore ecological integrity of meadows throughout the Sierra Nevada.

The recent grant from CDFW will allow California Trout, with an array of partners, to lead a new multi-organizational effort to create a standard quantification protocol for measuring greenhouse gas dynamics in Sierra Nevada meadows. This effort evolved out of ongoing conversations among a broad GHG monitoring field3coalition of groups, academic institutions and agencies working to support conservation in the Sierra. These groups include Sierra Foothill Conservancy; American Rivers; Sierra Streams Institute; Spatial Informatics Group – Natural Assets Laboratory; South Yuba River Citizens League; Truckee River Watershed Council; University of Nevada, Reno; University of California, Merced; University of California, Davis; California State University, Chico; Tahoe National Forest; and, Sequoia National Forest.

Eventually, as a result of this project and the support of the CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, the Sierra Meadow Restoration Research Partnership will develop a tool to measure and credit carbon sequestration associated with restoring meadows throughout the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The partnership will coordinate with groups working throughout the Sierra with the goal of increasing ecological resilience and recovering species and habitat associated with alpine meadow systems – all while capturing climate-disrupting emissions on a meaningful scale.

cover imageYou can read more about CalTrout’s Sierra Meadow project in The Current’s summer issue here.

Protect Smith River From Strip Mining – Support Proposed Mining Closure

Mining companies plan to excavate a series of nickel strip mines in the pristine tributaries of the Wild and Scenic Smith River and other rivers in the heart of California and Oregon’s much loved Wild Rivers Coast. Despite overwhelming opposition, the outdated 1872 Mining Law prioritizes these nickel mines over clean drinking water, salmon fisheries and recreation!

The good news is that thanks to the leadership of Senators Wyden and Merkley and Representatives Defazio of Oregon and Huffman of California, the Obama Administration is considering a proposal to protect these wild rivers by temporarily withdrawing them from mining while Congress considers legislation—the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act—for more lasting protection.   What’s at stake?

  • Clean drinking water
  • Safeguarding Redwood National and State Parks
  • Protecting wild salmon runs of the Wild Rivers Coast
  • The integrity of our Wild and Scenic River system

The Obama Administration is taking comments on the proposed mineral withdrawal right now. Please take a moment to send an email or letter of support today. Simply click here for an email form that takes just a minute to complete.

Add your voice to the chorus of others demanding that the crystal clear, salmon-studded waters of these wild rivers remain free from toxic pollution! Sign today.