Victory! Feds to Revise Trinity River Water Delivery Schedule This Morning

http://youtu.be/CbHUb6aLizw
Hank Sims / Today @ 9:40 a.m. of Lost Coast Outpost
UPDATE, 10:47 a.m.:

From the Office of Congressman Jared Huffman:

WASHINGTON­—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) released the following statement after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that it will release water to protect Trinity River salmon:

“I applaud the Bureau’s decision to finally release water to salmon struggling in the Klamath and Trinity rivers. While it is abundantly clear that the Bureau’s water management plans have been consistently shortsighted and that the irresponsible excessive diversion of water to the Sacramento River forced us into this difficult situation, the decision announced today indicates that the Bureau at least kept listening to the growing evidence of a looming disaster for salmon and is now doing the right thing.

Sally Jewell
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell meets with tribal members earlier this month. Photo by Viv Orcutt.

“I appreciate the Bureau’s and the U.S. Interior Secretary’s willingness to listen to the Yurok, Hoopa and Karuk tribes and to demands from my office, and to change course from their original decision which would have needlessly imperiled vital salmon stocks in one of the driest years on record. I especially appreciate the tribes’ tenacity in demanding protection for these important public resources, and to the other deeply committed stakeholders who have spoken up on this issue.

“There is still a lot of work to do to get the Bureau on track to making responsible long-term plans for using one of our critical resources in a way that protects salmon and the people that depend on them while appropriately balancing the need for food production. I will apply consistent pressure on the agency to move in that direction, and I will stand with federal agencies when they do the right thing – because we know that litigious and powerful San Joaquin Valley interests will at every turn file legal challenges against salmon protection as they seek to divert more of our north coast water.”

In July, Huffman sent a letter calling on the Bureau to immediately address the increasingly hazardous conditions for salmon and steelhead trout in the Klamath and Trinity River watersheds during this drought year. Huffman reiterated the urgency of the appeal in August.

— Hank Sims

UPDATE, 10:32 a.m.:

From the Yurok Tribe:

The Yurok Tribe applauds the Bureau of Reclamation’s decision to release more water for struggling Klamath River salmon.

“We are happy that the BOR’s decision came out in favor of fish,” said Thomas P. O’Rourke Sr., Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “They did the right thing.”

The Yurok Tribe submitted two formal requests for additional flows on the Klamath River, which is suffering through three years of extreme drought.

Extra flows will cool the river, help prevent fish diseases from taking hold.

— Hank Sims

UPDATE, 10:08 a.m.: VICTORY!

Water coming! Here’s the press release from the BOR:

usdeptofinterior logoThe Bureau of Reclamation will release additional water from Trinity Reservoir to supplement flows in the lower Klamath River to help protect the returning run of adult Chinook salmon. The public is urged to take all necessary precautions on or near the river while flows are high during this period.

“We have determined that unprecedented conditions over the past few weeks in the lower Klamath River require us to take emergency measures to help reduce the potential for a large-scale fish die-off,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director David Murillo. “This decision was made based on science and after consultation with Tribes, water and power users, federal and state fish regulatory agencies, and others.”

Several recent factors prevalent in the lower Klamath River are the basis for the decision to provide emergency augmentation flows. Reclamation will increase releases from Lewiston Dam beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23, from approximately 450 cubic feet per second to approximately 950 cfs to achieve a flow rate of 2,500 cfs in the lower Klamath River.

At 7 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 25, releases from Lewiston Dam will begin increasing to approximately
2,450 cfs to achieve a flow rate of approximately 4,000 cfs in the lower Klamath River. This release from Lewiston Dam will be maintained for approximately 24 hours before returning to approximately 950 cfs and will be regulated at approximately that level as necessary to maintain lower Klamath River flows at 2,500 cfs until approximately Sunday, Sept. 14. River and fishery conditions will be continuously monitored, and those conditions will determine the duration.

“We fully recognize that during this prolonged severe drought, every acre-foot of water is extremely valuable, and we are making every effort to conserve water released for fish health purposes to reduce hardships wherever possible,” added Murillo.

Reclamation will continue to work with NOAA Fisheries and other federal agencies to comply with applicable provisions of the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

— Andrew Goff

UPDATE, 10:01 a.m.:

Via Supervisor Mark Lovelace’s Facebook page:

— Hank Sims

The Bureau of Reclamation has organized a conference call at 10:30 this morning to announce a revision to the much-reviled decision, earlier this month, to skip the annual release of Trinity River water that has been employed, in the past, at this time of year, to prevent mass fish die-offs on the Klamath.

We have no word yet as to the details of the revised water schedule — whether it will include a preventative release schedule, whether the amount released will be enough to prevent a disease outbreak among this year’s salmon run — but at this writing it’s looking like at least a partial victory for the immense uprising of protesters and activists, led by local tribes, that stormed Sacramento and elsewhere after the Bureau of Reclamation’s initial July 30 decision to curtail all preventative water release on the Trinity this year.

Your Lost Coast Outpost will be on the conference call, and will update this post with information as it comes in. Again: should start shortly after 10:30.

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