NEWS WORTH NOTING: Reclamation to release water below Iron Gate Dam to address fish health concerns in the Klamath River; NRDC/WaterKeeper challenge to 2012 Los Angeles municipal storm water permit denied; Weekly water and climate update
Reclamation to Release Water Below Iron Gate Dam to Address Fish Health Concerns in the Klamath River
Water release from Iron Gate Dam on the Klamath River will begin Friday, Feb. 10 at noon
From the Bureau of Reclamation:
The Bureau of Reclamation will increase flows below Iron Gate Dam to reduce the risk of disease for coho salmon in the Klamath River. Starting Feb. 10 through Feb. 13, flows below Iron Gate Dam will be elevated increasing from approximately 4,000 cubic feet per second to as much as 9,600 cfs. The public is urged to take all necessary precautions on or near the river while flows are high during this period.
On Feb. 8, 2017, United States District Judge William H. Orrick ordered Reclamation to implement “winter-spring flushing flows designed to dislodge and flush out polychaete worms that host C. shasta.” The increased flow event is consistent with Judge Orrick’s Order and was planned in coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa Valley and Klamath Tribes, Klamath Project water users, state and other fisheries experts, and PacifiCorp.
Reclamation is implementing the increased flow event at this time to take advantage of the current hydrologic (rain on snow) conditions throughout the Klamath Basin. Pairing increased flow events with natural high flow hydrologic events maximizes the potential benefits and effectiveness of the event while reducing the amount of water required out of Upper Klamath Lake, which reduces potential for negative impacts to the overall water supply and endangered Lost River and shortnose suckers in Upper Klamath Lake. Based on current hydrologic conditions, there is high confidence that water used out of Upper Klamath Lake for these flows will be replenished quickly through inflows that are occurring into the lake.
Beginning at about noon Feb. 10, flows will begin increasing from about 4,000 cfs to about 9,600 cfs at 9 a.m. Feb. 11. Flows will remain at this high level for approximately 24 hours. After that, flows will ramp down to about 6,000 cfs during the next 24 hours, where they are anticipated to remain until about 2 a.m. Feb. 14. After this approximately 3 day event, flows will return to levels calculated in accordance with the 2013 Biological Opinion on operation of the Klamath Project.
“Reclamation recognizes that every acre-foot of water in the Klamath River Basin is extremely valuable and of limited supply, and we are making every effort to optimize the water released for fish health purposes to reduce disease among Klamath River salmonid species while balancing other demands,” said Jeff Nettleton, Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Manager.
Reclamation will continue to work with National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, other fisheries experts and Klamath Basin stakeholders to comply with the Order and applicable provisions of the Endangered Species Act while upholding contractual obligations to Klamath Project water users.
NRDC/WaterKeeper Challenge to 2012 Los Angeles Municipal Storm Water Permit Denied
From Downey Brand:
On January 24, 2017, the Los Angeles Superior Court denied the petition for writ of mandamus filed by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Los Angeles WaterKeeper. At issue in this case was the 2012 municipal storm water permit issued by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to various municipalities allowing them to legally discharge storm water to waterbodies within Los Angeles County. NRDC and WaterKeeper alleged that the permit violated rules on backsliding, antidegradation, and compliance schedules. The court found that the antibacksliding provisions of the Clean Water Act do not apply to municipal storm water and, even if these provisions applied, the 2012 permit was exempt because of the “new information” exception contained in the law.
Weekly water and climate update: Snowpack breaks records in the Sierra
From the USDA:
The Natural Resources Conservation Service produces this weekly report using data and products from the National Water and Climate Center and other agencies. The report focuses on seasonal snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and drought conditions in the U.S.
The Sierra Nevada have been in the crosshairs of a series of storms since the beginning of January. Many SNOTEL stations and California Department of Water Resources automated stations have reported new records or near-record snow water equivalent for the month. Snow Water Equivalent at the Monitor Pass SNOTEL site 633 just south of Lake Tahoe is shown in the graph on the right. The current snowpack is well above the annual average peak for this time of year, and shows the dramatic snowpack increase during the last month.
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About News Worth Noting: News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations. News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms. If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.