This notice serves to inform the public that the Restoration Administrator, a court-appointed position selected by the Friant Defendants and Plaintiffs in the Settlement, has postponed the resumption of Restoration Flows. Restoration Flows will resume no earlier than October 1.
Restoration Flows were ceased on June 3, resulting in releases from Friant Dam being reduced to 250-280 cfs. Friant Dam releases since June 3 are intended to meet various holding contracts upstream of Gravelly Ford. Flows at Gravelly Ford were reduced to approximately 5 cfs with many points downstream also dry or nearly dry. The decision to stop Restoration Flows was made in response to the drought conditions, which allocated only 70,919 acre-feet for Restoration Program purposes, combined with the need to conserve the volume of cold water in Millerton Lake.
Beginning in mid-September, spring-run Chinook salmon begin creating redds in the San Joaquin River channel bed below Friant Dam. The incubation of salmon eggs in these redds continues through the autumn and early winter. This stage of the salmon lifecycle requires relatively cold water. Calculations by the Restoration Program indicated that delaying flow increases at Friant Dam would result in colder temperatures across the entirety of the incubation period, thereby improving juvenile salmon survival.
The Restoration Flow schedule has now been changed to the following:
Friant Dam Releases
Restoration Flows at Gravelly Ford
June 3 – September 30
190 – 300 cfs
October 1 – October 15
490 – 550 cfs
Restoration Flows increasing to 350 cfs, exact timing not yet determined