[env-trinity] Shasta River - DFG Pres Release

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Oct 15 17:56:27 PDT 2009

DFG News Release

Shasta Irrigators Commended for Efforts to Assist Chinook Spawning Run

Oct. 15, 2009

Mark Pisano, Senior Fishery Biologist, (530) 842-9322
Harry Morse, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8962

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) commends Shasta River
irrigators for their recent timely action to protect Chinook salmon. Their
voluntary decision to reduce or cease legal water diversions during the
irrigation season allowed more than 1,000 Chinook salmon congregated in the
lower portion of the Shasta River to successfully continue their spawning

DFG has been monitoring the return of Chinook salmon to the Shasta River
since 1930. This year's fish count began on September 4; when DFG scientists
reviewed the data, it became clear that low flows and warm weather, along
with disease and unusually high predation rates, were threatening the
spawning run. 

"Once irrigators were notified of the situation, many responded without
hesitation," said DFG Senior Fishery Biologist Mark Pisano. "Although they
could have continued their legal water diversions upstream, some chose to
release more water to aid the fish holding in the canyon. DFG believes this
action helped minimize the potential for a major fish die-off."

Adjudicated water diversions in the Shasta River are governed by a complex
set of rules identified in the Shasta River Decree (#7035). Irrigation is
allowed from April 1 through October 1 each year and water rights holders
are not legally required to alter their operations to assist the fish runs.
The voluntary decisions made by these water rights holders - such as Shasta
Big Springs Ranch, which shut off ranch irrigation entirely - contributed an
estimated 13 cubic feet per second to the river flow.



Byron Leydecker, JcT, Chair

Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 

415 519 4810 cell

bwl3 at comcast.net

bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org



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