[env-trinity] Trinity Journal: TPUD, Others express concern over boosting river flows

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Wed Jun 19 07:55:02 PDT 2013

The letter referred to is attached.

TPUD, others express concern over boosting river flows
Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 6:15 am
Amy Gittelsohn The Trinity Journal | 0 comments
The Trinity Public Utilities District has joined other power users and water users raising concerns over the possibility of again boosting Trinity River flows in the late summer/early fall to avert a fish die-off in the Lower Klamath River in this dry year.
The Trinity Management Council and Pacific Fishery Management Council have written the federal Bureau of Reclamation officials requesting the additional flow if needed to prevent a fish kill from disease like the one that occurred in 2002.
The Trinity River is a tributary to the Klamath. Last year, in addition to regularly scheduled flows under the Trinity River Record of Decision, 39,000 acre-feet of water were released to the Trinity River to supplement flows in the Lower Klamath.
TPUD General Manager Paul Hauser and managers of Redding Electric Utility, Northern California Power Agency, Tehama Colusa Canal Authority, Friant Water Authority, San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority and Westlands Water District state their concerns in a May 29 letter to David Murillo, regional director of the Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region.
The gist of the letter is that the Bureau does not have the authority to make the higher release and assurances that water and power users would be compensated for any losses from last year's high flow were not kept.
Water released to the Trinity River does not go through as many power plants as water diverted through tunnels for agricultural use. The result is increased power costs to power agencies including the TPUD.
The letter was discussed at last Thursday's TPUD board meeting.
"The reality is there are entities that want to see an ongoing fall release every year," Hauser said.
Director Keith Groves asked if it came down to it would the costs of lost power generation be enough for the TPUD to sue on its own. Hauser said he didn't know if all the signers of the letter would be willing to join a lawsuit, but he didn't believe the TPUD would have to sue on its own.
Director Richard Morris asked who should pay the water and power users to mitigate their losses, and Hauser said, "I think the most obvious answer is the fisheries."
"It's not just this one flow it's the one that follows it," Director Kelli Gant said.
As to whether an increased fall flow would actually prevent a fish kill, Gant said, "They don't have the science."

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