[env-trinity] Chico ER: Put water to local use first

Frank Emerson frank.t.emerson at gmail.com
Sun Aug 25 16:08:41 PDT 2013

Dear All:

It is an interesting argument to make and one that will be made again. And I guess it will be made in the press and courts at some point. The biggest flaw in this "inconvenient truth" is that it is not possible to say what the flow or water quality was when the watersheds of the Klamath and Trinity drainages were still pristine. The major impacts of clear cutting the old growth forest and hydraulic gold mining has had profound impact on the temperatures in these tributaries and main stem rivers. Prior to the logging era there were vast acres and canopies of old growth tress that shaded the streams, the root masses and intact soils banked millions of acre feet during the winter that maintained consistent runoff all summer. One reason Coho are not recovering, as you would expect with no take allowed, is because temperatures have risen over all by man made modifications to the habitat. Coho are particulary sensitive to higher temps.

The cumulative impacts of more and more water uses in the whole watershed, pvt wells, pot grows, agricultural irrigation and land clearing, grazing, and municapal water systems, dam construction. etc. have so altered the very nature of the hydrology of the habitat that it is not possible to say what the flows were before the Europeans arrived. It may be that flows were higher, and most certainly cooler and cleaner. 

The federal projects cannot negatively impact the fisheries that sustain so many communities, that is the law also. 

If anything about dam management. flow management, water quality managment is "Unnatural" is that so much Trinity water is diverted south to the San Joaquin Valley to grow commodity crops in the arid, marginal cropland of the west side. There is undeniably nothing natural about that. The native fishery by all common sense has the priority right to it's own source water.

Frank Emerson
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Robinson, Eric 
  To: Patrick Truman ; Tom Stokely ; env-trinity at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us 
  Sent: Friday, August 16, 2013 12:12 PM
  Subject: Re: [env-trinity] Chico ER: Put water to local use first

  The CVP's Trinity River Division already releases more water into the Trinity River and lower Klamath River during late summer and fall than would be there in a state of nature.  Without the water storage developed by the the CVP's Trinity River Division, Trinity River and lower Klamath River flows would be lower than they are now.  The CVP's Trinity River Division already is making conditions better for fall-run Chinook salmon in the lower Klamath River.  

  Remember, the Trinity River Restoration Program Record of Decision (TRROD) adopted in the year 2000 established a fishery flow release schedule under which 453,000 acre-feet of water is earmarked for fall-run Chinook salmon restoration and maintenance in 2013 (a "dry" year under the TRROD fishery flow release schedule).  The Restoration Program has discretion in how to use each year's TRROD water.  They make their decision how to use that water in early spring each year.  The large fall-run Chinook salmon return and dry/low-flow hydrologic conditions were known to the Restoration Program when they set the 2013 flow release schedule.  Despite that, the Program elected not to use any of the 453,000 acre-feet for a late summer/fall pulse flow to address the disease risk issue now being cited as requiring a pulse flow.

  That is not "legal mumbo jumble . . . ."  Those are the inconvenient facts that are ignored by those spinning fictional narratives decrying the federal court's rulings restraining the excess CVP storage release.

  From: env-trinity-bounces at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us [mailto:env-trinity-bounces at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us] On Behalf Of Patrick Truman
  Sent: Friday, August 16, 2013 11:17 AM
  To: Ara Azhderian; Tom Stokely; env-trinity at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us
  Subject: Re: [env-trinity] Chico ER: Put water to local use first

  Wow, what a bunch of legal mumbo jumble BS. Bottom line: we were willing to share our resources with the citizens of California, but for whatever reason, slight of hand, or any other legal tactic, the water resources of the Klamath-Trinity watersheds are completely over-allocated, and any out-of-basin ‘water rights’ need to be adjudicated and brought into a reality based sustainable position. Farming in a desert, how unsustainable is that. Ah, there is that word, sustainable. No worries, the United Nations is moving in next week. Bottom line though: we want our water back…


  From: Ara Azhderian 
  Sent: Friday, August 16, 2013 8:53 AM
  To: Tom Stokely ; env-trinity at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us 
  Subject: Re: [env-trinity] Chico ER: Put water to local use first

  Thanks Tom,


  Here’s another perspective to consider from the Chico Enterprise-Record editorial comments section:


  The judge's decision has nothing to do with north state or south state water "desires." There are quantities set aside for both under federal law. What is in question is whether or not the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation can take more water than the law provides. Reclamation had more than 400,000 acre-feet of water, enough to farm about 160,000 acres or to meet the daily needs of 800,000 Californians, to use for fishery protection this year. Rather than properly plan to legally provide supplemental flows to minimize the effect of diseases that exist on the Klamath River on an expected near historic number of salmon returning to spawn, they choose instead to try and take this water from other legal uses including protection of endangered species, management of waterfowl, clean power generation, recreation, industry, daily human needs, and, yes, farming. Regarding the question of what the judge's ruling means for the future, northern California residents should take comfort from a decision to not allow an illegal infringement upon water rights to occur.

  Mike Wade
  California Farm Water Coalition


  From: env-trinity-bounces+ara.azhderian=sldmwa.org at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us [mailto:env-trinity-bounces+ara.azhderian=sldmwa.org at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us] On Behalf Of Tom Stokely
  Sent: Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:55 PM
  To: env-trinity at velocipede.dcn.davis.ca.us
  Subject: [env-trinity] Chico ER: Put water to local use first


  Editorial: Put water to local use first


  Chico Enterprise-Record

  Posted:   08/15/2013 12:41:01 AM PDT

  Our view: A judge shouldn't allow this year's salmon to be sacrificed for next year's crops in the distant San Joaquin Valley.

  In a shocking decision that should make all Northern Californians wary of those in the south state who covet our water, north state water needs are taking a backseat to south state desires.

  Let's hope this is just temporary insanity. The federal court, even though it's based in the San Joaquin Valley, should be able to figure out that this year's salmon, not next year's crops, are a more pressing concern.

  For now, San Joaquin Valley farming interests have won out. The massive Westlands Water District and a couple of others filed a lawsuit challenging the federal government's release of water from Trinity Lake to help salmon downstream of where the Trinity River runs into the Klamath River.

  A decade ago, tens of thousands of salmon died in the lower Klamath during a drought. Low flows and warm water contributed to the killing. The federal government hoped that releases of cold water from Trinity Lake would help matters this year.

  But the San Joaquin Valley water district thinks the water many hundreds of miles away belongs to its farmers, not to the North Coast residents and their salmon. Much Trinity Lake water — too much in our opinion — is already piped down to the San Joaquin by our state's convoluted plumbing system. It's sent through a mountain into Whiskeytown Lake, into Clear Creek, then the Sacramento River, which allows Westlands to suck more water out of the delta.

  That whole Rube Goldberg contraption works just fine until there's a dry year, then everybody starts fighting and the Westlands farmers forget the water really isn't theirs to begin with.

  They sued to stop the releases, which were supposed to begin Tuesday. A U.S. District Court judge from Fresno agreed to halt them, at least until Friday. Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill said holding off for a few days would allow the court to "consider a reply and perform a more measured analysis of the issues."

  Maybe three days without colder water won't kill any adult salmon. We'll see. But we're surprised the judge would take that risk.

  Let's hope the "measured analysis" includes the fact that the salmon runs were in poor shape just a few years ago, and anglers were restricted from fishing until the salmon stocks recovered. We see no reason San Joaquin Valley growers shouldn't have to make similar sacrifices during a drought. There's never been a guaranteed water supply to them, nor should there be. They decided to plant in an arid area augmented by imported water.

  The farmers aren't worried about water in the next couple of months, like the salmon are. Harvest is upon us. They don't need more now. Rather, they're concerned that lowering the lake this summer could make it harder to fill this coming winter. But this year's salmon should take precedence over next year's cotton and grapes, because it might indeed be a wet winter. Don't sacrifice the salmon on account of unpredictable Mother Nature.

  Beyond that, though, it makes us wonder what would happen if Gov. Jerry Brown built the twin tunnels he is advocating. In a dry year, would everybody south of the delta believe they owned the water that comes from the north? Would they tell us we need to sacrifice a few fish in our rivers so they could have more water? Or that we should fallow our crops so they can grow theirs? Yeah, probably — and that's why we don't like the idea.

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