[env-trinity] Trinity Journal: Huffman has harsh criticism for Bureau of Reclamation

Tom Stokely tstokely at att.net
Wed Aug 20 08:23:25 PDT 2014


http://www.trinityjournal.com/news/environment/article_f073e888-280d-11e4-925a-001a4bcf6878.html
Huffman has harsh criticism for Bureau of Reclamation
By Sally Morris The Trinity Journal | Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 6:15 am
On a swing into Trinity County last week, Congressman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, had harsh words for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s recent decision to withhold water releases to the Trinity River to prevent a repeat of the 2002 Klamath fish kill that many believe low flows and warm water temperatures contributed to.
“We’re starting to see some deaths and disease and there are lots of fish returning to spawn this year. We are in a scary place right now that the Bureau has not planned for very responsibly,” he said during comments at the Trinity County Board of Supervisors’ regular session Aug. 12.
He argued that going into what everyone knew would be a tough drought year, the Bureau of Reclamation “continued to send an awful lot of water over the hill to the Central Valley and they continue to do that today. The Bureau has chosen winners and losers this year, choosing the Central Valley Project with the water going that way. If we avoid a massive fish kill, it will be purely by good luck, not appropriate federal management, and that’s what we’ve got to get better at.”
Arguing the Trinity River Division is required by law to first protect Trinity River fisheries before bailing out Central Valley Project water users, Huffman said he has been working with Klamath and Hoopa tribes to get the Bureau “to send more water this way, but the Bureau has refused to do that. They only will if they start to see signs of massive die off and that may be too late — not only to save the fish, but there’s only so much cold water left in Trinity Lake and they continue to send it to the CVP. I’m honestly furious with the Bureau over this and so far they aren’t listening.”
He added this year’s Trinity River diversions to the CVP “have squandered a lot of the cold water we’re going to need this fall. We can’t get that water back, but hopefully we can get them to stop the diversions to the Central Valley now. We’ve got to keep the situation from getting worse, but even that is something the Bureau is not listening to,” and he thanked members of the Trinity County Board of Supervisors “for joining the chorus of concern.”
In his recent comments to the Bureau advocating for a plan to increase Trinity River flows to protect migrating salmon in the lower Klamath River, Huffman noted that at the end of July, Trinity Lake held just 888,000 acre-feet of water which is 288,000 acre-feet above the level that would trigger a reconsultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service under the National Environmental Policy Act. Under the 2000 Trinity River Record of Decision, only 450 cubic feet per second was released daily into the Trinity River in July. At the same time, an average of 3,000 cfs was diverted to the Sacramento River totaling 152,000 acre-feet of water.
He said continuing to divert water to the Central Valley Project during this year’s drought conditions “is a pray-for-rain strategy for the Trinity and Klamath River fisheries” and he criticized the Bureau for a “consistent refusal to develop long-range plans that has left it liable for damage to fisheries and trust resources, and unable to adequately respond to crises when they occur.”
As of Monday, Trinity Lake held 764,271 acre-feet of water, 31 percent of capacity. Water flowed into the lake at 80 cubic feet per second. The release into Clear Creek Tunnel was 2,326 cfs and the release into the Trinity River was 452 cfs. The lake was 32.9 percent full. A year ago it was 61.4 percent full.
 
By Sally Morris The Trinity Journal | Posted: Wednesday, August 20, 2014 6:15 am
On a swing into Trinity County last week, Congressman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, had harsh words for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s recent decision to withhold water releases to the Trinity River to prevent a repeat of the 2002 Klamath fish kill that many believe low flows and warm water temperatures contributed to.
“We’re starting to see some deaths and disease and there are lots of fish returning to spawn this year. We are in a scary place right now that the Bureau has not planned for very responsibly,” he said during comments at the Trinity County Board of Supervisors’ regular session Aug. 12.
He argued that going into what everyone knew would be a tough drought year, the Bureau of Reclamation “continued to send an awful lot of water over the hill to the Central Valley and they continue to do that today. The Bureau has chosen winners and losers this year, choosing the Central Valley Project with the water going that way. If we avoid a massive fish kill, it will be purely by good luck, not appropriate federal management, and that’s what we’ve got to get better at.”
Arguing the Trinity River Division is required by law to first protect Trinity River fisheries before bailing out Central Valley Project water users, Huffman said he has been working with Klamath and Hoopa tribes to get the Bureau “to send more water this way, but the Bureau has refused to do that. They only will if they start to see signs of massive die off and that may be too late — not only to save the fish, but there’s only so much cold water left in Trinity Lake and they continue to send it to the CVP. I’m honestly furious with the Bureau over this and so far they aren’t listening.”
He added this year’s Trinity River diversions to the CVP “have squandered a lot of the cold water we’re going to need this fall. We can’t get that water back, but hopefully we can get them to stop the diversions to the Central Valley now. We’ve got to keep the situation from getting worse, but even that is something the Bureau is not listening to,” and he thanked members of the Trinity County Board of Supervisors “for joining the chorus of concern.”
In his recent comments to the Bureau advocating for a plan to increase Trinity River flows to protect migrating salmon in the lower Klamath River, Huffman noted that at the end of July, Trinity Lake held just 888,000 acre-feet of water which is 288,000 acre-feet above the level that would trigger a reconsultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service under the National Environmental Policy Act. Under the 2000 Trinity River Record of Decision, only 450 cubic feet per second was released daily into the Trinity River in July. At the same time, an average of 3,000 cfs was diverted to the Sacramento River totaling 152,000 acre-feet of water.
He said continuing to divert water to the Central Valley Project during this year’s drought conditions “is a pray-for-rain strategy for the Trinity and Klamath River fisheries” and he criticized the Bureau for a “consistent refusal to develop long-range plans that has left it liable for damage to fisheries and trust resources, and unable to adequately respond to crises when they occur.”
As of Monday, Trinity Lake held 764,271 acre-feet of water, 31 percent of capacity. Water flowed into the lake at 80 cubic feet per second. The release into Clear Creek Tunnel was 2,326 cfs and the release into the Trinity River was 452 cfs. The lake was 32.9 percent full. A year ago it was 61.4 percent full.
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