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Posted by: thepinetree on 03/30/2015 06:55 AM Updated by: thepinetree on 03/30/2015 11:40 AM
Expires: 01/01/2020 12:00 AM

Hundreds Attend Water Crisis Forum In Copperopolis

Copperopolis, CA...Hundreds of public and private sector leaders and citizens met together Saturday, March 28, 2015, in Copperopolis for The Water Crisis Forum. The forum brought together the key leaders working on the impact of the drought and Federal and State policies which are requiring the draining of millions of gallons of water from California reservoirs to allegedly enhance salmon in the lower rivers. The leaders including United States Congressman Tom McClintock, California State Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, Tuolumne County Supervisor Karl Rodefer and Jeff Shields, Manager South San Joaquin Irrigation District. Congressman McClintock serves as the Chairman of the Federal Lands Subcommittee of the Natural Resources Committee, and is a member of the Natural Resources Committee and of the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans....

The leaders agreed that the "fish flows" should be stopped while the state is in the midst of a drought. The experts noted that without the water releases for fish over the past four years, New Melones Dam could have 1 million acre feet in it by the end of summer. Instead it could be as low as 118,000 acre feet. To put this in context that is enough water to take care of the city of Sacramento for two years.

The Draining of Lake Tulloch Still Possible 2015 Without Agreement

They also also concurred it critically important that the California State Water Board approved a petition from Oakdale and South San Joaquin Irrigation Districts to reduce and change some of the "fish flows" between now and September in order to avoid draining Lake Tulloch. If the petition from the districts with support from Bureau of Reclamation is not granted, New Melones would be brought down to a point that it would only have 2% of the capacity level of the reservoir. (Click here for information on Water Board Action and how to make your voice known)

Lake Tulloch Chair Jack Cox noted "If anyone living at Lake Tulloch believes that the lake is still not threaten with being drained this summer, they better wake up. We must continue to contact elected officials and the Water Board urging them to take short term and long term action"

Douglas Demko, President and CEO, Fishbio, presented an excellent scientific overview of the biology of using pulse flows from the bottom of dams to grow more salmon. Demko, an internationally recognized expert and an expert on the Stanislaus and Tuolumne Rivers, make these key points:

  • Most of the fish effected by the flows aren't native but hatchery fish.
  • The environmental goal is create 20,000 more salmon in the Stanislaus but the habitat can only support 5,000
  • The flows don't work on the rivers because the habitat does not support fish laying more eggs.
  • Only about 3% of the Delta has any habitat anymore with the rest being rock levys.
  • Other programs such as dredging areas down stream and replacing habitat can enhance salmon polulations.
  • Predator fish such as Bass, planted by state and federal agencies years ago, are responsible now for each baby salmon before they ever grow to be adults.
Watch for a full report on the forum with video and text shortly.

Source = Lake Tulloch Alliance

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