Introduction: Fish Flow ProjectBetween 1996 and 1998 three salmonid fish species (Chinook, steelhead, and coho) were listed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) as threatened, and CA State Fish & Wildlife listed one (coho) as endangered. Because the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) coordinates management of the two major dams feeding Russian River flows (Coyote and Warm Springs), this action triggered a consultation to see if any of the dam management and water supply activities affected any of these fish species. The action initiated a ‘consultation’ that resulted in a Biological Assessment being submitted by SCWA to NMFS.
One year later, in September, 2008, NMFS released a rehabilitation plan called the Biological Opinion. This document described the status of the species and called for numerous actions to be taken by SCWA and the Army Corps of Engineers (co-managers). For the lower river the main requirements were to implement the Estuary Project to provide habitat for juvenile steelhead, and to permanently lower flows throughout the river. Summer flows at Hacienda were to be cut by 44% in normal rain years and 60% in dry years. In the last seven years, SCWA attempted on many occasions to implement the Estuary Project, but it succeeded only once for a week. Nevertheless, SCWA is required to provide an environmental impact report for lowering flows and to apply to the State for a change in water rights to implement. Documents below tell the story.
Fish Flow DEIR Comments to SCWA
Fish Flow Protest Letters to State Board
- RRWPC Comments on SCWA Low Flow Urgency Petition, 5-14-17
- RRWPC Comments, 3-20-17
- RRWPC Attorney Comments, 3-20-17