Sonoma County Gazette, August 2010

No Low Flow so far…

By Brenda Adelman

Summer flows in the lower river have been much higher than anticipated so far, averaging almost 200 cubic feet per second (cfs), rather than the 70-85 cfs authorized by the State Water Board in their Temporary Urgency Change Order.  (This is government-speak meaning: We are taking away substantial amounts of your surface water on short notice without environmental review.)

Interestingly, some believe that the major motivator for designating lowered flows in the river’s main stem to begin with, is to compensate for the lack of tributary flows resulting from the State’s ineffective regulation of agricultural water rights permits and the subsequent need to “quickly” rescue the rapidly declining salmonid fishery.  In other words, it’s a much easier process to lower flows, close the Estuary, and delay taking on controversial water rights conflicts that supported the fishery decline in the first place.