March 2010: Low Flow

March, 2010

Dear RRWPC Supporter:

THE RUSSIAN RIVER NEEDS YOUR HELP!! Please send enclosed protest to State Water Board before April 12, 2010. Copies must also be sent to Sonoma County Water Agency.   Here’s the story; directions follow.

As you know, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a Biological Opinion (BO) about 1.5 years ago to institute management changes in the Russian River that would protect three fish species of concern: Coho and Chinook salmon and Steelhead Trout.  While RRWPC supports efforts to save the threatened and endangered species, the Order was very limited and did not examine all project impacts.  Furthermore, much of the project is a long-term experiment and results may not be known for fifteen years.

Because of very low storage levels in Lake Mendocino, Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) obtained permission to temporarily lower flows from 125 cubic feet per second (cfs) to between 35 and 70 cfs in 2002, 2004, 2007, and 2009.  SCWA was then ordered by the BO to apply to the State Water Board for a PERMANENT lowering of flows in the Russian River, which they did on September 23, 2009.  RRWPC has been tracking the Petitions in regard to the Hacienda and Dry Creek monitoring points since 2004.