At the request of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors the Vice Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Steven Moore along with staff, attended the July 11, 2017 board meeting to discuss the Shasta River Hydrology Report. The report is part of an ongoing project that includes five waterways, the South Fork of the Eel River, Mark West Creek, Mill Creek, Ventura River and the Shasta River. The hydrological report is part of the California Water Fix mandate to increase flows in critical fish producing streams. Of concern to the board was the insertion to the plan of a “no flow” alternative in the model. The Shasta River is an adjudicated waterway and there were questions about the ability of the board to mandate “no flows.” Also of concern to the board was the lack of stakeholder involvement in the process.
The California Water Action Plan mandates in Action 4 page 12 of the plan that, “When developing and implementing this action, the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Fish and Wildlife will consider their public trust responsibility and existing statutory authorities such as maintaining fish in good condition.”
To accomplish these goals the plan states that… “As water demand for all uses continues to grow throughout California, it is important to establish flows in critical stream systems to protect native aquatic life. Adequate stream flows are necessary to ensure: 1) fish passage for adult upstream migration and juvenile out migration; 2) stream connectivity, including sufficient water for side channels, backwater areas, and/or floodplains to support feeding and rearing habitats; 3) aquatic benthic macroinvertebrate production as food for salmonids; 4) good water quality and temperature, both of which are influenced by the quantity of flow; and 5) the maintenance of aquatic ecosystem processes (e.g., nutrient and energy cycling).”
One question from the Siskyou Board of Supervisors (SBOS) was if the dams on the Klamath were removed, would the Scott and the Shasta River be required to meet an increased demand for cold water that is now coming from the water released from behind the dams. Another question SBOS asked was if the dams were removed, would the flows from the Trinity be raised to balance out the demand for cold water in the lower Klamath. This subject was also raised during the discussion of the Klamath Dam removal when SBOS asked that Trinity River flows be included in the Klamath dam removal Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
The minutes of this discussion and an audio recording will be available on the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors web site. https://www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/page/board-of-supervisors-agendas-minutes
For more information about the ongoing Water Action Plan Hydrologic Study visit the SWRCB web site.