From The Trinity Journal

River program proposes winter flow increases

By AMY GITTELSOHN The Trinity Journal Nov 22, 2017 0

Trinity River Restoration Program staff propose to raise the release from Lewiston Dam to the Trinity River with several spikes during the winter months.

The TRRP will host a public informational meeting on the proposal from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, at the program office at 1313 S. Main St. in the Tops Super Foods shopping center.

This year’s winter flow proposal would increase the release from the typical 300 cubic foot per second winter base from Feb. 1 through April 22. The recommended winter peak releases would be restricted to 1,800 cfs for the next two years and would not exceed the Trinity Dam PowerPlant capacity, the TRRP said in a news release.

The water for the additional winter flows would be accomplished within the existing Trinity River Record of Decision volumes.

From the TRRP, Kevin Held said the proposed schedule isn’t finalized yet and more specifics will come at a later meeting.

Agency staff have been discussing taking the additional water out of the normal spring releases, he said.

TRRP Implementation Branch Chief Mike Dixon said the 1,800 cfs release won’t be for the duration of the three months. “We don’t have that much water to work with.”

Rather, he said, several “bumps” of a couple of days each of up to 1,800 cfs are anticipated during that time period, with the release returning to 300 cfs between those bumps.

It’s an experiment to validate hypotheses and modelling output, he said. “Our fish production model has showed the vast majority of fall chinook smolts have left the restoration reach by the time we do our spring spike.”

It’s anticipated that the winter spikes will increase food of the size eaten by smolt by washing bugs off the floodplain and causing aquatic insects to move to new areas, he said.

If the changed schedule is approved, the results are to be monitored by researchers from the Yurok Tribe and Humboldt State University.

The Nov. 30 meeting is to get public input, “make sure we’re not missing something critical,” he said.

Following that, he said, the program technical work group will make a recommendation to the Trinity Management Council to be considered at the TMC’s December meeting.

Regarding potential impacts to the steelhead fishing season, Dixon said with an 1,800 cfs release at Lewiston, “I’ve still waded at Douglas City when it’s that high before, and certainly drift boat fishing is possible.”

Further downstream there could be more effect with tributaries also adding water, he said, adding that it depends where you like to fish and how. “I will still be out there fishing,” he added.

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