Planned Trinity Water Release Rankles Central Valley Irrigators


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Courtesy the Bureau of Reclamation - TRINITY RESERVOIR
  • Trinity Reservoir
  • Courtesy the Bureau of Reclamation
Another round of the all-too-familiar fight over Trinity and Klamath waters has pulled North Coast congressmen and Central Valley irrigators into the mix.

The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) — which controls the release of water from the Trinity Reservoir — announced last week that it was considering an extra release of Trinity water this year in anticipation of a large salmon run on the Klamath. The bureau similarly upped Trinity River flows last year, in an effort to prevent a repeat of the 2002 fish kill, when low flows and high temperatures on the Klamath contributed to the spread of disease and killed an estimated 33,000 to 65,000 salmon.

But a group of Central Valley irrigators has threatened to sue the bureau because some Trinity Reservoir water is pumped into the Central Valley. The Herald and News reports that the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority has filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the bureau regarding its plan to release water downstream.

Meanwhile, congressmen Jared Huffman, Mike Thompson and George Miller signed a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, urging her to respond to questions about the Bureau of Reclamation’s long-term intentions with Trinity River water and to increase flows this year “to avert a potential environmental, economic and cultural disaster.”

In an email last week, Hoopa Valley Tribe member Communications Coordinator Regina Chichizola said water planning on the Trinity, Klamath and Sacramento rivers needs to be coordinated. “We have warned for years that the BOR shorting the Klamath River to benefit the Klamath farmers and relying on the Trinity, the Klamath's largest tributary, to avoid a fish kill could lead to a battle between the Klamath and Central Valley farmers,” she wrote.

View the Bureau of Reclamations proposed release plan online at Public comment is being accepted until July 31.


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