Thursday, April 15, 2021

Releases on the Trinity River to Significant Increase Flow This Week

Posted By on Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 12:50 PM

click to enlarge The Trinity River. - BUREAU OF RECLAMATION
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • The Trinity River.

Restoration flows will begin tomorrow, April 16, on the Trinity River to help improve conditions after another critically dry water year.

A flow schedule based on the expected amount of water available to support salmon restoration efforts on the Trinity River is brought forward by the Trinity Management Council each year.

This week's two-day schedule is slated to increase daily average flows from 300 cubic feet per second to 1,300 cubic feet per second.

That means rising and swifter water at a time when the rivers are already running high and cold. Earlier this month, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office and area residents rescued three swimmers who became stranded on a rock in the Trinity River at a day use area in Willow Creek.

"This year marks the third critically dry year in the last five years for the Trinity watershed," the Bureau of Reclamation release states. "The planned release schedule attempts to maximize benefits to the physical and biological character of the Trinity River, given the constraints of the limited amount of water available.

This week's release with be followed by other on April 21 and April 23 and a peak release to increase flows to 3,550 cfs on April 28. Two others are scheduled in May.

"Visitors near or on the river can expect river levels to increase during the flow releases and should take appropriate safety precautions," the release states. "Landowners are advised to clear personal items from the floodplain prior to the releases."

A daily schedule of flow releases is available at the program’s website www.trrp.net/restore/flows/current/.

Read the full release below:
WEAVERVILLE, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that this year’s restoration flow schedule for the Trinity River will begin on April 16. Each year, the Trinity Management Council advances a flow schedule based on the expected amount of water available to support salmon restoration efforts on the Trinity River.

Due to lack of precipitation and snowpack in the Trinity Mountains this winter, the flow schedule for 2021 is scaled to a critically dry water year. Critically dry is one of five water year types used by the Trinity River Restoration Program to decide how much reservoir water will be released in support of the program’s goals to improve habitat for anadromous fish—fish that migrate to fresh water from salt water to spawn—like salmon and steelhead. This year marks the third critically dry year in the last five years for the Trinity watershed. The planned release schedule attempts to maximize benefits to the physical and biological character of the Trinity River, given the constraints of the limited amount of water available.

Key components of the flow release schedule are:
  • April 16-17: Increase daily average flows from 300 cubic feet per second to 1,300 cfs
  • April 21: Decrease flows to 500 cfs
  • April 23: Increase flows to 1,500 cfs
  • April 28: Increase flows to peak release of 3,550 cfs
Thereafter, two additional flow increases to 1,950 cfs on May 6 and 1,600 cfs on May 28 are scheduled before flow decreases to summer baseflow (450 cfs) on June 18, which continues until September 30. Visitors near or on the river can expect river levels to increase during the flow releases and should take appropriate safety precautions. Landowners are advised to clear personal items from the floodplain prior to the releases.

A daily schedule of flow releases is available at the program’s website www.trrp.net/restore/flows/current/. The public may subscribe to automated notifications of Trinity River release changes (via phone or email) at https://www.trrp.net/restoration/flows/flow-release-notifications/. The Trinity Management Council is the governing body of the Trinity River Restoration Program. The council’s membership includes Hoopa Valley Tribe, Yurok Tribe, Trinity County, State of California, USDA-Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

For additional information, visit https://www.trrp.net/ or contact the office at 530-623-1800 (TTY 800-877-8339) info@trrp.net.
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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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