Trinity River Flows Increase to Assist Fall Fish Migration on Lower Klamath and Trinity Rivers

Media Contact: Jeffrey McCracken, 916-978-5100

For Release: August 20, 2004

Based on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries recommendations, increased instream flows from Trinity River are set to start Sunday, August 22, 2004, the Bureau of Reclamation announced today. The Service and NOAA Fisheries, along with the Trinity River Management Council (TMC), recommended the increased flows as a proactive measure to avert any potential fish mortality in the 2004 fall salmon run.

"Because many of the fish set to migrate through the Lower Klamath River are of Trinity River origin, Reclamation has acquired from willing sellers approximately 36,000 acre-feet of Trinity Reservoir water for these releases," said Kirk Rodgers, Mid-Pacific Regional Director for Reclamation. "We anticipate that the cost of acquiring this water will be non-reimbursable to water and power contractors in the Central Valley."

Fisheries biologists say this type of release regime is designed to decrease water temperatures in the Lower Klamath River, thereby decreasing stress on migrating adult salmon and diluting the concentration of endemic fish pathogens, while also reducing the occurrence of physical barriers to migration such as shallow riffles.

The flow schedule calls for an increase from the current 450 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 1,650 cfs, then gradually ramping back down to 450 cfs by September 13, 2004. This schedule uses the entire 36,000 acre-feet of Trinity water during the 3-week long increased flow regime.

Ryan Broddrick, Director of the California Department of Fish and Game, said, "This action will not only improve conditions for the impending salmon migration, but it also sets an example of how federal, state, local and tribal agencies and private groups can work together toward a common goal." "Based on the conditions found by biologists monitoring the river in the last few days, we recommended to Reclamation that we proactively release additional water from the Trinity River to help salmon now beginning to enter the Lower Klamath," said Steve Thompson, Manager of the Service's California-Nevada Operations Office. "These additional flows should improve water quality and lower water temperature, reduce the potential for fish disease, and assist salmon in their upstream migration."

Officials also credited the cooperation of the eight organizations on the TMC for providing valuable input. The TMC includes representatives of the Hoopa Valley and Yurok tribes, the State of California, Trinity County, NOAA Fisheries, U.S. Forest Service, Reclamation, and the Service.

Reclamation has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act and has determined that the increased releases will not have a significant effect on the environment. Due to the need to react quickly to the changing circumstances on the river, Reclamation was unable to provide a draft EA for public review and comment; however, copies of the final EA are available on Reclamation's website at

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Increased Instream Flows From Trinity River