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Federal agencies announce schedule for Sacramento River spring pulse flows

Take appropriate safety precautions along the Sacramento River during increased releases

Media Contact: Mary Lee Knecht, Bureau of Reclamation 916-978-5100
John Heil, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 916-414-6636
For Release: Apr 20, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation, NOAA Fisheries, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the plan today for two pulse flow releases from Keswick Dam into the Sacramento River.

Pulse flows are rapid increases and decreases in dam-released flows, occurring over a short time frame. The release of water helps improve survival rates for out-migrating juvenile spring-run Chinook salmon smolts through the Sacramento River in addition to the planned releases of more than 10 million fall and winter-run Chinook salmon from the Coleman National Fish Hatchery.

Pulse flows releases from Keswick Dam will be targeting flows at Wilkins Slough of 11,000 cubic feet per second. The flow release for the first pulse is scheduled to begin around April 24 and reach a peak of around 9,000 cfs. Flow rates will reduce to around 7,000 cfs by April 29. The second pulse flow will begin on or around May 8 and may reach a peak of around 12,000 cfs. Flows from Keswick Dam this spring will be variable in order to shape the pulse flows and to potentially manage storage in Shasta Reservoir given the high amount of precipitation experienced this year. 

During the elevated Keswick Dam releases, river levels will be higher with fast and cold currents. The public is urged to take appropriate safety precautions while flows are increased.

The spring pulse flows are consistent with the 2019 Biological Opinions for the Coordinated Long-Term Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. The releases are intended to improve juvenile Chinook salmon survival as they migrate to the ocean.

Water released as part of the pulse flows will remain within the Central Valley Project system and be available for use downstream by Reclamation water contractors, including agricultural and municipal and industrial users in the Central Valley.

For more information, contact Lisa Elliott, Bureau of Reclamation, at  


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