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Reclamation announces schedule for Sacramento River spring pulse flows

Take appropriate safety precautions along the Sacramento River during increased flow 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 22, 2024

SACRAMENTO, Calif. The Bureau of Reclamation, NOAA Fisheries, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced the plan today for pulse flow releases from Keswick Dam into the Sacramento River. Additionally, Reclamation has coordinated with state, federal, and local agencies and Tribes to develop a Pulse Flow Study Plan.

Pulse flows are rapid increases and decreases in dam-released flows, occurring over the course of a week and are intended to improve juvenile Chinook salmon survival as they migrate to the ocean. Spring-run Chinook salmon juveniles typically experience the worst outmigration conditions due to their later outmigration timing. To support the outmigration success of this year’s spring-run Chinook salmon juveniles, April and May pulse releases provide the greatest species benefit. In addition, the timing of these pulses may also benefit the Coleman National Fish Hatchery juvenile fall-run Chinook salmon, which were released recently.

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 23 and with anticipated peak flows around 11,000 cfs. The second pulse flow will begin on or around May 7 and may reach a peak of around 13,000 cfs. The third pulse flow may occur during May 21 and may reach a peak of around 15,000 cfs. Flows from Keswick Dam 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 winter. 

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.

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 Elissa Buttermore, Bureau of Reclamation, at

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