Federal agencies announce final schedule for Clear Creek spring pulse flows

Take appropriate safety precautions near Clear Creek during the May and June pulse flows

Media Contact: Christie Kalkowski, 916-978-5100, ckalkowski@usbr.gov
John Heil, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 916-414-6636

For Release: May 06, 2019

REDDING, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today two pulse flow releases from Whiskeytown Dam into Clear Creek in May and June. Pulse flows are rapid increases and rapid decreases in dam released flows, occurring over a short time frame. These flows attract adult spring-run Chinook salmon to upstream Clear Creek habitats for holding and spawning purposes.

Flow release for the first pulse will begin May 10 and reach a peak of 700 cubic feet per second May 11. Flow rates will reduce to 200 cfs by May 19. The second pulse flow will begin June 21 and reach a peak of 500 cfs June 22. Following the peak flow, releases will steadily reduce to a 150 cfs summer base flow by June 28.

The public should be aware that during pulse flows, water levels are higher, and currents are faster. As a result, they should take appropriate safety precautions when near or on Clear Creek during these events.

In 2009, NOAA Fisheries issued the Biological and Conference Opinion on the Long-Term Operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. Included in the opinion is a reasonable and prudent alternative action to conduct at least two pulse flows in Clear Creek in May and June. These pulse flows are intended to encourage spring-run Chinook salmon to migrate further upstream to access colder water temperatures, large holding pools and newly provided clean spawning gravel. Avoiding hybridization and competition with fall-run Chinook salmon is another benefit. USFWS monitoring has shown that pulse flows have been successful in attracting spring-run Chinook salmon into Clear Creek. Salmon are counted during snorkel surveys immediately before and after each pulse flow. Salmon are also counted during the pulse flows using video cameras running all day.

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

For more information, contact Derek Rupert, Bureau of Reclamation, at 530-247-8514 (TTY 800-877-8339) or drupert@usbr.gov.

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