Fish Saved, Humans Evacuated!
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was trying to make sure they were doing everything possible to save fish.
Mar 14, 2017
As the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) was trying to deal with the emergency of the Oroville Dam Spillway and make sure people were safe, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was trying to make sure they were doing everything possible to save fish.
The NMFS wanted the DWR to "ramp down the releases more gradually to protect Chinook salmon, sturgeon, steelhead and other fish that ply the Feather River."
But, the NMFS didn't just want the DWR to ramp down the releases. They had a whole list of requests that you wouldn't believe in a situation where 200,000 people were being evacuated. See if you can get through this list without wondering where these unelected bureaucrats are coming from:
1. Reductions in flows should occur during hours of darkness in the Feather River
to protect juvenile salmonids, especially Chinook salmon.
2. Reductions in flows (down ramping rate) should occur as slowly as possible, to allow fish
to follow the receding water elevation.
3. Minimum flows should be maintained at all times. Flows should not below
the minimum instream flows. If flows are expected to below the minimum instream
flows, DWR should release water from the spillway to ensure minimum instream
flows are met.
4. Consider initially dredging a channel through the debris that will allow water to flow to
maintain minimum flows or more. Provide flow through the river valves and/or the
powerhouse. Repairs at the powerhouse and river valves should be prioritized
to provide water to the Feather River immediately.
5. Address water supply issues (quantity and quality) at the Feather River Fish Hatchery
and Thermalito Annex. Ensure adequate water is available to these facilities and that
the turbidity, oxygen, and pH stay below levels that will stress fish.
a. Aerial photography of the Feather River prior to flow reductions and after flow reductions
will assist in prioritizing locations to survey.
b. Put boats, equipment, and people on the river to survey for fish stranded in pools.
c. Prioritize areas to survey based on areas of higher risk. Use aerial surveys to
identify areas of high risk.
d. For large pools, and for pools with unknown stranding, sample for presence using eDNA for
Chinook salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon.
e. Plan on more than 5 days for monitoring and potential rescues. Monitoring and rescue
operations should occur throughout the period of reduced flows and the dredging activities.
f. Collect samples and information about stranded, rescued fish, and dead fish.
1. Take pictures and video of locations and fish sampled. Check the date stamp on
the cameras. With the video frequently verbally record the time, date, and location.
11. In the case of surveys, the numbers and species of fish should be estimated
111. In the case of fish rescues the numbers and species of fish should be identified and
pictures taken. Where possible and it will not significantly impact the implementation of
the fish rescue, tissue samples and scales should be collected. The date, time, location,
presence or absence of adipose fins, and who collected the samples needs to be recorded
on the bags. Number the bags and locations.
IV. In the event of dead fish, pictures should be taken, the carcasses should be
placed in a plastic sealing bag, and record the date, time, location, presence or absence
of adipose fins, and who collected the sample recorded on the bag. Number the bags and
locations. Freeze large fish as soon as possible.If ethanol is available, use it to preserve
samples, otherwise freeze.
7. Monitor water quality, turbidity, DO, pH, and adjust dredging operations if these
parameters reach levels that may adversely affect fish at the fish barrier dam or in
8. Water should be released from the Thennalito Afterbay to augment flows in the Feather
River, while maintaining water deliveries to the Thermalito Annex.
9. If possible, install turbidity curtains or booms to reduce potential turbidity levels, to
the maximum extent possible.
10. Coordinate with the Corps, Yuba County Water Agency, PG&E, and the Nevada
Irrigation District to augment flows from storage in the Yuba watershed. Also coordinate
with the South Sutter Water District regarding the availability of water from the Bear
River for flow augmentation.
11. Deploy as many people as possible to survey and respond to fish stranding, and
coordinate with CDFW.
12. Submit a report of the activities and results to NMFS within 30 days.
This is only part of the letter. You can read the entire letter here. These unelected bureaucrats appear to be running the asylum and our elected officials don't seem to have the guts to rein them in.
Read the Entire Letter
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