Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Don Pedro Dam Relicensing on the Lower Tuolumne River

The FERC relicensing of the Don Pedro dam on the Tuolumne River began earlier this year and I am representing GWWF and the NCCFFF. The CV Salmon and Steelhead have been struggling for years and years on this river and a strong coalition of conservation groups as well as the fishery agencies are working hard to finally get meaningful improved conditions for the fish. This basically means increased flows for the fish at the right time and temperatures. There were FERC scoping meetings held one day in May in Turlock and Modesto. This is an opportunity for the public to make comments to FERC about what should be considered in the relicensing and suggest some study plans. I attended both meetings and submitted comments, of course, advocating better flows for the fish. The turnout was extremely high at these meetings and there are all sorts of parties interested in the use of the river. A large number of comments were filed with FERC and includes over 75 study requests! The Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts have already tried to limit the geographic scope of this relicensing as well by saying that the La Grange dam, which they own, but is not under FERC jurisdiction is the controlling factor in downstream flows. We are just starting on this process, so you’ll get updates as we progress.

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