Trinity Water Release Lawsuit Filed
San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority filed a lawsuit in federal court
yesterday to stop the Bureau of Reclamation from illegally releasing Central
Valley Project (CVP) water from Trinity Reservoir to the Klamath River.
regret being forced into this avoidable defensive action but Reclamation is
acting illegally. It has failed to properly exercise its legal authorities. It
has failed to adequately assess and mitigate for the harms this action will
cause. And, most importantly, it has failed to equitably balance the greater public
good,” said Dan Nelson, executive director of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota
announced that it will release up to 100,000 acre-feet of CVP water from
Trinity Reservoir to diminish the effect of a naturally occurring disease endemic
to the Klamath River system to which the Trinity River is connected in an
attempt to help a near historic number of returning non-listed Chinook salmon. The
action, which is outside of Reclamation's authorized place of use, is intended
to help avoid an event, which is documented to have occurred once in 2002.
sad fact is this was a completely avoidable situation," lamented Nelson.
“Since 2000, a significant supply of water has been set aside each year from
the Trinity Reservoir for fishery protection purposes. Reclamation knew it
could use that water to meet this year's request for supplemental flows on the
Lower Klamath River. They consciously chose not to. Instead, they chose to take
more water illegally from CVP customers already suffering from chronic water
supply shortages. This conflict we have before us results directly from
Reclamation's poor water management decisions.”
its ‘Finding of No Significant Environmental Impact’ (FONSI), Reclamation
concludes that there is no downside to this action, that nothing and no one
will be harmed,” Nelson added. “This is simply false. The potential for
significant impacts to endangered species, water and power customers, including
wildlife refuges, disadvantaged communities and recreational users are
irrefutable. Simply trying to dismiss these impacts as insignificant without
adequate support is unconscionable.”
water planned for release is enough to irrigate more than 30,000 acres of
farmland or serve the domestic needs of three-quarters of a million people for
an entire year.
San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority serves 29 member agencies reliant
upon water conveyed through the California Bay-Delta by the United States
Bureau of Reclamation's Central Valley Project. These public water agencies
deliver water to approximately1.2 million acres of prime farmland, 2 million
California residents, and millions of waterfowl dependent upon the more than
100,000 acres of managed wetlands within the Pacific Flyway.
Labels: bureau of reclamation, California Bay-Delta, central valley project, CVP, Dan Nelson, Klamath River, Lawsuit, Pacific Flyway, San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, Trinity Reservoir