Salmon

Federal Biologists Determine that Corps Dams Are Harming Yuba River Fisheries

A Biological Opinion (BiOp) recently produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has determined that continued operation of Englebright dam and Daguerre Point dams on the lower Yuba River in California will jeopardize endangered fish species on the Yuba River.

The Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon and steelhead and the Southern distinct population segment of North American green sturgeon have all be affected by the dams.

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Protecting Spring-Run Chinook Salmon: The Use of a Two-Dimensional Water Temperature Model to Evaluate Alternative Hydroelectric

Source: 
Waterpower XVI
Year: 
2009
Abstract: 

The relationship between stream flow and water temperature in the waters affected by Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) DeSabla-Centerville Hydroelectric Project, FERC No. 803, (Project) was an important relicensing issue. The Project diverts cool water from the West Branch of the Feather River (WBFR) into Butte Creek, a stream that supports the largest population of spring-run Chinook salmon in California. Annually, PG&E and resource agencies develop a coordinated plan to maximize the cool water benefits in Butte Creek through changes in Project operations (e.g., timing and magnitude of releases from Project reservoirs). The development of a predictive stream temperature model, focusing on summer months (June through September) when high water temperatures can be a limiting factor, improved our ability to manage stream temperatures. The Army Corp of Engineers CE-QUAL-W2.v.3.2 (W2) was used for modeling the portion of the study area that is operationally adjusted to control temperatures in spring-run Chinook salmon summer holding habitat. W2 is a two-dimensional, laterally averaged, hydrodynamic, water temperature and water quality model. It was successfully used in this high gradient stream system by producing a hydro-dynamically equivalent model of the plunge-pool topographies typical of most of our study area. The model accommodated multiple waterbodies representing reservoirs and streams, multiple inflows and outflows, time-varying boundary conditions, and layer/segment addition and subtraction. W2 is a finite difference equation model that can compute water temperatures at sub-minute time intervals; as such it effectively modeled daily variations in water temperatures (i.e., daily minimums, means and maximums). We calibrated W2 with two years (2004, 2005) of summer water temperature data from stream, canal and reservoir locations, travel time (from dye studies) at four stream locations, and stream wetted width versus flow relationships from 22 instream flow transects. Error statistics indicated model calibration was successful in producing good to excellent performance across all metrics. Simulations were conducted using 2005 hydrology (above normal) and meteorology (hot) and 2001 hydrology (dry) combined with the hot 2005 meteorology. To investigate the effects of alternate operational scenarios on summer-time Butte Creek water temperatures a total of 32 simulations were conducted. Effectiveness of an alternative to manage water temperatures was determined by comparing a base case (reflecting current operations) with the alternative. Simulation results were then used by relicensing participants to develop instream flow recommendations. 

Author(s): 

Ed Cheslak, Chris J. Berger, Robert Annear, Scott Wells

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Dam owners have to coddle fish

Volume: 
Vol. 231(3) 22-25
Year: 
1993
Abstract: 

Fish and hydroelectric dams are striving to coexist across the country. With conservation groups as well as state and federal agencies pressing for severe controls on water releases, hydropower production has been cut substantially in many cases. At the same time, dam operators have undertaken some sophisticated construction programs to meet the challenge. To date, many strategies employed on the Columbia and Snake Rivers have been both costly and ineffective. The Army Corps of Engineers is trying to address its problems partly with extensive model studies. But, they have found that "the more you learn, the more complicated it gets." Together the failures of the Corps, as well as other federal agencies have caused the power utilities to call for reductions in spending for all fish programs, which they say are ineffective.

Author(s): 

Soast , A. , King , H.

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American Rivers produced abstract

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Reconciling Dams and Salmon

Volume: 
Winter 1994-1995
Year: 
1994
Abstract: 

There is a highly polarized environment in which decisions balancing protection of fish populations and energy generation are made. Hydroelectric power accounts for 12% of U.S. electric supply and virtually all the nation's renewable enrage capacity. Yet, hydro is under increasing attack on environmental grounds, mostly for inputs on fish populations. The 1992 listing of sockeye salmon as endangered has intensified a long-running battle over restoring fish runs and sent mitigation costs skyrocketing. Further complicating the regulatory picture, a Supreme Court decision this spring appears to allow states to set minimum flows at hydroelectric facilities under the authority of the Clean Water Act. The real challenge for applied ecologists will continue to be: how best to put the right information on the table, in the right form, and at the right time to best incorporate ecological consequences in the decision making process.

Author(s): 

Prendergast , J.

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Notes: 

American Rivers produced abstract

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