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Delta Water Tunnels

by E.B. Duggan

Yes we are back to the Delta Tunnels again. It appears that the Governor has received the “OK” to build the tunnels that will go around the delta and deliver water from the Sacramento River to the pumps at the San Joaquin station. Currently the CVPA delivers an average of 4.7 million acre feet per of water per year to the Central Valley water project. A consultant for the State Water Resources states that the tunnels would likely deliver an average of 4.7 to 5.2 million acre feet of water per year depending on environmental restrictions. A Westlands Board member, Todd Nerves states,” That is too rich for farmers to pay” at the rate of $495 per AF. Board member Williams Bourdeaw states that $ 17.1 million is a lot of money to build the tunnels for water if the farmers have to pay for it.

I still don’t understand how taking water from the Sacramento River above the Delta and by-passing the Delta to deliver water to the pumps is NOT going to harm the Delta fishery. What happens to the lack of water that would have flowed into the Delta that stops the encroachment of salt water backing up into the Delta? How does the State Water Resources plan to prevent the encroachment of salt water into the Delta? 

This is a “Heads Up” notice that the next Tribal Ceremony on the Klamath River will be on Aug. 16th to 25th near the mouth of Clear Creek; it will be the “World Renewal Ceremony”. Please try to avoid that area during those dates. You will have plenty of other areas on the Klamath to fish during that time. We don’t need to have a fisherman/Tribal conflict during the ceremony.  

The weather has turned hot and it looks like it is going to be hot for the next couple of weeks so if you plan to be coming up to the Klamath or Trinity Rivers to fish, be prepared for the heat.

Fishing: Lewiston Dam releases are down to 1,024cfs and we are approaching summer water flows on the Trinity and the river is starting to heat up. This is always a problem for the returning fish, mostly the salmon. Last week one of the locals that likes to go swimming around the mouth of Willow Creek said that while he was swimming he did NOT see a single fish. Usually at this time of year the mouth of Willow Creek has lots of salmon and steelhead cooling off in the cooler water there. This kind of tells me that the “Spring Run” is at the end and that most of the spring salmon are in the upper sections of the river now. One could find some stragglers in the Burnt Ranch Gorge area if one fished hard at the Falls or up near the top where there are some cold streams coming into the river. No word from the upper section of the Trinity at this time but I am sure that there are some salmon hanging out at the mouths of cold streams or in the deeper pools. 

Mid-Klamath: Iron Gate Dam is releasing 960cfs so the upper part of the Klamath should be very fishable now.  Trout and steelhead fishing above I-5 should be at the peak of the summer fishing as the river starts to heat up. I have to tell you that the two fires above the Salmon River are creating some smoke along the upper Klamath. Highway 96 is closed to through traffic at times above the Marble Ranch Resort due to heavy smoke. This is an “on again, off again” situation depending on the firefighting conditions in the area.  I didn’t receive my report from Seiad Valley so I can’t give you a good fishing repot for that  area today but I hear that the smoke does cause  a problem so please be mindful of the fires and fire fighters.  The Mid-Klamath around Witchpec was looking good as I went through but some of the smoke has started to filter down the river and depending upon the conditions it can get worse. It is FIRE season now so we can expect to have a fire now and then to complicate things.

Lake Conditions: Whiskeytown is 98% of capacity with inflows of 1,598cfs and releasing 1,508cfs into Clear Creek & on to Keswick. Shasta is 89% of capacity (a decrease of 2% & minus 3ft) with inflows of 3,746cfs and releasing 8,495cfs, Keswick is 93% of capacity with inflows of 9,878cfs and releasing 9,770fs; Oroville Lake is 63% of capacity (a decrease of 2% & minus 6ft), inflow is 3,046fs and releases are 6,891cfs; Folsom Lake is 96% of capacity (minus 2% & minus 1ft.) inflows are 3,269cfs and releases are 8,307cfs. 

Trinity Lake: The Lake is 26ft below the overflow (increase of 5ft) and 84% of capacity (1% decrease) Inflow to Trinity Lake is 1,183cfs and Trinity Dam is releasing 3,109cfs to Lewiston Lake with 2,085cfs going to Whiskeytown Lake and on to the Keswick Power Plant and  9,770cfs being released to the Sacramento River. 

Trinity River Flows and Conditions: Lewiston Dam releases are 1,024cfs, water temps of 49.6 air is 90 degrees at 12:00 noon today. Limekiln Gulch is 5.7ft at 1,078cfs, water temps of 49.6 degrees and air is 90. Douglas City is 7.3ft at 1,163cfs, water temps of 52.4, air is 91. Junction City is 3.3ft at 1,163cfs.  Helena is 10.7ft at 1,303cfs with water temps of 57.1. Cedar Flat is 4.6ft at 1,393cfs. Willow Creek is estimated at 1,636cfs air is 90 and water at 63.5. Hoopa is 13.1ft at 1,838cfs with water temps of 67.8.  Flows at the mouth of the Trinity River at Klamath River are estimated to be 4,737cfs.

Klamath: Iron Gate Dam releases are 960cfs.  Seiad Valley is 2.4ft at 1,379cfs. Happy Camp is estimated at 1,429cfs. Somes Bar is estimated at 2,342cfs. Orleans is 3.7ft. at 2,899cfs. Klamath River at Terwer Creek is 9.4ft at 5,170cfs, water temperatures of 69.7 degrees. Flows at Smith River, Dr. Fine Bridge are 5.2ft at 476cfs. 

Temperatures in the Valley last week were 100/54 degrees with 0.00 inches of rain with a season total of 84.45in of rain and 3.5in of snow. Temperatures in the valley next week are expected to be 100/57 degrees; with sunshine for most of the next couple of week and temperatures running into the 100s. NOTICE: There are a couple of fires up Hwy 96 and in the Marble Mountains Wilderness area that are going to make the Upper Klamath River area smoky at times.

from Willow Creek, CA Phone 530-629-3554, E-mail

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