State Water Resources Control Board- NOTICE OF PUBLIC WORKSHOP

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2021 SACRAMENTO RIVER TEMPERATURE MANAGEMENT

Video and Teleconference Meeting During COVID-19 Emergency: As a result of the COVID-19 emergency and the Governor’s Executive Orders to protect public health by limiting public gatherings and requiring social distancing, this meeting will occur solely via remote presence.

For those who only wish to watch the meeting, the webcast remains available at either https://www.youtube.com/user/BoardWebSupport/ or https://video.calepa.ca.gov/ (closed captioning available) and should be used UNLESS you intend to comment.

For those who wish to comment during the workshop or are presenting to the Board, additional information about participating telephonically or via the remote meeting solution is available here: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/board_info/remote_meeting/

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board or Board) will hold a public workshop to receive input regarding Sacramento River temperature management this year. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 9:00 a.m.

Remote Participation only

PURPOSE OF THE WORKSHOP AND BACKGROUND

The purpose of the workshop is to receive technical information and public comments to inform the State Water Board’s consideration of Sacramento River temperature management this year pursuant to State Water Board Water Right Order 90-5 (WR 90-5). Order WR 90-5 requires the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) to operate its facilities on the Sacramento River, including Keswick Dam, Shasta Dam, and the Spring Creek Power Plant, to meet temperature requirements for the protection of fish, including federal and State Endangered Species Act listed winter-run Chinook salmon and other native fish species. The order specifically requires Reclamation to meet a daily average water temperature of 56 degrees Fahrenheit (F) on the Sacramento River at Red Bluff Diversion Dam (RBDD) approximately 60 miles downstream of Keswick Dam, during periods when higher temperatures will be detrimental to fish. If there are factors beyond Reclamation’s reasonable control that prevent attainment of 56 degrees F at RBDD, Reclamation may develop a temperature management plan (TMP), in consultation with the State Water Board and other agencies, and propose that the compliance point be moved upstream, which is the case this year. The State Water Board then has 10 days to consider the TMP and object if it does not agree with Reclamation’s proposed operations. 

In addition to Order 90-5, Reclamation’s proposed operations in accordance with the 2019 Biological Opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for the operation of the Central Valley Project includes temperature management provisions, including a 4-tiered method for temperature management at Clear Creek, approximately 12 miles downstream of Keswick Dam. Reclamation proposes to operate under the 2019 Biological Opinion’s tier system in the development of TMPs for Order WR 90-5 compliance. The tiers involve providing better conditions with improved cold water supplies in tier 1 years when there is expected to be little to no temperature related mortality to winter-run Chinook salmon eggs. Under the tiers, incrementally less protective temperature conditions are provided in years with more limited cold water supplies as the tiers increase up to tier 4 years when temperature protections are limited. Due to limited cold water supplies this year, 2021 is projected to be a tier 4 year in which temperature related mortality to winter-run Chinook salmon eggs may be high. Reclamation will develop a draft TMP with specific proposed operations in April followed by a final TMP in May. The State Water Board has 10 days to consider and act on the final TMP.

The State Water Board will provide the draft and final TMPs to its Bay-Delta lyris distribution list upon receipt from Reclamation. You may subscribe to the Board’s Bay-Delta lyris distribution list under the Water Rights tab at: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/resources/email_subscriptions/swrcb_subscribe.html

At the workshop, the State Water Board will receive information regarding the Sacramento River temperature management process, including current hydrologic conditions, fisheries conditions, evaluation of key factors influencing temperature related mortality, and development of Reclamation’s draft TMP from a panel of State and federal agencies including staff from the State Water Board, Reclamation, NMFS, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Water Resources. After presentations by those agencies, the Board will receive information from other groups that request to make a presentation, followed by public comments.

PROCEDURAL MATTERS

The workshop will be informal. While a quorum of the State Water Board may be present, the Board will not take formal action at the workshop. There will be no sworn testimony or cross examination of participants, but the State Water Board and its staff may ask clarifying questions. 

Groups that would like to make a presentation at the workshop should inform State Water Board staff (see below) of their intent to participate no later than 12 noon on April 14, 2021, and should provide electronic copies of their presentations no later than 12 noon on April 16, 2021. Presentations should be kept to 20 minutes or less. Other public comments should be limited to no more than 5 minutes. Depending on the number of speakers, the State Water Board may further limit oral presentations in order to provide all speakers with the opportunity to comment.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND QUESTIONS REGARDING THE WORKSHOP

Questions concerning this notice may be directed to Bay-Delta@waterboards.ca.gov or Craig Williams with the State Water Board at Craig.Williams@waterboards.ca.gov. 

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