More Flow From San Joaquin Valley Rivers Required to Help Salmon Runs
On December 12, the State Water Resources Control Board voted 4-1 to require more flow from San Joaquin Valley rivers – the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced – to reach the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This was the first update of Bay-Delta water quality standards in 23 years and the first time ever that upstream water users have been required to release water to protect downstream Bay-Delta habitat. The Bay Institute’s expert testimony and policy advocacy helped convince the Board to initially require at least 40% of runoff to remain in the rivers, an increase of hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water above its original 2012 proposal, although the Board’s decision still falls short of the 50% – 60% of runoff needed to fully protect and restore declining San Joaquin Valley salmon runs. Bay Institute scientists are now working on analyses to help shape the Board’s next, bigger decision, expected in 2020 – how much water must flow from Sacramento Valley rivers to the Delta, and the total amount of freshwater flow that must reach San Francisco Bay.
You can learn more about flow affects the health of the Bay estuary in The Bay Institute’s 2016 report, The Freshwater-Starved Estuary, click here.