Modifying River Flows to Help Fisheries

The primary environmental focus of the Tuolumne River Management Plan is to improve the ecosystem for Fall Run Chinook Salmon and O. mykiss (or Rainbow Trout) through a comprehensive suite of inter-related river flow and non-flow measures developed using site-specific studies. The Tuolumne River Management Plan carefully balances the needs of these fish with the need for water supplied by the project.

To best determine new operating conditions for the Don Pedro Project and the ways to mitigate Don Pedro’s effects on the Tuolumne River and surrounding areas, a comprehensive plan informed by a scientific, fact-based approach is necessary. This need resulted in the science that informed the Districts’ final license application submitted to FERC in October 2017.

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A Plan Based on the Facts

Well-regarded and respected consultants, scientists and academics were secured to study the impact of the Don Pedro Project on everything from native salmon and rainbow trout to recreational opportunities and water supply. These experts were not asked to meet any predetermined outcomes; they were simply directed to find the facts.

Once these numerous studies were complete, it was time to create a plan that carefully considered the needs and solutions identified in these site-specific studies, carefully considering actions and projects that offer the greatest benefit overall. While other studies may examine one small piece of the puzzle, they don’t always consider how an adjustment for one benefit affects others. Small changes in one element of the plan could have a significant negative impact in another area.

Turlock Irrigation District believes this holistic approach offers the best solutions, based on the facts and recommendations from numerous independent, site-specific studies.

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