The Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office, working in partnership with other Federal and Oregon State agencies, announces the availability of $2 million in Reclamation funds for the Klamath River Watershed Restoration Program in fiscal year (FY) 2008. Reclamation is specifically requesting proposals to: (1) restore the Klamath River ecosystem; (2) help enhance populations of threatened coho salmon and endangered shortnose and Lost River suckers; and (3) further the fulfillment of the Federal Government’s tribal trust responsibilities as they relate to the natural resources in the Klamath River watershed.
Reclamation will consider funding potential projects that enhance and restore habitat conditions, improve water-quality conditions, remove fish-passage barriers, reduce entrainment through the installation of fish screens, and result in water conservation efficiencies.
The RFP is posted at www.grants.gov for a 45-day open period from March 24, 2008, to Monday, May 19, 2008 (Solicitation number 08SF200023). For more information about the program, please contact Mr. Chuck Korson, KBAO, at 541-880-2575 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Media Contact: Jeffrey McCracken 916-978-5100 Released On: March 24, 2008
The International Joint Commission of Canada and the United States on March 28, released for public comment a proposed new Order of Approval and a proposed new plan, called Plan 2007, for regulating the flows through the Moses-Saunders Dam between Cornwall, Ontario and Massena, New York. The regulation affects water levels and flows in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River downstream to Trois-Rivières.
For nearly 50 years, the Commission has regulated levels and flows of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River as far as Trois-Rivières. In addition to the economic benefits from hydroelectric power and the St. Lawrence Seaway, regulation has provided benefits, by reducing the occurrence of extreme high and low water levels, which annually average (in value) $28.5 million to shoreline property owners and $3.5 million to recreational boaters. Plan 2007 would provide $5.5 million in new benefits on average each year.
“We are releasing Plan 2007 and a proposed new Order for public comment today because we believe they are the best that can be implemented at this time. The Commission must consider the requirements of the Treaty for protection and indemnification of interests that may be injured by the project. It also must consider the goals of the two federal governments when the project was developed which included providing benefits to Lake Ontario shoreline owners and protecting interests downstream,” said Irene Brooks, Chair of the U.S. Section of the Commission.
Compared to the current plan (Plan 58-D with deviations), Plan 2007 provides better results for key environmental performance indicators, while maintaining or improving protections for all other interests. The other interests include shoreline property, recreational boating, commercial navigation, hydroelectric power generation and water supply.
It also provides the flexibility to shift from Plan 2007 to a plan with additional environmental improvements, whenever adequate mitigation measures could be implemented. Measures that have been implemented elsewhere include enhanced shoreline protection or dredging of harbours. The proposed new Order, for the first time, will regulate flows to benefit the environment and recreational boating along with the other interests named above.
Washington Frank Bevacqua 202-736-9024; Ottawa Greg McGillis 613-947-1420
The Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board Tuesday concurred with an emergency authorization allowing the Peace River/Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority to utilize its existing Aquifer Storage and Recovery wellfields for the temporary production of ground water to meet regional demand.
The Authority’s ASR wellfields are normally used to store excess treated surface water from its permitted Peace River withdrawals for later use. The Authority’s existing permit only allows for it to pump previously injected water from this aquifer storage.
However, the ongoing drought has depleted the ASR reserve supplies. The emergency order signed last week by the District’s executive director, David Moore, allows the Authority to draw native ground water from the ASR wellfields to mitigate the effects of the ongoing drought on the public water supply.
The Authority’s service area includes North Port as well as Charlotte, DeSoto, Sarasota and Manatee counties (Manatee County currently does not receive water from the authority).
The authorization will allow the Authority to temporarily utilize its existing ASR wellfields for the production of ground water, with a maximum groundwater withdrawal rate of 17.0 million gallons per day.
Groundwater production may only commence when ASR storage is exhausted and shall cease no later than July 1, 2008. It must also be temporarily suspended any time the Authority is able to meet demand using its other water sources.
The Peace River is the Authority’s primary water source to meet the drinking water needs of approximately 250,000 residents in a four-county region. During periods of high river flows, the authority typically stores water in its reservoir and two ASR wellfields for later use during the dry season or whenever river withdrawals are not sufficient to meet drinking water demands.
As of March 10, 2008, the total amount of water in storage (reservoir and ASR wellfields combined) was approximately 542 million gallons, or about seven percent (7%) of the Authoritys total storage capacity and less than one-third of the amount of storage at this time last year. On that same date, only 56 million gallons remained in the ASR wellfields, compared to a storage capacity of approximately 7.4 billion gallons.
The District has taken other emergency actions to assist the Authority during the current drought. Last month the District authorized the Englewood Water District to help the Authority by providing water to Charlotte County Utilities. This is allowing the Authority to reduce the amount of water it supplies to the county, which helps to extend its regional water supplies.
Additionally, in August 2007, the District authorized the Authority to pump additional water from the Peace River, when sufficient flows were available, to store in its reservoir and two ASR wellfields to help protect the drinking water supply. This emergency authorization remains in effect.
Since its issuance, the August 2007 order has allowed the withdrawal of approximately 1.3 billion gallons of water more than would have been normally authorized by the Authority’s permit. However, the prospect of additional withdrawals has diminished due to seasonal and drought-related declines in river flow.
During the past twelve months (February 2007 through January 2008) the southern basin of the Peace River received only 38.25 inches, compared to a typical historical value of 52 inches, resulting in a rainfall deficit of 13.75 inches. During the same period, the lack of rain in the northern basin of the Peace River has resulted a rainfall deficit of 14.07 inches. As a result of below normal of below normal rainfall in the Peace River watershed, the Peace Rivers stream flow is well below normal and the area is expected to continue to receive below normal rainfall through May.
http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/news/article/917/ March 25
A band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians told Michigan state lawmakers in March that proposals to limit water withdrawals from state streams might run afoul of their fishing rights, since they could limit the numbers of fish in areas where the tribes have access to them.
A number of other tribes around Michigan were thought likely to join the Traverse Band (located near Traverse City) in their challenge.
The legislation is aimed at more closely guarding the state’s water supply, a matter of some sensitivity since Great Lakes water levels have been on the decline. It only larges large-scale withdrawals of more than 200,000 gallons per day, which mainly would be used for agricultural and industrial uses.
An Associated Press report on the dispute noted that “Last fall, the Grand Traverse Band and four other tribes signed an agreement with the state recognizing their members’ right under an 1836 treaty to hunt and fish on public lands in parts of western and northern Michigan. Under the deal, the tribes agreed to hunt and fish in those areas only for subsistence purposes – not for profit. But the Grand Traverse Band said allowing water withdrawals that reduce fish numbers would be a ‘fundamental breach’ of the agreement, which settled a 4-year-old lawsuit.”
[See Associated Press article, March 25, by John Flesher.]
Governor Chris Gregoire in March signed legislation today that will release the largest delivery of new water to towns and farms in the Columbia Basin, and for endangered salmon, in three decades.
Thanks to a historic partnership among state, federal and tribal governments, the new law will allow up to 82,500 acre feet of water to be withdrawn from Lake Roosevelt behind Grand Coulee Dam beginning this year — and up to 132,000 acre feet of water in drought years.
Under the agreement, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and the Spokane Tribe of Indians will receive an annual payment of approximately $3.75 million and $2.25 million respectively, adjusted for inflation. The funding doesn’t purchase water or water rights from the tribes but is being provided to enhance fisheries, protect the environment, preserve cultural resources and other activities.
Local governments around Lake Roosevelt will receive $2 million to address impacts from the release of the new water. The additional water will bring stability to areas affected by the dwindling Odessa aquifer, which has been dropping at an average rate of 7 feet per year. Had this legislation not been enacted, loss of irrigation water in the area could have cost the agricultural region $600 million a year in lost revenue and the elimination of 7,500 jobs. The Lake Roosevelt releases, which will lower lake levels no more than an additional 1.5 feet below current operations, will:
? Supply additional surface water to irrigators of 10,000 acres of land east of Moses Lake
? Offer more certainty to those who have interruptible water rights in times of drought
?Provide new water supplies to municipalities with pending water right applications
? Help ensure the survival of salmon by increasing stream flow in the river in late summer, when fish need it most.
The state will also avoid purchasing water at current market rates, which would be cost- prohibitive for a quantity similar to that coming from Lake Roosevelt. The Washington Department of Ecology is on track to issue new water permits as early as fall 2008.
March 20 Media Contact: Dan Partridge, Department of Ecology, 360-407-7139; e-mail: email@example.com For more information: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/cwp/cr_lkroos.html ?Ecology’s Web site: http://www.ecy.wa.gov
Drought conditions in western South Dakota have forced the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources to issue shutoff orders to 50 junior water right holders along the Cheyenne River and tributaries upstream of Angostura Reservoir and to two junior water right holders on the Belle Fourche River upstream of the Belle Fourche Reservoir diversion dam. Belle Fourche Reservoir is at 54.3 percent of storage capacity and 11.5 feet below full. Angostura Reservoir is at 46.1 percent of storage capacity and more than 18.4 feet below full.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation holds senior water rights for both the Belle Fourche Reservoir, bearing a 1904 priority date, and Angostura Reservoir, having a 1941 priority date. Those water rights provide for an annual fill of each of the reservoirs for supplying irrigation water to the Belle Fourche Irrigation District and the Angostura Irrigation District.
South Dakota water law is based on the prior appropriation doctrine, which means the most senior water rights on a particular stream have priority based upon date to available water supplies over the junior priority date water rights. State water law authorizes DENR and the Water Management Board to issue water right permits to people who want to put water to beneficial use, such as irrigation, municipal water supply, or commercial use. Although the junior priority water right holders are subject to shutoff orders, state water right law gives domestic use of water from rivers and streams the highest priority. Domestic use includes livestock watering and is not subject to shutoff orders.
Contact:?Garland Erbele?(605) 773-3352 Source: South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources Friday March
Salt River Project this weekend will discontinue water releases at Granite Reef Diversion Dam, the first time since Jan. 27 that excess water will not be spilled into the normally dry Salt River.
Charlie Ester, manager of SRP’s Water Resource Operations, said most of the snowpack on the Verde River watershed has melted and that this week, for the first time since late January, the Verde River inflow has dropped to less than the water order for the Valley.
A portion of the water order has already been switched from the Verde River to the Salt River in an effort to capture all future spring storm runoff, Ester said, and virtually all of the snowmelt that remains is primarily on the Salt watershed. SRP’s reservoir system today is 96 percent full, compared to 62 percent full a year ago.
SRP this week informed the City of Phoenix and the Maricopa County Department of Transportation of its decision to stop water releases so they can determine when to re-open road crossings on the Salt River at McKellips Road and 67th and 99th avenues.
Ester said Roosevelt Lake, which holds about 70 percent of SRP’s storage capacity, has been filling all spring and has reached 95 percent of capacity. He said Roosevelt Lake is currently less than a foot from its high-water mark in 2005, the last wet winter in central Arizona, and is 4 feet from full with about 83,000 acre-feet of available space.
Runoff now captured behind Theodore Roosevelt Dam is filling new water-conservation storage space, which is made up of 272,500 acre-feet of available space that is allocated for the Valley cities of Phoenix, Glendale, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Scottsdale. This is only the second instance in which water has been stored in the new conservation space since Roosevelt Dam was raised 77 feet during a modification project that was completed in 1996. Whether Roosevelt Lake fills completely this spring will depend on temperatures over the next several days and future spring storms on the watershed, Ester said. Additional spring precipitation and above-normal temperatures could result in a faster pace of melting snow, which could fill Roosevelt and possibly prompt additional water releases into the Salt River through the Valley.
Since the productive rains starting in the fall, SRP has spilled more than 150,000 acre-feet of water into the Salt River below Granite Reef Dam, primarily because of limited capacity at Horseshoe and Bartlett reservoirs on the Verde River.
The 2007-2008 releases, which peaked at 12,000 cubic feet per second at Bartlett Dam on the Verde River and 23,000 cfs – including local inflows – over Granite Reef Dam below the confluence of the Salt and Verde rivers, were the first into the Salt River through the Phoenix area since 2005 and only the third release over Granite Reef since Roosevelt Dam was modified.
SRP water serves the lands within its service territory in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area that includes all or a portion of the water needs for the cities or towns of Avondale, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Tempe, Tolleson and Scottsdale.
SRP is the largest raw-water supplier in the Phoenix area, normally delivering more than 1 million acre-feet annually.
March 21 Jeffrey P. Lane?SRP Media Relations
Following approval by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, the largest Indian water rights settlement in U.S. history is now fully in effect, concluding more than three decades of extraordinary effort by federal, state and tribal leaders to resolve critical water use issues facing tribal communities and the State of Arizona.
The legislation, approved by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2004, was fully implemented after Secretary Kempthorne signed two Statements of Findings on Dec. 10, 2007, finishing all actions necessary to complete the Gila River Indian Community Water Rights Settlement and amend the Southern Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act of 1982, involving the Tohono O’odham Nation.
Contact:?Chris Paolino?(202) 208-6416 Source: U.S. Department of the Interior Tuesday March 18
In an effort to solve a decades-long water resources battle, Representative Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) testified in the House Water and Power Subcommittee on her legislation, H.R. 4841, the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians Settlement Act of 2007, which would resolve an ongoing lawsuit over water resources in Riverside County and has generated broad local support.
According to Bono Mack, H.R. 4841 will provide long-term sustainability of the San Jacinto River Valley’s water supply by bringing new sources of water to local residents.??
Bono Mack’s bill has generated broad local support, including the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, the City of Hemet, the City of San Jacinto, the Metropolitan Water District, Lake Hemet Water District, and Eastern Municipal Water District for its collaborative approach that would assist both the Tribe and local residents with critical water infrastructure needs.
Specifically, H.R. 4841 resolves a lawsuit currently pending in the United States District Court in California – Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians v. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Filed in April 2000, the lawsuit mainly sought damages and injunctive relief for the continuing drainage of water from the Tribe’s Reservation into Metropolitan Water District’s San Jacinto Tunnel, which was ongoing since the Tunnel’s construction in 1932. The Tunnel was constructed by Metropolitan Water District in order to transport water from the Colorado River to portions of southern California. Bono Mack’s legislation would ratify the June 2006 Settlement reached by the Tribe, Metropolitan Water District and the Eastern and Lake Hemet Municipal Water Districts.
Thursday March 13 U.S. Representative Mary Bono
The Kansas Department of Agriculture has launched a new web page to help water users in the lower Republican River basin access information about streamflow conditions and whether water use will be curtailed to reach minimum desirable streamflow.
The Lower Republican River Basin information is available at ../../appropriation/?cid=1388.
Under Kansas law, when flow drops below an established threshold, pumping restrictions are imposed to protect existing water rights and to meet in-stream water uses related to water quality, fish and wildlife, and recreation. These minimum desirable streamflow requirements were made part of the Kansas Water Appropriation Act by the 1984 Legislature, and they affect only those water rights granted after April 12, 1984.
Last June, the chief engineer of the division of water resources lifted pumping restrictions that had been in place since 2002 on 177 water rights along the Republican River in Clay, Cloud, Jewell, Republic and Washington counties. The restrictions were imposed because streamflow remained below minimum desirable streamflow values. Heavy precipitation in spring 2007 brought back higher sustained flows.
In recent years, water users in the Republican River basin have been allowed to enter into agreements with the division of water resources to use at least some groundwater or surface water, even while minimum desirable streamflow administration is underway. The chief engineer decided to make consent agreements available again in 2008, but only if and when MDS administration becomes necessary.
For the time being, Republican River flows remain above MDS trigger levels. The agency will notify affected water users in the area if conditions change in the coming weeks and months requiring MDS administration.
Water right holders who want to know more about Republican River MDS issues are encouraged to check out the new web page or to contact the division of water resources field office in Topeka at (785) 368-8251 or Stockton at (785) 425-6787.
http://www.ksda.gov/news/id/154 March 13, 2008 Contact:?Lisa Taylor?Public Information Officer?Kansas Department of Agriculture?(785) firstname.lastname@example.org