California acts to help people, and fish, in response to current drought

Thanks to 80,000 gallons of new storage tanks installed by TU, the students of Whitethorn School in Humboldt County, CA, no longer have to compete with native Mattole River coho salmon for water during the dry season.

Today, in response to the ongoing drought and its effects on people, fish, and wildlife, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) announced that their agencies will expedite approval for installation of storage tanks by landowners who currently divert water from rivers and streams on California’s north coast and Wine Country.

“This is a smart move,” said Brian Johnson, California Director for Trout Unlimited. “This is government being responsive to the needs of its citizenry in challenging times. Trout Unlimited thanks the Department of Fish & Wildlife and the State Water Board for their willingness to act quickly to help people get through this drought.”

Johnson added that installing tanks to divert and store water when stream flows are higher will help improve rural drinking water supplies and fire safety while reducing in-stream diversions during drier months, when salmon and steelhead need it most.

Trout Unlimited has worked for years in multiple locations and with diverse partners in Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and San Luis Obispo counties to help rural homeowners and farmers secure reliable water supplies by installing off-channel storage tanks and ponds, which also benefit salmon and steelhead by reducing stream diversions at times when fish are vulnerable due to low streamflows. Johnson said today’s action by the State affirms the importance of this work.

“Trout Unlimited is committed to cooperative programs and partnerships that increase water supply reliability and stream flows,” said Johnson. “We can meet the water needs of farmers, ranchers and homeowners and still keep enough water in streams for fish. Today’s action to improve drinking water supplies will also be a big help for salmon and steelhead runs on the north coast.”

Here is a link to the CDFW press release on today's action:

Off-channel water storage pond, Grape Creek (Russian River watershed), CA



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