On April 24, 2019, Sonoma Water filed Temporary Urgency Change Petitions (TUCPs) with the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), Division of Water Rights (Division) requesting approval of changes to the subject permits pursuant to Water Code section 1435. The TUCPs request modification to State Water Board Decision 1610 (D1610). Specifically, Sonoma Water requests modifications to Russian River minimum instream flow requirements due to operational constraints placed on Sonoma Water pursuant to the September 24, 2008, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Biological Opinion for Water Supply, Flood Control Operations, and Channel Maintenance (Biological Opinion) conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Sonoma Water, and the Mendocino County Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District in the Russian River watershed. The requested changes to D1610 minimum instream flows are as follows:
Sonoma Water also requested that the minimum instream flow requirement for the Russian River be implemented as a 5-day running average of average daily stream flow measurements, with the stipulation that instantaneous stream flows will be no less than 110 cfs on the upper Russian River and no less than 60 cfs on the lower Russian River.
On April 19, 2017, Sonoma Water (Petitioner) filed temporary urgency change petitions with the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board), Division of Water Rights (Division) requesting approval of temporary changes to water right Permits 12947A, 12949, 12950, and 16596 (Applications 12919A, 15736, 15737, and 19351) pursuant to Chapter 6.6 of Part 2 of Division 2 of the Water Code. The petitions seek authorization to temporarily reduce the minimum instream flow requirements specified under the subject permits due to operational constraints placed on the Petitioner pursuant to the September 24, 2008, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Biological Opinion for Water Supply, Flood Control Operations, and Channel Maintenance conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sonoma Water, and the Mendocino County Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District in the Russian River watershed (Biological Opinion).
The requested changes to the instream flows are as follows:
Are river flows being reduced due to the drought?
Our region is currently not facing drought conditions. Flows are being reduced due to requirements set forth in the Biological Opinion to enhance the environment for juvenile salmonids in the Russian River. Learn more about Decision 1610 Permanent Flow Changes
How does reducing the flow help juvenile fish?
Reducing the velocity of the Russian River’s flow provides more habitat for juvenile salmonids to grow.
Will the reduced flows impact recreation on the Russian River?
We do not anticipate any impacts to recreational activities on the Russian River. We encourage the community to contact local recreational businesses to learn about current recreational conditions.