Friday January 20, 2017

The Modesto Bee –

A new study concludes that salmon have not benefited much from autumn water releases into the lower Stanislaus River.

The research by the Fishbio consulting firm backs up claims by the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts that the October releases are wasting water from New Melones Reservoir.

The “pulse flows” are done on San Joaquin River tributaries with the aim of getting adult salmon to spawning areas after a few years in the Pacific Ocean. They are not directly related to the current state proposal to boost flows even more from February through June to help the young fish out to sea.

Fishbio, based in Oakdale, analyzed salmon counts just downstream of Riverbank from 2003 to 2014 that were funded by OID and SSJID. It found that higher fish numbers correlated with higher flows in just two of those years. It suggests limiting the pulses to 700 cubic feet per second, about half of what was done during the study period.

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