A pulse flow was coordinated this week on the Feather River by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). On Monday, DWR increased total releases from the Oroville complex into the Feather River to 4,050 cubic feet per second (cfs) and on Wednesday ramped down releases to 3,150 cfs, which will now be maintained for the near future to manage storage. The intent of this pulse is to assist in the outmigration of hatchery spring-run Chinook Salmon. The salmon are being released at Boyd’s Landing, but the pulse will also provide a benefit to fish between the Thermalito River Outlet and Honcut Creek, where flows are lower.
Earlier in the month, DWR and the fishery agencies agreed to a plan to reduce total Feather River flows below the minimum, thereby banking a volume of saved water for this pulse. The pulse flow was conducted in accordance with a 1983 DWR/CDFW agreement, which has established minimum flow criteria and a provision that allows the agencies to work together with flexible operations for the benefit of fish.
There are re-managed flow arrangements on every part of the Sacramento River Basin that have been designed for salmon and using flexible operations of the existing water system for the benefit of fish and wildlife. These pulse flows are generally a very efficient and effective way to assist fish, while also managing water for other multi-beneficial uses, including cities and rural communities, farms, birds and other wildlife and recreation. Re-managed flows in the Sacramento River Basin are shown on the attached sheet, which can be clicked on for the full page.