"What would you do if you turned on your tap, and no water came out? That's what is at stake."
- Jeff Denham, United States Congressman in California's 10th District
Wildlife, fish, and people have shared its resources for millenia. The balance between these uses is delicate and there’s no doubt that humans have affected that balance in recent centuries.
But Modesto Irrigation District – together with our partner Turlock Irrigation District – has a plan. It’s called the Tuolumne River Management Plan. This affordable, realistic, plan brings balance and sustainability without trying to turn back the clock 200 years.
Join us in letting state and federal regulators know you're willing to fight until the last drop.
Our Science to Save Our Resources
Every 50 years we need to relicense the Don Pedro Project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC. It’s an open, collaborative process involving water districts, cities, residents, tribes, as well as federal, and state agencies. We took input from all these parties to conduct Tuolumne River-specific science and put together a comprehensive plan. Unfortunately some resource agencies have ignored science and put forth their own plans that would devastate our economy and threaten our water supply without doing enough to help our native salmon and O. Mykiss fish populations.
But this doesn’t have to be a battle between fish and people.
While it may not seem intuitive, more water flowing down the river doesn’t necessarily equal more fish. Federal agencies, such as US Fish and Wildlife Services and National Marine Fisheries Services have requested a more than 200% increase in river flows. Their proposals include outdated science that was used on completely different river systems and as a result would have very limited impact on Tuolumne River fish populations.
Increasing river flows in this way would undeniably lead to water shortages which would have substantial impacts on our economy, way of life, and nation’s food supply.
Multiple integrated models show that non-flow measures coupled with a modest, yet effective flow increase, improve fish population health far above the estimated benefits from other agencies’ requested flow amounts. We took into account our salmon’s real world, natural needs and with the Tuolumne River Management Plan, we can significantly increase fish production, while still ensuring a healthy water supply for our region.
The Tuolumne River Management Plan non-flow measures include things like cleaning out sediments where the fish spawn, restoring damaged habitats, exploring building a restoration hatchery, implementing creative water diversion options and reducing predation by invasive species such as striped bass.
When it comes to predation, we know that 90% of juvenile salmon are eaten in the upper river. More water down the river won’t change that and our plan includes specific solutions to address this problem.
We can protect the Valley’s water supply while protecting our environment and fish populations. The science done by real scientists on the Tuolumne River proves that. We’ll fight until the last drop for our most valuable resource and with your help we can convince FERC to go forward with a plan that will ensure the right balance.