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No date mentioned in the TS article. The water flow is an issue. Younger forests and changing weather patterns are an issue. The writer, perhaps wisely, avoided too much discussion of residential and underground commercial draws from the river, probably because that might be interpreted as blaming people who don’t want to be blamed. So I hope when the meeting time and place are announced, all of the stakeholders will show up and be ready to listen as well as talk.
Already the comments thread attached to the article is heating up.
The image comes from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Mattole River Update: Aug 2007
This summer continues to be one of the lowest flow years on record for the Mattole River. On August 8th there were 500 gallons per minute flowing just upstream of Bridge Creek, and within two weeks we expect that number to drop by half, to 250 GPM-the equivalent of just 12 pumps working at once.
By September 1st the Mattole Headwaters will be in a critical condition, with some spots drying up completely and leaving baby salmonids exposed and stranded. Already there are approximately 15,000 baby Chinook stuck in gradually warming water at the mouth of the Mattole in Petrolia, where they will die unless we do something to help them.
Sanctuary Forest, the Mattole Restoration Council and the Mattole Salmon Group are working together to improve river flows and salmon survival, and encourage community members to do what they can to conserve water. Everybody counts, including those who use water from tributaries and springs that would usually feed the Mattole. September is the most critical month, and everything you can do to reduce water use or stop pumping will help. Stop watering your garden, let lawns go brown, take short showers and fix leaks. Little changes can make big differences.
For more information visit sanctuaryforest.org, and please come join us at the Mattole River Celebration on Aug. 25th at Whitethorn Construction to celebrate our shared watershed, local culture and talent, and to learn more about river and fish conditions and what you can do to help them.
SAVE WATER SAVE SALMON
Mattole River Update August 8, 2007
· Conditions are low and approaching critical
· 494 gallons per minute were measured upstream of Bridge Creek confluence on August 8th, 2007
· Juvenile salmonids are currently trapped in tributaries and the estuary
What you can do:
· CONSERVE NOW!!
· Every water source counts, including all water taken from tributaries and springs that feed the Mattole
· Fix Leaks. Leak proof your water storage tank and water system
· Use a tank shut-off valve to keep water from overflowing or use overflow piping that leads back to the stream or river
· Reduce watering of garden & landscape: Try dry farming, drip irrigation, mulching, timing of watering, avoid over watering, and drought resistant plants
· Reduce household water use
· Recycle grey water
· Install low flow shower heads and fixtures – Free fixtures available from Mattole Restoration Council (629-3514)
Prepare for even greater conservation measures for the entire month of September including:
· Stop watering lawns and let them go brown
· Stop watering gardens
· Share a shower
· Reduce or eliminate toilet flushing – use an outhouse – “let it mellow”
Sanctuary Forest invites you to come join us at the Mattole River Celebration on Aug. 25th at Whitethorn Construction (10:00 a.m. into the night) to celebrate our shared watershed, local culture and talent, and to learn more about river and fish conditions and what you can do to help them.
The Times Standard has an article this morning. There is a debate about what to do. Actually, the debate is over whether to do anything at all.
Thousands of young salmon are struggling to survive in the mouth of the Mattole River, but biologists can’t agree whether to attempt a rescue or leave them alone.
Temperatures in the estuary, which is sealed off from the ocean by a sand bar, have been perilous to the little chinook salmon for weeks. The fish may have been prompted to move from rearing areas in the upper river to the river mouth by a mid-July rain. Now they are languishing, easy prey for birds and competing with steelhead trout for food.
The Mattole Salmon Group has lobbied federal agencies and the California Department of Fish and Game to be allowed to net about 5,000 chinook and keep them in a rearing facility upstream until fall rains set in. Biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service have offered to help if the plan is approved. But Fish and Game biologists believe the operation will kill more fish than it will save.
Totally out of my area of expertise to comment. Please feel free to comment if you have any knowledge of the topic. Or even if you don’t.
Photo comes from this government site. Click on the photo to enlarge.