Last Friday, the State Water Resources Control Board suspended a previously approved (May 14, 2015) Temperature Management Plan for the Sacramento River due to reported increases in water temperatures by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau). The water temperature regulations are dictated by Endangered Species Act (ESA) provisions.
The suspension, issued in a letter dated May 29 by Board Executive Director Tom Howard to the Bureau, potentially has a devastating effect on farmers in the San Joaquin Valley. The action will likely force San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors to “call” on the San Joaquin River, leaving less water for farmers on the valley’s east side. According to the Board’s letter, the issue will be revisited this week by staff from the water board, the Bureau, the state Department of Water Resources and from the fisheries agencies. Western Growers is engaged with the SWRCB and other agencies to argue for restoration of the plan. Please stay tuned to Spotlight for more updates.