Bay Delta Plan calls for 40% of unimpaired flow on the Tuolumne
After decades of degradation due to inadequate freshwater inflows, the State Water Resources Control Board may provide some relief to the San Francisco Bay-Delta. The Board voted 4-1 on December 12th to adopt the staff recommendation of 30-50% of unimpaired flow on the lower San Joaquin River and its three main tributaries between February and June, starting at 40%. As the largest tributary to the San Joaquin River, the Tuolumne River will benefit greatly from this decision. Thanks to all who have supported our efforts to get to this point!
While this is a tremendous victory, we must bear in mind that this is only Phase 1. Our campaign for a strong Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan is far from over. Even though the best available science indicates that 60% unimpaired flow is necessary to fully protect fish and wildlife, we expect there to be lawsuits from agencies who disagree with even this conservative increase. Meanwhile, the Water Board will continue to focus on Phase 2 of the Plan, which addresses the Sacramento River Basin and Delta outflow (i.e. how much water will flow through the Delta to the Bay, vs. getting diverted at the Delta pumps).