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Upper Delaware Flow Problems

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2007/2/25 6:48
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Look at what they are doing to the Delaware River flow rate and temp! Hale Eddy Delaware Flow Gauge

I haven’t been there, but I’ve seen pictures of the river bottom exposed in many areas. This type of management is going to kill the macroinvertebrate and trout life. This is a real problem and will continue because of the Flexible Flow Management Plan that is being adopted.

Here is a copy of a posting from a different forum: (I know many of you don't live close, but please consider responding.)

Dear Friends, clients, business associates and fellow fly fishers,

Today is a sad day here on the Delaware River. As of 7AM this morning the cold water releases that are the life blood of this fine river system have been reduced to a mere trickle. We all know what affect this has on river habitat and its inhabitants. THE WILD RAINBOWS AND BROWNS OF THE DELAWARE RIVER ARE IN SERIOUS DANGER IF THIS RELEASE PLAN (FFMP) IS PERMANENTLY ADOPTED AS IT STANDS!!!

On September 24th in Trenton, NJ the Delaware River Basin Commission or (DRBC) will vote to adopt the WATER CODE that will put into place the current experimental water release plan (FFMP) that is currently in operation and responsible for this travesty. This FLEXIBLE FLOW MANAGEMENT PLAN or (FFMP) has proven to be anything put flexible and threatens the life of the Upper Delaware River System. The current Flexible Flow Management Program (FFMP) introduced in interim October 1st, 2007 has been a complete failurethis year in protecting the trout fishery. Temperatures rose to lethal proportions at Lordville, NY USGS gage as early as June 11, 2008. The readings at Lordville often exceeded (75 degree instantanious - 72 degree continues) the previous trigger located at Hankins 8 miles downriver despite an abnormally cool summer temperature. The situation in September is even worse. Releases on September 5th went from 900 cfs to 115 cfs in a matter of hours. The FFMP schedule calls for a 115 cfs release out of Cannonsville and will further drop releases to 80 cfs in the West Branch of the Delaware. This plan has the full support of NYC and will be made permanent pending approval of changes to the Water Code at the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) meeting September 24th, 2008. The approval to change the Water Code that legalizes FFMP will need a unanimous vote by all decree parties from NY, NJ, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

We all should band together on issues such as this whether the emergency lies in Southern NJ, Florida Keys or Northern Colorado. This is the first outreach of its kind to put together a nation wide response for issues such as this.

FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT WOULD LIKE TO LOOK AT THE GRAPHS TO GET A GOOD VISUAL (SEE ATTACHMENTS)

My deepest thanks to you all for your help!!!!

Jim "Coz" Costolnick
Border Water Outfitters


MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT - After Reading this Email Please!!!! PLEASE!!!! forward it to your client base, friends, relatives, fly fishers around the nation and others like yourself asking them to RESPOND IN OPPOSITION TO THE CURRENT FFMP PLANAND VOTE NO TO THE ADOPTION OF THE WATER CODE!!!!

Please let your voices be heard by September 22nd to all state and local agencies that include NJDEP; NYDEC, NYCDEP: PADEP; PA Fish & Boat Commission and the DRBC and tell them NO to any Water Code changes and NO TO FFMP

PLEASE SEND YOUR COMENTS OF OPPOSITION TO THE FFMP TO ALL THE ADDRESSES BELOW:

Michelle Putnam
Michelle.Putnam@dep.state.nj.us

Joe Miri
Joseph.Miri@dep.state.nj.us

Tom Brand
E-mail Address(es):
Thomas.Brand@dep.state.nj.us

'Carol Collier'
E-mail Address(es):
carol.collier@drbc.state.nj.us

Doug Austen
E-mail Address(es):
dausten@state.pa.us

James Tierney
E-mail Address(es):
jmtierne@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Len Lichvar
E-mail Address(es):
lennyll@yahoo.com

Mark Koltz
E-mail Address(es):
maklotz@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Norm McBride
E-mail Address(es):
Ndmcbrid@gw.dec.state.ny.us

'Pamela Bush'
E-mail Address(es):
Pamela.Bush@drbc.state.nj.us

Leroy Young
E-mail Address(es):
leyoung@state.pa.us

Mark Hartle
E-mail Address(es):
mhartle@state.pa.us

Norm Gavlick
E-mail Address(es):
norm@gavlick.biz

Posted on: 2008/9/7 20:32


Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems

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Posted on: 2008/9/7 20:48


Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems

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From Bozeman
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That is alarming. Scary stuff...

Mods, perhaps this is worthy of a bulletin in the general forum or something. This might be worth moving or double posting to benefit from the added traffic.

Posted on: 2008/9/8 0:03


Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems

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Done!

Posted on: 2008/9/8 10:12
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Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems

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My email thing (Yahoo) won't accept email names separated by semi-colons. It requires commas. If yours is the same, try the comma-separated list below. This worked for me.

Michelle.Putnam@dep.state.nj.us, Joseph.Miri@dep.state.nj.us, Thomas.Brand@dep.state.nj.us, carol.collier@drbc.state.nj.us, dausten@state.pa.us, jmtierne@gw.dec.state.ny.us, lennyll@yahoo.com, maklotz@gw.dec.state.ny.us, Ndmcbrid@gw.dec.state.ny.us, Pamela.Bush@drbc.state.nj.us, leyoung@state.pa.us, mhartle@state.pa.us, norm@gavlick.biz

I sent emails on the Delaware flows issue. Now you Delaware River regulars owe me a favor on my home creek.

Send a letter or email to Senator Corman about the Spring Creek lands issue. See that thread on the Conservation board.

Posted on: 2008/9/8 14:58


Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems

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Quote:

troutbert wrote:

I sent emails on the Delaware flows issue. Now you Delaware River regulars owe me a favor on my home creek.

Send a letter or email to Senator Corman about the Spring Creek lands issue. See that thread on the Conservation board.


troutbert - Thanks for your help. I just sent my email about Spring Creek to Senators Corman and Baker (my Senator).

Posted on: 2008/9/8 19:24


Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems
Moderator
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2006/9/9 9:29
From Monessen, PA
Posts: 22235
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Like they say, one hand washes the other.

Posted on: 2008/9/8 19:32
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Peace, Tony


Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems

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Thanks Shultzy!!

Jack, my clothes are dirty, but my hands are clean...

Posted on: 2008/9/8 19:59


Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
Posts: 8965
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To Give you an idea what the D looks like right now, check out these photos. The first two are taken from the same place - before and after. Note: The first photo had to be taken from a drift boat, the second from the same spot is from dry land! Wow!- don't forget to bring water on our trip! R.I.P. macros....

Attach file:



jpg  D Before.jpg (0.00 KB)


jpg  D after.jpg (0.00 KB)
53_48c7bb7b17b9f.jpg X px

jpg  100_0756.JPG (0.00 KB)


jpg  100_0765.JPG (0.00 KB)


jpg  DSC00238.JPG (0.00 KB)
53_48c7bb9b172f9.jpg X px

Posted on: 2008/9/10 8:20


Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
Posts: 13623
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The pics say it all...have they been sent with any emails?

Posted on: 2008/9/10 8:33


Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems

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2006/9/9 22:44
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I have sent emails with the pics attached. The really sad part of all of this, is, if this plan is truly flexible (Flexible Flow Management Plan) like the agencies say it is, and we have reservoirs at 80% of capacity in mid-Sept, then why is it that we have to put the system in an artificial drought. Flexible my a$$!

Also, I would not look for any replies to your emails from the agencies, but rather some sort of photo-copied bullet list of the plan mailed to you at some point - - that is if you give them your address.

No one is held accountable for this action since they really are following a very flawed plan - - which is a shame!

Posted on: 2008/9/10 8:55


Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems

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Some more pics. Frankly, I do not know how any down basin state could support something like this.



Resized Image

Resized Image

Resized Image

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Resized Image

Posted on: 2008/9/10 12:57


Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems

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Posted on: 2008/9/10 15:31
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Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems
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FYI, here is a copy of TU's reponse to the results of the FFMP on the Delaware River:




"July 7, 2008
Commission Secretary
Delaware River Basin Commission
P.O. Box 7360
West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360


Dear DRBC Commissioners:


While Trout Unlimited already provided comments to the DRBC in March 2008 as part of the public comment period for the interim FFMP, in light of the unfortunate situation that occurred on the river this spring, we want to take the opportunity to reiterate our position—which is that while the fundamental concept of flexible, seasonal reservoir level-based releases that underlies the FFMP is a step forward, the plan continues to shortchange the East and West branches, Mainstem Delaware, and Neversink rivers, their fish populations, and the communities that all depend on a healthy riverine ecosystem.


The amount and timing of the reservoir releases under the interim FFMP continue to be detrimental to the rivers and their aquatic habitat. A clear example of this is the flow management that was dictated by the FFMP this spring. In April 2008, a surge of water flowed from the Cannonsville reservoir into the West Branch of the Delaware River. In late April, the water flow was cut down to just a trickle, five percent of what it was just days before. Even though the reservoirs were almost completely full, the rules dictated this dramatic reduction in the amount of water released into the river. When this type of reduction in flow occurs, the river and its tributaries get smaller and the fish and wildlife habitat is greatly compromised.


Any flow plan for managing the Delaware must ensure that healthy water levels are maintained throughout the year by releasing more water from its reservoirs. And these releases must be substantial enough to improve habitat conditions and provide protection against lethal water temperatures for the valuable and unique trout fishery at all times. Such robust releases will also sustain the recreational tourist community and better serve those who rely on its water supply down river. Finally, greater water releases can further prevent reservoirs from spilling and help address the concerns of those worried about potential flooding.


As already stated in our comments from March, it is well documented that there is more than enough water in the Upper Delaware River for all the Decree Parties and for healthy aquatic habitat for the trout species in the Neversink, East and West branches, and Main Stem of the river. In the near term, we ask the DRBC to recognize this and make immediate changes to the flow releases for the summer months, while it works to put together a long term plan that will satisfy all the parties that have a stake in the management of the Upper Delaware watershed. Thank you for your consideration.


Sincerely,
Elizabeth Maclin, Vice President for Eastern Conservation
Rick Axt, NJ Trout Unlimited Council Chair Ron Urban, NY Trout Unlimited Council Chair Ken Undercoffer, PA Trout Unlimited Council Chair




Trout Unlimited Statement on the Delaware River Flows


"A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure. It offers a necessity of life that must be rationed among those who have power over it."
-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1931 Delaware River Diversion Case


Trout Unlimited (TU) is dedicated to the ecological preservation of the Upper Delaware River environment and its trout fisheries. Because of this, our organization and its New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania Councils cannot support the reservoir release schedules that are contained within the interim Flexible Flow Management Program (FFMP) due to the significant damage these releases will bring to the Delaware River’s ecosystem. In particular, under the interim releases the trout fisheries of the Upper Delaware River’s main stem will be lost due to lethal rises in water temperatures and loss of habitat. Additionally, the interim release schedule harms American shad populations and habitat, dwarf wedge mussels and other fish and wildlife as well as the recreational tourist economy of the Upper Delaware region. TU does, however, support in principle the FFMP adaptive release concept to address the flow management issues in the Delaware River basin.
It is well documented that there is more than enough water in the Upper Delaware River for all the Decree Parties and for healthy aquatic habitat for trout, shad, and the many other species that live in and along the Neversink, East and West branches, and Main Stem of the river. The current constraint under which the FFMP is modeled, however, is invalid, biased, and inflexible:



• New York City’s annual diversions from Neversink, Pepacton, and Cannonsville reservoirs over the past ten years have averaged 508 mgd. Yet the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has consistently required that all OASIS modeling of future scenarios consider an annual New York City diversion of 765 mgd. This means that over 290 mgd is available for ecosystem benefits downstream of the reservoirs, not the 35 mgd that the DRBC is currently modeling.


• By imposing a release schedule calculated for extreme water supply diversions (765 mgd) when the actual annual average diversions are much lower (508 mgd), the DRBC’s interim FFMP will result in far more reservoir spills and significantly higher reservoirs each year than the OASIS model currently predicts. This is wasteful and irresponsible management of the Delaware River’s water.


• New York City’s annual average diversions have been decreasing over the past 15 years, and they are not projected to increase for the foreseeable future.



Given New York City’s average diversions and the resulting additional water in the Upper Delaware River, the following changes will correct the deficiencies of the FFMP with no risk to any of the Decree Parties’ water rights and availability.



(1) The releases in the interim FFMP must be increased. Higher reservoir releases from Cannonsville are needed from May to September to protect trout habitat in the lower West Branch and Main Stem Delaware River. Similarly, higher release rates are required for the Neversink and East Branch tributaries to protect against low flows and high water


temperatures. In light of the large quantity of available water that will not be diverted to New York City and will eventually find its way downstream as spillage over the dams, TU cannot accept any FFMP without an increase in releases from all three reservoirs. The OASIS model can substantiate this, and the DSS model verifies the considerable habitat gains for the rivers.


(2) More release levels and seasons are necessary in the interim FFMP. The interim FFMP structure is very inflexible; during most summers, releases will remain in L2 more than 75 percent of the time. At a minimum, additional graduated levels need to be added to both the L1 and L2 Storage Zone. The FFMP will also benefit from additional seasons, particularly because of traditional water temperature and flow problems in mid- to late-May, early-June, and the summer period through mid-September whenever Montague flow target releases are not made.


(3) Weekly averaging of the Montague flow target is needed. The wildly fluctuating releases that result from the efforts to meet Montague flow target shortages must be eliminated. These extreme daily variances create dangerous water temperature fluctuations to the biota and disrupt various forms of recreation on the rivers. Proactive directed releases must be based on a weekly average target rather than daily variances. Anticipated hydropower generation releases from the Lackawaxen and Mongaup rivers make this entirely feasible and such a weekly averaging should be instituted immediately. Using anticipated water diversions, anticipated Montague target releases, and projected hydropower releases, the Rivermaster can institute a weekly Montague release that accounts for these factors and eliminates these harmful and unnecessary daily fluctuations.


(4) Directed releases for the Montague flow target must be balanced from the reservoirs. Some portion of the Montague releases should be apportioned as necessary to the East Branch and Neversink rivers when the Rivermaster requires water releases for the Montague flow target. Such an allocation in releases will provide more aquatic habitat to the three tailwaters and help avoid draining Cannonsville during dry years.


(5) A formal annual review of the FFMP is mandatory. A process must be established to provide for an annual review of the FFMP to assess its performance. Consistent review, analysis, and response are needed to address any of its shortcomings and incorporate new research. Because these aquatic environments are extremely sensitive, we stress the need for the DRBC to maintain the ability to act quickly at times to avoid long-term environmental damage from loss of aquatic habitat. Any formal process to review and respond to new information or environmental conditions must include the stakeholders and not be unnecessarily hindered by the bureaucratic process.



TU recognizes the extraordinary efforts that are necessary for the equitable apportionment and management of the Upper Delaware watershed for both the DRBC and the Decree Parties. We recognize that management needs for these rivers will remain dynamic and require constant assessment. By implementing the above courses of action to correct the deficiencies of the interim FFMP, the DRBC and the Decree Parties can use their power to significantly improve the health of the Delaware River and its treasured trout fisheries—and with no risk to New York City or any other Decree Party’s water supplies or rights."

Posted on: 2008/9/11 7:07


Re: Upper Delaware Flow Problems

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I received this email back:

FFMP Delayed

Cathy Meyers has notified us that she voted to delay the FFMP vote until at least December. Great job! There is no doubt that the number of letters recieved, (over 74 to date), has had an impact.

As you know the PA Fish & Boat Commission does not have any decision making authority regarding the DRBC. Dr. Austen had sent a strong, clear letter to Cathy Meyers asking for a delay on the FFMP vote.

This gives us time, but we still must get revised release schedules based on real numbers.

Thank You,

Norman R. Gavlick, M.B.A., CPRW
Commissioner
PA Fish & Boat Commission
Phone 570-283-9675
Fax 570-283-3077
norm@gavlick.biz

Posted on: 2008/9/22 10:34
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