Last Call for Input on Delaware Flows

This spring new rules for minimum water levels will be put into place by the Delaware River Basin Commission — an agency representing New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware and in charge of flows from New York’s cold water reservoirs. What they decide could have an enormous impact on the health of upper Delaware and Catskill trout streams, where rising temperatures and uneven precipitation has led to constant conflict between those who want minimum water levels (and temperatures) maintained, and those who simply want to ensure that New York city has plenty of tap water. Now a new Flexible Flow Management Program — where the amount of water released into streams is dependent on the amount of water that’s in the reservoirs instead of on stream temperature — seems to have the backing of all conservation and angling groups and even the agreement of the states. But Trout Unlimited and others are pushing for more generous flows still, after years of watching streams run virtually dry because of rules that didn’t always work. Morgan Lyle writes on the topic in today’s Schenectady Daily Gazette: “The DRBC has agreed in principle to minimum releases from Cannonsville Reservoir on the West Branch of 180 cubic feet per second in May and 250 cfs in June, July and August under normal conditions. Trout Unlimited and its allies have asked for 250 cfs in May and 350 the rest of the summer.”
Fortunately the Commission has extended the period for public comment until March 3, signaling that more input from anglers could make a difference in what form the rules finally take. Here’s the contact info: mail comments to Commission Secretary, DRBC, P.O. Box 7360, 25 State Police Drive, West Trenton, N.J. 08628-0360, or FAX them to “Attn: Commission Secretary” at (609) 883-9522, or email them to paula.schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us.
(Thanks to Tom Rosenbauer for making us aware of this story.)

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