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2010 Pit Releases Canceled? (CA)

Posted: 05/16/2010
By: Dave Steindorf

The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has issued a 21 day notice that they will respond to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recommending that the releases on the Pit River, above the Pit 1 Powerhouse, should be canceled this summer. Last year the USFWS sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the California State Water Resources Control Board recommending that the releases be canceled. In their letter the USFWS cite concerns of potential impacts to Shasta Crayfish because of increasing water temperatures as a result of the releases. In a response letter sent last June to the FERC and the SWRCB, American Whitewater stated a number of concerns about the science that was being used to recommend elimination of release flows. American Whitewater is also concerned that the elimination of these recreational flows will fundamentally change the balancing of resources that was achieved during the six year relicensing process that we participated in for this project.


While it is likely that the releases will be suspended this summer, the State water Resources Control Board will be asking for additional science to support the justification for eliminating the releases. American Whitewater, and our members need to support not only the credible science assessing the impacts to Shasta crayfish but also that all of the potential impacts from the project, including peaking flows below the powerhouse. We also need to be sure that this process will include input from the boating community. Thus far all of the meetings pertaining to the suspension of release flows have occurred only with the State and Federal agencies, and PG&E.



Write to FERC and the State Water Resources Control Board to let them know that these releases are an important recreational resource.


  1. Tell them why you think the Pit River is an important recreational resource and what makes this a unique opportunity for the boating community.
  2. State that you support the State Water Resources Control Board in doing the additional science necessary to justify elimination of the releases.
  3. Insist that all of the potential impacts to Shasta crayfish are evaluated in the SWRCB review.
  4. Let them know that American Whitewater and members of the voting public must be a part of this review process.


Please send letters ASAP and preferably before May 31st, the date that the State Water Resources Control Board will make a ruling on the suspension, You have three options for filing comments with FERC and the SWRCB:


  1. You can register directly on the FERC website <> and electronically file a formal comment under project docket which is P-2687. This option allows you to subscribe to the docket and follow the process. (please contact me if you would like additional assistance).
  2. You can file an eComment with FERC <> which is an option for short comments (less than 6000 characters). File under docket P-2687. This option is simpler than filing a formal comment.
  3. You can file by mail using the address below.
  4. You can email your comments to AW and our Stewardship Assistant Carla Miner can file on your behalf. <> and a cc to me <>.


Please also send your letter to the State Water Resources Control Board. In the subject line reference "Whitewater Flows at FERC P-2687".


Send letters to:


Ms. Kimberly D. Bose
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE 
Washington, DC 20426


Ms. Victoria A. Whitney, Deputy Director
Division of Water Rights
California State Water Resources Control
1001 I Street, 14th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814


  • The US Fish & Wildlife Service seeks to end flushing/recreation releases because of decline in Shasta Crayfish.

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