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Piru Creek Pyramid and Frenchman’s Flat Flow Restoration Update

Posted: 01/14/2021
By: Theresa Simsiman

American Whitewater is coordinating with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service to bring flows back to Piru Creek below Pyramid Lake. A little over a year ago American Whitewater coordinated a Whitewater Boating Controlled-Flow Boating Study on this highly valued resource. The study was performed to inform the hydropower relicensing process for the South State Water Project operated by the California Department of Water Resources and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The results of this study were released in May 2020. Those of us well versed in the pages of Cadillac Desert, or for that matter just live in this region, should appreciate the irony of LADWP taking the time and resources to do a boating flow study and consider the results. 
 
The study overall, demonstrated a viable solution for providing recreational flows on two Piru reaches – Pyramid and Frenchman’s Flat. This involves shaping the annual deliveries of block water required for the United Water Conservation District. This water block can be shaped to provide up to 6 days of recreational flows at 300 cfs between the months of November and February. American Whitewater is now working to develop a whitewater flow measure that will be protective of the Arroyo Toad, an endangered species, and one that would mimic a natural storm event to galvanize support from the managing agencies and maximize conservation and recreation values. American Whitewater will also recommend relocation of gates that block access to the Pyramid reach and flushing flow events to maintain the river channel. We will present our recommendations to the USFS and file it with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by February 2021. It is our hope that paddlers will one day enjoy whitewater opportunities just an hour outside of downtown Los Angeles!

Theresa Simsiman

Sacramento, CA

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