Agriculture

River flow proposal will be discussed in Turlock, Sacramento

Turlock Irrigation District board member Michael Frantz will speak to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture on Tuesday in Sacramento.
Turlock Irrigation District board member Michael Frantz will speak to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture on Tuesday in Sacramento. Modesto Bee file

The board of the Turlock Irrigation District will get its turn Tuesday to denounce the river flow increases proposed by the state.

Later in the morning in Sacramento, supporters and opponents of higher flows will speak to the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. TID board member Michael Frantz will take part in this meeting, which can be viewed online.

The lower Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced river flows would roughly double from February through June under the Sept. 15 proposal from the State Water Resources Control Board.

TID is likely to take the same critical stance that the Modesto Irrigation District – its partner on the Tuolumne – took last Tuesday. Leaders warn that the proposal would leave them with no surface water in dry years; increase groundwater pumping; and cut into hydropower.

The proposal calls for 40 percent of pre-dam flows during these five months when storm runoff and snowmelt are typically highest, though they could range from 30 to 50 percent. This is up from 35 percent in an initial proposal in 2012 but well short of the 60 percent that some groups say is needed to aid salmon and other fish.

The state water board has set a Nov. 15 deadline for public comment and could make a decision in early 2017. Critics have asked for more time to respond.

The other state board advises Gov. Jerry Brown and Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross. Along with Frantz, who owns a Hickman nursery, it will hear from leaders from the state water board, the Water and Power Law Group, the Northern California Water Association and the Nature Conservancy.

Want to go?

TID BOARD MEETING

When: 9 a.m. Tuesday

Where: District office, 333 E. Canal Drive, Turlock

Agenda: www.tid.org

STATE BOARD OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

When: 10 a.m. Tuesday; panel discussion is at 11 a.m.

Where: California Department of Food and Agriculture, 1220 N St., Sacramento

Webcast: www.cdfa.ca.gov/LiveMediaStream.html

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