Thank you for publishing the excellent article, "Salmon run in big trouble (Jan. 30, Page A-1). The Tuolumne River has historically had the largest run of salmon in the San Joaquin system. Notably, it is also the river from which San Francisco draws its water.
This past year, the Tuolumne saw only about 200 adult salmon return, which is down from about 18,000 fish as recently as 2000.
What wasn't mentioned is that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has a proposal in the works that could make the problem worse. As part of its program to upgrade the Hetch Hetchy water system, the SFPUC has proposed diverting an additional 25 million gallons of water per day from the Tuolumne River -- enough to fill 1,000 swimming pools.
In commenting on the draft Environmental Impact Report, the Department of Fish and Game wrote, "We believe that if implemented as proposed, the WSIP (PUC plan) would only exacerbate the current decline of anadromous fisheries in the Tuolumne River.
"Consequently, we respectfully request that the SFPUC use alternative water sources other than the Tuolumne River system or implement water conservation measures to meet drought year demands and 2030 purchase requests."
San Francisco should be a leader in sustainable water policies. To learn more, please visit www.tuolumne.org.
Central Valley program director, Tuolumne River Trust