West River release dates for spring 2008

West River release dates for spring 2008

I was out of the office today, but checked my emails to find a letter from the Corps saying that the spring release on the West River would be April 26 and 27 rather than April 12 and 13 as they had previously indicated. They also seem to indicate that the May release, which they had led us to believe was a possibility at our meeting in the fall, is not going to happen. The history of this change is that we heard through the AMC’s Corps release coordinator (a volunteer) that the Corps was making noise about moving the spring release date earlier in April due to some new data on salmon spawning showing that the late release date was causing the salmon to delay too long at the reservoir and possibly reducing their success in reaching the ocean in time.

There was a meeting in the late fall at which the Corps was pretty strong about saying the release date was going to change no matter what and we’d better just get on board. At the time, we proposed an additional spring release on May 10, because their data seemed to indicate this would not be harmful to the fish. They said they would take it into consideration and get back to us soon. They delayed and delayed and we emailed and emailed until we finally had to publish something in our brochure and on our website, so we published the dates we requested based on indications from the Corps about when a release would be acceptable.

Now they are saying that the release will be right back on the same weekend as in previous years for 2008. In their letter laying out the schedule for this year, they also indicate that for 2009 the West release will be before the 15th of April or after the 1st of May (if they can pond enough water for it after the reservoir level restriction is lifted on May 1).

The Corps has acted this way for years - blowing off the boaters and using the inertia of their bureaucracy to stonewall any efforts we have made at changing their policies.

Bruce Lessels

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