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State water board drafts policy responding to new legislation for in-stream flows
12/29/2007 The Eureka Reporter

Responding to new legislation, the State Water Resources Control Board staff has drafted guidelines for maintaining adequate flows of water in North Coast streams and rivers.

Acting in response to the mandates of Assembly Bill 2121 (Chapter 943, Statutes of 2004), the five-member water board will consider the proposed guidelines in 2008, according to a State Water Resources Control Board news release.

AB 2121 requires the State Water Resources Control Board to adopt guidelines to determine how much water must remain in North Coast streams to protect salmon and other fish and to follow those guidelines when considering more than 310 pending applications to appropriate water from North Coast streams, the release stated.

If adopted, the policy would apply to water diversions from streams in five counties: Marin, Sonoma and parts of Mendocino, Napa and Humboldt counties.

The water board staff has released the draft policy, which starts a public comment period and scientific peer review. The scientific peer review will extend for 30 days and the public review period will run concurrently for 45 days.

Under California law and policy, the state acts as guardian for in-stream needs for aquatic habitat, recreation and navigation, and must balance the needs of other uses against in-stream requirements and other environmental uses.

The draft policy can be read on the state water board’s Web site at www.waterrights.ca.gov/HTML/instreamflow_nccs.html.

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