Author Archives: Chris Shutes

CSPA Comments on San Joaquin River Flow and Salinity

CSPA filed extensive comments March 17, 2017 on the State Water Board’s plan for improving flows in the lower San Joaquin River and for allowing more salinity in the southern Delta during the growing season. CSPA supports the Board’s approach … Continue reading

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180,000 People out of their Homes: Oroville Spillway Was Someone Else’s Problem

In 2005, Ron Stork of Friends of the River warned in a Motion to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that the “ungated, unarmored spillway” at Oroville Dam needed to be made into a real spillway with real concrete.  The … Continue reading

Posted in Chris Shutes, Hydroelectric (FERC) | 1 Comment

PG&E Withdraws License Application on Butte Creek: Future of Spring-Run Salmon Uncertain

By Chris Shutes (CSPA) and Dave Steindorf (American Whitewater) In a surprise move, PG&E announced on February 2, 2017 that it was withdrawing its application to relicense the DeSabla – Centerville Hydroelectric Project on Butte Creek and the West Branch … Continue reading

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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Rebuffs Idaho Power’s Attack on Clean Water Act

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has dismissed a petition by Idaho Power Company that sought to limit the right of states to enforce water quality requirements when FERC relicenses hydropower projects.  In a January 2 post, we described the … Continue reading

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CSPA Defends the Clean Water Act Once Again

One of CSPA’s many strategies in the past several years has been to defend the federal Clean Water Act from attack.  Much of this defense has been in the context the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) relicensing of hydropower projects.  … Continue reading

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CSPA Testifies on San Joaquin River Flow and South Delta Salinity

On December 16, 2016, CSPA’s Bill Jennings and Chris Shutes made presentations to the State Water Board regarding the need to increase flow from the San Joaquin River into the Delta.  The hearings held in Stockton are part of Phase … Continue reading

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CSPA Testifies in Hearing on Proposed Delta Tunnels

On December 1, 2016, CSPA provided testimony before the State Water Resources Control Board in the hearing on the proposed Delta tunnels, known inaccurately as the “California WaterFix.”  CSPA joined in presenting testimony with witnesses from the California Water Impact … Continue reading

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Sites Reservoir: Many Promises, Many Problems

On November 17, 2016, CSPA’s Water Rights Advocate Chris Shutes joined a panel discussion on the proposed Sites Reservoir.  The panel was held at a conference in Chico produced by the north state non-profit AquAlliance, and also featured Jim Watson … Continue reading

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CSPA and Allies Protest Water Rights Application for Big New Dam

CSPA and allied groups in the Foothills Water Network (FWN) filed an extensive protest of Nevada Irrigation District’s (NID) application to construct a large new dam on the Bear River near Colfax.  FWN protested the application for “Centennial Reservoir” on … Continue reading

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CSPA and Friends of the River Defend Clean Water Act and CEQA

CSPA and Friends of the River (FOR) have filed an amicus brief arguing that the procedures of state law are not preempted by federal law in California’s application of the federal Clean Water Act.  The brief argues in favor of … Continue reading

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In Memoriam: “Striper Mike” McKenzie

Mike McKenzie, plier of Delta waters for striped bass over many decades, moved on to purer waters on September 25.  Striper Mike was well known as a superb striper fisherman, but fished for all kinds of fish all over California … Continue reading

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Major CSPA Victory as State Water Board Acts to Protect Spring-Run Salmon in Butte Creek

On Tuesday, August 2, 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board took an important action to protect the spring-run Chinook salmon in Butte Creek.  Butte Creek contains the only run of spring-run Chinook in the Central Valley that is considered … Continue reading

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CSPA Files Objections to “WaterFix” Testimony and Exhibits Hearings on Delta Tunnels Begin July 26

CSPA filed objections on July 12 to testimony and exhibits that the Bureau of Reclamation and the Department of Water Resources (collectively, “proponents”) submitted in support of their “WaterFix” effort to construct tunnels under the Delta in order to move … Continue reading

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It is not too late for Delta smelt

Before the 2012-2015 drought, Delta smelt had a recovery period in 2010 and 2011. Now, in 2016, there remains an opportunity for some form of recovery, albeit small. What is needed is exactly what the US Fish and Wildlife Service … Continue reading

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CSPA Objects to Reduced San Joaquin River Flows

CSPA and allied groups California Water Impact Network and AquAlliance have filed an Objection to an April 19, 2016 Order that allows reductions of April-June flows in the lower San Joaquin River from the flows required in Water Rights Decision … Continue reading

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Coalition Sets High Bar for Analysis of Proposed Dam

CSPA and allies in the Foothills Water Network submitted 25 pages of comments today on the analysis Nevada Irrigation District (NID) must perform to inform decision making about a proposed new dam on the Bear River. NID’s proposes to build … Continue reading

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CSPA Says “NO” to Privatizing the Public Trust

Oral Comments of Chris Shutes, CSPA Water Rights Advocate, to the State Water Resources Control Board, April 5, 2016. Item 9: 2016 Operation of New Melones Reservoir on the Stanislaus River [based on notes as read; exact delivery was slightly … Continue reading

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What Caused the Impending Extinction of Delta Smelt?

CSPA’s fisheries biologist Tom Cannon gave a presentation entitled “Contributing Cause of Smelt Decline: Water Exports” at a symposium on March 29, 2016 at UC Davis. The theme of the conference, sponsored by the Delta Stewardship Council, was: “Delta and … Continue reading

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CSPA and Allies Defend Butte Creek Protections

Virtually everyone agrees that PG&E’s DeSabla – Centerville Hydroelectric Project on Butte Creek and the West Branch Feather River provides important benefits to salmon. Fortunately, the ten-year-long relicensing of this project is close to completion. In the most recent process … Continue reading

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We Need to Get Salmon Upstream of Central Valley Rim Dams

Since 2006, one of CSPA’s primary areas of effort has been to reintroduce salmon to historic habitat upstream of major Central Valley dams. Today, Central Valley salmon are confined to the valley floor: 5-10% of their historic habitat. In the … Continue reading

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