On 6 August 2015, CSPA, CWIN and AquAlliance filed a formal protest, petition for hearing and petition for reconsideration of the State Water Resources Control Boards approval of the Sacramento River Temperature Management Plan. The protest states that the weakening of temperature criteria during critical life stages of Chinook salmon does not serve the public interest, is contrary to law and will have an adverse environmental impact. The protest begins a 90-day window for the SWRCB to reconsider or deny the protest, whereupon CSPA et al. is free to pursue the matter in court.
The protest follows a separate 3 August complaint against SWRCB and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) filed by CSPA over relaxation of Sacramento River temperature requirements. The two actions address different administrative processes requiring different response actions by the SWRCB and USBR.
Last year, failure to maintain protective temperatures in the Sacramento River led to the destruction of 95% of winter-run, 98% of fall-run and virtually all of the spring-run Chinook salmon brood year. This year, because deliveries to Sacramento Valley water contractors had depleted the cold-water pool behind Shasta Dam, the SWRCB actually increased temperature targets to levels that are identified as lethal to incubating eggs and emerging fry.