Truckee River agreement model presented |

Truckee River agreement model presented

A draft of the long-awaited Truckee River Operating Agreement presented last week calls for the lake level of Lake Tahoe to be raised by 1 to 2 inches to aid in the recovery efforts of the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and endangered Cui-ui.

Officials with the California Department of Fish and Game would not elaborate as to whether the 1- to 2-inch increase would be from the lower or higher legal limit of the lake.

The estimates for raising the lake level are based on water level estimates for fish reintroduction by the California Department of Fish and Game.

Even with the raised limit of the lake, the draft TROA models predict minimum fishery water requirements could be sustained longer in most areas. Some areas would meet in-stream minimum requirements less often, California Department of Water officials said.

Banky Curtis of the California Department of Fish and Game helped present the TROA model depicting recovery efforts for the threatened Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and endangered Cui-ui in the Truckee River Basin Water Group meeting March 7.

Curtis hoped the presentation would satisfy concerns over the document’s potential effect on water operations in the Truckee River and seven local reservoirs – including Lake Tahoe.

“This is a presentation that says ‘show me,'” Curtis said of TROA model. “I just get nervous and I wanted to see it because of my control level.”

“(This model) shows the best use of water that is there now. If we can buy more water it is an opportunity to improve this even more,” Curtis said, referring to potential water rights acquisitions. “The water is there, and it can be used appropriately,” he added.

If the operating agreement is completed, which state officials say may occur in a only a few months – bringing decade long negotiations to a new frontier – the document will essentially rewrite the operating procedure for federal water regulators.

And while some reservoirs may be adversely effected, TROA will allow agencies like the Department of Fish and Game the flexibility to manipulate reservoir levels to meet local concerns.

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