Lake Mendocino Water–Round Valley Indian Tribe

Hey David,

In response to your email I was forwarded this attachment by someone in the water world up there as it pertains to some of the opinions of the Round Valley Indian Tribe. Thought you might find it of interest or maybe it is already on your radar?

“…Brock, I’ve attached the tribe’s outline. Basically, they want to protect the fishery on the Eel by capping the amount of water that can be diverted to the Russian at the amount that can be delivered through the existing tunnel – no more. They are throwing us this bone to get our support when they go the Humboldt County, the State, and the Feds…”

To: Tam Doduc
Chair, State Water Resources Control Board
Sacramento, CA

RE: reported demands for more water from Lake Mendocino by Russian River Flood Control District

Dear Chairwoman Doduc:

Before any more water is taken from Lake Mendocino for the Russian River Flood Control District, or anyone else:

– Where are the water balance calculations for Lake Mendocino and the East Branch, Russian River?
– How much more is there to give out?
– How much of that is coming from the reservoir’s own watershed?
– How much of that is coming from diversions of the Eel River?
– Where is the long term (50+ years) plan to address local and regional water supplies, D.1610 releases and Eel River jeopardy decisions?
– How will seasonal so-called ’emergency’ needs, like frost or heat protection for the increasing number of vineyards, be addressed?
– Who will address the proliferation of new water demands on the Russian River and its tributaries, including the rapid increase in vineyards?

No actions should be taken until these and other questions and concerns are heard and addressed. We look forward to a full public process and notification regarding these important issues.

David Keller
Bay Area Director, Friends of the Eel River
Local water boost from Lake Mendocino under consideration at state level (UkiahJournal) Local water boost from Lake Mendocino under consideration at state level

By BEN BROWN The Daily Journal
Article Last Updated: 07/20/2008 12:00:16 AM PDT

The Russian River Flood Control District may be allowed to pump an additional 6,000 acre feet of water out of Lake Mendocino every year if their recently accepted application is approved by the State Water Resources Control Board.

The state has accepted the district’s application for more water and a public comment period will open soon.

The application would amend the district’s 1949 water right, which currently gives it the right to 8,000 acre-feet of water from the lake. If approved, the amended application would increase that right 14,000 acre-feet.

District Executive Director Barbara Spazek said RRFCD plans to make the water available to the Redwood Valley Water District.

“It’s always been the district’s intention, if we got the water, to make it available to Redwood Valley,” Spazek said.

Last fall, the level of Lake Mendocino dropped so low that RVWD had to cut their withdrawals from the lake in half and declare a water emergency.

The plan will be released for public comment soon. Spazek said the district had not received notification of when the plan will be available.

If there are no objections the application goes back to the state for a approval, but Spazek said she expects objections.

“I’m sure the Sonoma County will have something to say about it,” she said.

Representatives of local fisheries and downstream water users may also have objections, Spazek said. She said downstream water users have the least to fear because the water would be pumped out of Lake Mendocino and not diverted out of the Russian River.

Any objections will have to be addressed and plans for their mitigation will have to be in place before the plan goes back to the state board.

“If the state does not agree with the water availability, it throws it out,” Spazek said.

The state board will have to look at the plan under the California Environmental Quality Act and could go so far as to require and Environmental Impact Report.

The public comment period is expected to last for 45 days, and review by the state board can take up to 90 additional days to complete.

Spazek also said she will be leaving the position of executive director of the RRFCD at the end of the month, to be replaced by Fisheries Biologist Sean White.

Ben Brown can be reached at
[NOTE: Sean White was formerly the Fisheries Biologist for SCWA]