Wild Mattole River Salmon Dying as the Headwaters Dry Up
"To report trapped fish, phone Michelle Gilroy of the Department of Fish and Game at 707-441-5791."
Flows remain lowest on record for Mattole
Published: Sep 29 2008, 10:32 PM · Updated: Sep 29 2008, 10:34 PM
This summer continues to mark the single lowest flow year on record for the Mattole River, according to a news release from Sanctuary Forest.
The organization based this on data from U.S. Geological Survey flow gauges in Petrolia and Ettersburg, as well as Sanctuary Forest’s flow monitoring in the Whitethorn area.
“The Mattole River watershed remains in uncharted territory with this record-setting dry season,” the release stated.
Two weeks ago, the Mattole stopped flowing entirely at its headwaters, as measured upstream of Bridge Creek, according to the release.
As of Wednesday, the situation had not changed, with zero measurable stream flow found at most monitoring spots in the headwaters.
Flows at Petrolia and Ettersburg, after rising following the Sept. 19 rainfall, have now fallen back below the lowest measurements ever recorded in any previous year, the release stated.
With the headwaters broken up into isolated pools, juvenile salmon are being left exposed and stranded and creeks are drying up, according to the release.
“This drying up pattern is not only more severe than we have ever seen, but is also occurring two to three weeks earlier than in the recent lowest flow years — challenging residents to endure a longer dry season than many were prepared for,” the release stated.
“The Mattole water crisis is causing hardship for more members of our community every day, as most residents depend directly on the river, creeks and springs for all their water. Yet it is our native salmon that will likely bear the brunt, unless we do everything possible now to stop or reduce water use,” the release stated.
Sanctuary Forest asks that residents flush less, bathe less, fix leaks, and let lawns and gardens go brown until the rains come.
“Pumping when flows have essentially stopped can quickly drain those pools where fish are surviving, so if you must pump, do so for shorter times at slower rates; slow your pump down by restricting the discharge with a valve,” the release stated.
To report trapped fish, phone Michelle Gilroy of the Department of Fish and Game at 707-441-5791.
For more information, visit www.sanctuaryforest.org.