|FACT SHEET AS WITH ANY "FACT" PAPER, THE FOLLOWING ARE VERIFIABLE
Asserted: That on completion of these proposed basin wide studies - some three plus years from now – the New York City DEP will agree to implement the results of these studies. That, in effect, they will adopt the overall basin plan and that this will protect the fishery. Fact: Participation in, let alone the acceptance of, these studies is completely non binding for any of the involved parties. Moreover, while no one can foretell what actions the DEP may take three to five years into the future, we do have over forty years of demonstrated history that strongly suggests the DEP will, as they have in virtually every instance since the reservoir was built, block any effort to protect or enhance the fishery.
Asserted: That the proposed basin wide plan will include a comprehensive fisheries plan for the upper Delaware River. Fact: To date, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that a fisheries plan is intended in either the near or long term. The "fisheries plan" as it is presented in the DRBC's Resolution does nothing more than outline the DEP/DEC's proposed flow regime; the 225, etc. There are no references to scientific studies of the trout, aquatic insects, riparian structure, flow/temperature correlation's, or any other key fundamental of even a rudimentary fisheries plan. Moreover, the approach to developing the future fisheries plan, to date, calls only for establishing flow monitoring stations on the East and West Branches, and on the Neversink, but none on the critical upper main stem. It should be noted, there is currently, in the discussion stages, a collaborative effort with the UGS to correlate flow/temperature data for the fishery. However, this will also not constitute a fisheries study that includes all of the fundamental elements. Further, if this is in fact adopted, it must then be funded. It will then take a minimum of two years to complete. Result: Once again, years down the road, with the 225 as the interim flow, we'll have a still incomplete fisheries plan.
Asserted: That the 225 cfs flows are only an interim agreement pending the completion of more comprehensive studies three plus years from now. Fact: One summer, let alone three plus years, of 225 flows, and the lethal temperatures that flow rate represents – most especially in the summer – will prove fatal to the fishery. Moreover, to date, no one advocating the 225 flow has explained exactly how or why the 225 rate was determined - where did that number come from? As documented by DRBC records, the average monthly release from June 15th to September 15th, has exceeded 640 cfs, of cold water from the Cannonsville Dam for well over a quarter of a century. Accordingly, there are two questions that must be asked: Why not use the 600 cfs, FUDR is advocating as the baseline for these studies? It was these levels of release that created the healthy and vibrant fishery that currently extends some fifty miles downstream to Callicoon. Second, would it be better for the wild trout fishery to have a guaranteed 600cfs release now, or an "experimental" 225 cfs release for three or more years with no guarantee of any change after that?
Asserted: That the proposed 225cfs flow rate is predicated on the 1983, so called, "Sheppard Study." Fact: We've had the study reviewed by a leading scientist and by fisheries experts: The study, done in compliance with the Stipulation of Discontinuance, does not recommend 225cfs. It does point out that 225 cfs flows would be adequate for "habitat" purposes; that is, there would be enough water for 'some' fish to move around and do some feeding; but the study clearly points out that such a low flow and the resulting high temperatures (thermal) would be devastating for the fishery. Further, the study also clearly states that "for the protection of the designated trout management section on the main Delaware River, the West Branch summer conservation releases will have to greater that 325 cfs." And finally, the study clearly points out that there is more than sufficient water to meet both the habitat and thermal needs of the fishery at even higher release rates.
Asserted: That there isn't enough water to provide the 600cfs release the Friends of the Upper Delaware River is demanding from May 15th, to September 15th. Fact: There is indeed more than enough water. Based on the very figures developed by the DEC/DEP and presented in the DRBC Resolution, if the Cannonsville Reservoir is full on May 15th, which certainly will be the case this year (as it is most years) a continuous release of 600 cfs will draw less than half the water from the reservoir. In fact, even this amount of 'draw down' would be further reduced, when naturally occurring inflows (water from rain, run off, tributaries, etc.) is added back into the reservoir. It must also be noted, that when all three reservoirs (Cannonsville, Pepacton and Neversink) are considered, the 600 cfs draw down is 17% of the total; again, that would be less the additional inflows. Further, records compiled and maintained by the DRBC clearly point to the fact that the average Cannonsville releases from June 15th, to September 15th, have been over 640 cfs, - more than the rate FUDR is seeking. In fact, those same records show that the average natural flows, before the Dam was even built, was nearly twice the proposed 225cfs. Moreover; it must be noted that with the new down river releases from Lake Wallenpaupack, New York will need to release even less water, allowing for greater storage in Canonsville - more water for both the fishery and for drought insurance.
Asserted: That the New York City DEP must reduce releases, save water, in the event of drought. Fact: In the past twenty years there have been exactly two droughts that went through the critical summer months - an average of once a decade. If drought (real drought, not some reservoir level caused by poor management) happens, the trout fishery may sustain periodic declines, as occurs in all fisheries, but a mandated 225cfs flow will permanently obliterate the existing wild trout fishery in the main stem of the upper Delaware. It must also be noted that during the past twenty years, there have also been three drought "warnings" that occurred in the month of September, when both air and water temperatures are naturally cooler and less of a threat to fish, And there have been five drought "warnings" that have occurred in late fall, posing, for the same temperature reasons, even less of a threat to the fishery.
Asserted: The 225cfs minimum flow has been in use for the past two years. Fact: A bit misleading, what is not further explained are the facts that (1) this flow rate, particularly during the summer months, has not been a significant issue; the result of New York City's legal requirement to release substantially more cold water from the Cannonsville Dam to meet the Supreme Court's Mandate of 1750 cfs at Montague. And (2) that with the relicensing of PPL's power generating plant on Lake Wallenpaupack, substantial amounts of 'new' water, especially in August, will be released into the Delaware, down river. These new down river inflows relieve the New York DEP's legal obligation of releasing the historic 640 plus cfs average cold water releases.
Asserted: That between 1997 and 2002 the cfs was 160 and if the 225 isn't agreed to, we may only get the 160. Fact: More than a bit misleading; not pointing out that the 160 cfs were in fact cold water releases and not flows. And that when natural, generally warm incoming flows are added to the 160 cfs, it will meet or, or more likely, exceed the currently proposed 225. On this point too, it must be noted that these kinds of representations are blatant attempts to intimidate and, further, are a complete misrepresentation of the fact.
Asserted: That 'before 1997 the cfs was 325.' Fact: Again misleading. The implication is that the 325cfs were flows. In point of fact they were, once again, cold water releases from the Cannonsville reservoir.
Asserted: That the 225 at Hale Eddy is not a target, it's a backstop minimum. Fact: In all of the discussions, in the DRBC's Resolution, in fact, in all of the related printed material they are indeed referred to as flow "targets." Moreover, and this is a direct quote regarding the 225 cfs from a letter written by a member of the SEF to one of our members "We (the DEC and SEF) are trying to design a monitoring plan that will detect a positive response by the trout." It would certainly, at the least, appear that the intent is to prove what they want in the first place; the 225. It must also be noted that the use words like "positive response", 'adequate", "sufficient" and other similar adjectives, currently being used by advocates of the 225, imply only bare survival – they do not imply a healthy and vibrant wild trout fishery.
Asserted: That the proposed increase to 20,000 cfs/days Habitat (Thermal) Bank is an adequate 'safety valve' for the 225 flows. Fact: Again, misleading; allowing people to assume that this is only for the West Branch and not pointing out that this Habitat Bank is for all three of the relevant reservoirs (Cannonsville, Pepacton, Neversink). Further, if the 225 is 'adequate' why the Habitat Bank? While not suggesting this scenario, to put the 20,000 cfs/days into more understandable terms, the following may be helpful: If the entire Habitat Bank was indeed used for only the West Branch, it would equal an additional 166cfs cfs per day for the summer months. Without intending a pun - a drop in the bucket. I would also point out that a discussion here regarding the history of the Thermal Bank releases is difficult. When a member of our organization asked to see the release records – the public records – he was told by the DEC that they were not available; that the records could not be found.
Asserted: That last winter, the first year of the experimental 225, there were some "glitches" or equipment problems with the monitoring station at Hale Eddy. Fact: Again, not quite accurate. In point of fact, despite the written agreement to maintain the experimental 225 minimum flows at Hale Eddy, New York further restricted the releases – dropping the water levels so low the gauges froze. After repeated written and verbal requests, from a number of concerned sources, the DEP finally released 115cfs for three days. Long enough to thaw the gauges; the DEP then again restricted the releases. It must be noted that under this new plan, New York's DEP is not required to release any water other than the amounts necessary to meet the Montague Mandate (less the water contributed from PPL releases).
Asserted: Higher winter flows are critical to good populations of fish. Fact: We've consulted both a leading fisheries scientist, and a published and accepted scientific study and both dispute this contention. Both do indeed note that winter flows can be critical under unusually severe conditions, but that absent those conditions, it is the summer flows/releases that are the most critical to fish. And certainly, to insect populations. Moreover, more current scientific research has demonstrated that trout begin showing signs of stress at 68 degrees F.
Asserted: That TU National would like to see, and fully support, the 225 interim flow as the long term solution. Fact: It is the short term 225 cfs "experiment" – a minimum of three plus years – that will destroy the fishery, much of the critical insect populations and render a prolonged, negative economic impact to region before the long term 'plan' is even completed. Further, to date, TU National has not, according to Leon Szeptycki, Legal Counsel for TU National, endorsed the 225 interim flow proposal. TU is currntly waiting for the results of OASIS computer model runs to see "what the effects are over a wide range of hydrological conditions." We do hope that National will ultimately recognize there are weaknesses in these models - much of which relates to the primary data - and support our efforts to save this great fishery.
Asserted: That the Friends of the Upper Delaware River are basing their demand for 600 cfs releases on a 'study' done by Dr. Piotr Parasiewicz. Fact: Absolutely untrue. Although there are some parallels, FUDR developed it's figures based on independent research and regards the 'study' as more opinion than science. I would point out however, that when this study was presented by concerned individuals at a meeting, both yourself and a number of others strongly reacted to those presenting it. On this point, I would draw your attention to the fact that they had downloaded, as we had for review purposes, the study from TU National's (the studies sponsor) web site and that the study was presented as is; that is, there were no explanations as to it being a 'study piece', 'discussion piece', etc., etc. It was presented as fact.
Asserted: That the Friends if the Upper Delaware River is categorically opposed to the basin wide studies and the resulting basin wide plan. Fact: Categorically untrue. While remaining steadfast to securing the objectives outlined in our flow proposals for the fishery, FUDR has consistently supported the concept of these studies. Moreover: In both conversations and in meetings with the DRBC, SEF, the Nature Conservancy, and others, FUDR has offered to help. That is, to partner in areas, not specific to the fishery, but that would enhance other elements of these basin wide studies.
Asserted: That PPL can only increase releases from Lake Wallenpaupack during the month of August. Fact: There are no statutory or regulatory restrictions on how much or when, PPL can release water.
Asserted: That the only members of the Friends of the Upper Delaware River are those with either a business or a vested interest in the River. Fact: A little misleading. Four of the sixteen members of our organization do indeed have a fly fishing businesses on the River - a fact that underscores, not negates, their genuine concern for the well being of the River. As to the remaing twelve, the only vested interest is the survival of the largest wild trout fishery in the East.
Asserted: That there are two groups that represent the fly anglers. Fact: Unfortunately true. There are those who support the 225 and there are those who do not.
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