Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Some people are begging for 3600cfs, the corps claims 3800cfs is as low as they can go, and the actual release rates are currently 4,000cfs.  Why all the fuss and what difference does it make.

First, looking at what these do to lake level, every 100cfs is 1ft of lake level over a year’s time.  So 3600cfs instead of 4,000 cfs will give us 4ft more water in our lakes a year from now.  This means if you are providing recreational services at the lake or if you have a house sitting on the side of the lake you definitely want as much water as possible which means your vote would be for 3600cfs.  That is if you had a vote.  But you do not.  The Corps refuses representation from lake interests when they decide release rates. 

Second looking at what nature provides in rain, 3600cfs matches the input from rain over a year’s time in the previous droughts of record.  Hence using 3600 while a drought is in progress prevents sending more water downstream than you are getting from rain.  That means if you are looking at the release rates from the stand point of simply balancing out what nature provides you would vote for 3600cfs.  But here again you do not get a vote because that is not part of the considerations when the Corps decides release rates.

Third, looking at past history 3600cfs was demonstrated to do no harm in the drought of 2008 when the lakes were operated for over 12 consecutive months at 3600cfs.  The Corps even did a survey of all stakeholders in 2009 asking if anyone expected to have a problem if they went still lower in releases to 3100cfs.  We had to do a Freedom of Information Act request to get the results but we found that in the hundreds of responses from businesses and townships downstream of the lakes no one had a problem at 3600 and they even anticipated 3100 would be OK.  The only negative response was from an environmental group that speculated there might be a problem at 3100.  So if all these stakeholders were given a vote on release rates they would be fine at 3600cfs.  But again they don’t get a vote. 

So who makes these decisions and on what basis.  The corps meets with environmentalists to the exclusion of everyone else and they discuss what would be best.  From the environmentalists’ stand point the more water in the river the better.  This is true even if that causes the lakes to be totally destroyed.  This is counter to what Mother Nature does with all natural rivers but never mind that because apparently man is wiser than nature.  Where else do you find an artificial river that never drops below 3800 or 4000cfs in flow? Never mind that this is poor management in that you are spending more water than you have and therefore destroy the lakes.  It’s like our government spending more money than they have. Both the environmentalists and the government argue that they have such good causes.  Good cause or no, when the water or the money is gone you are finished.  Why then does the Corps follow these ridiculous rules?  It is because these are the only people who get to vote on release rates.

I thought you might want to know who keeps destroying our lakes and why.  And by the way, the studies you’ve heard about that are supposed to help get a better drought plan.  Guess who will be deciding what the results of these studies mean.  You guessed it.  It will be the same ones who think they are wiser than us and keep destroying our lakes.  And for anyone who still thinks 4000 cfs is best, what is good about destroying fresh water by pouring it into saltwater.  That is exactly what you are doing anytime you put more water through the dam than is coming into the lake from rain.   

No comments: