Statewide environmental flows framework released in draft form, to be finalized by end of year

Posted October 30, 2020
The arroyo chub, left and the endangered Santa Ana sucker, right, are among the California freshwater organisms sensitive to changes in flow patterns. SCCWRP is part of a statewide team that has developed a proposed statewide framework intended to help watershed managers set environmental flows across California that protect ecosystem health.

A proposed statewide framework for bringing consistency and standardization to how environmental flow targets are set for California streams has been released in draft form for review by the end-user watershed management community – one of the last stages prior to finalizing the framework.

The draft California Environmental Flows Framework, released in October to stakeholders via the California Water Quality Monitoring Council, is eventually expected to be used to manage stream flows statewide. It would replace the inconsistent, ad-hoc methods presently being used in California to determine the magnitude, duration and frequency of hydrologic flows needed to sustain healthy ecosystems – a complex balancing act that involves weighing the many demands on flowing water, including human uses.

The Monitoring Council’s Environmental Flows Workgroup is scheduled to meet November 10 to solicit feedback on the multi-tiered management framework. The framework is expected to be published as a technical report by the end of this year.


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