July 21, 2008

PA DEP Signs Agreement to Protect Aquatic Life in Delaware River Basin


Contact: Neil Weaver of the PA Department of Environmental Protection, +1-717-787-1323

Commission Allows Augmented Release from New York Reservoir

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --With summer temperatures soaring in the upper Delaware River basin,the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has signed an agreement that will help protect the regions recreational fishing industry.

Pennsylvania and its decree party partners -- Delaware, New York, New Jersey and New York City -- unanimously agreed to allow New Yorks Department of Environmental Conservation to release up to 1 billion gallons of water under the flexible flow management plan to lower water temperatures. The measure is designed to protect the trout in the upper reaches of the Delaware River from higher temperatures that result when water levels are low.

It is imperative that the commission continues to work together and protect the recreational opportunities that span the length of the Delaware River, as well as the drinking water supplies that serve communities throughout the basin, said DEP Deputy Secretary Cathleen Myers. The cooperative effort was necessary to safeguard the habitat of the aquatic life in the river and to illustrate the adaptive management style incorporated in the flexible flow management plan that was adopted last year.

Under the agreement, DEC can release water from the Cannonsville Reservoir anytime between now and Sept. 15, but not by more than 1 billion gallons in total, if water in the basin needs to be cooled.

It is anticipated that this bank of water should be sufficient to address acute thermal needs of the upper main stem of the Delaware River under extreme conditions.

Releases will occur when the three-day average of forecast high temperatures in the vicinity of Hancock, NY, exceeds 90 degrees and the minimum exceeds 65 degrees.

Air temperature forecasts will come from DECs meteorological staff working in conjunction with the National Weather Service.

The plan temporarily modifies the flexible flow management plan that is in place to control reservoir releases. The FFMP is designed to accommodate suitable temperatures and habitat for trout in the west branch of the Delaware and the upper sections of the east branch and Neversink River, but because of extremely high water temperatures that have been forecast, an augmentation was deemed necessary.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

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