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  • Category Archives A Case of Nuts and Boldt
  • Water for Fish vs. Water for People?

    Water for Fish vs.  Water for People?

     Aren’t people more important than fish? 

     If you’re a normal person, you’d answer “yes,

    people USUALLY are more important than FISH.” 

    HOWEVER, THE ISSUE OF “INSTREAM FLOW” ISN’T THAT SIMPLE.  IT ACTUALLY BOILS DOWN TO A VALUE JUDGMENT

    WA  STATE LAW IS CLEAR THAT INSTREAM FLOWS  “MUST” BE SET AT LEVELS THAT PROTECT AND PRESERVE FISH

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    WA STATE DEPT OF ECOLOGY

    Introduction to Instream Flows and Instream Flow Rules
    Answers to your basic questions,

    http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wr/instream-flows/isf101.html

    What is an instream flow? Answer…

    Why are stream flows important? Answer…

    What is an “instream flow rule”? Answer…

    Are there instream flows set in my watershed? Answer…

    How could setting instream flows affect me? Answer…

    Are instream flows all about protecting fish? What about people? Answer…

    How are instream flow numbers determined? Answer…

    Why are instream flows sometimes higher than the flow in the stream? Answer…

    Why not set flow levels lower than the existing flows in the stream? Answer…

    What are the laws that allow Ecology to set flows by rule? Answer…

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    GOT QUESTIONS?  ECOLOGY’S GOT ALL THE BASIC ANSWERS

    Introduction to Instream Flows and Instream Flow Rules …

    www.ecy.wa.gov › Water Resources › Instream Flows In Washington

    This web page answers basic questions about instream flows and instream flow rules.

    Introduction to Instream Flows and Instream Flow Rules

    This web page answers basic questions about instream flows and instream flow rules.

    What is an instream flow? Answer…

    Why are stream flows important? Answer…

    What is an “instream flow rule”? Answer…

    Are there instream flows set in my watershed? Answer…

    How could setting instream flows affect me? Answer…

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    Are instream flows all about protecting fish? What about people?

    Answer…

    Washington state law requires that instream resources, including fish, have adequate flow levels to protect and preserve them.

    When setting flows, a lot of discussion centers around fish needs because fish are considered an “indicator species” – setting instream flow levels adequate for fish generally provides flows adequate for other instream resources. And fish needs can be more easily quantified by existing methods than other instream values.  This is why fish studies are usually the basis for determining instream flow numbers.

    Adequate stream flows are important for instream resources and values that directly impact people, including water quality, recreational activities like fishing, boating and swimming, and the scenic and aesthetic qualities of natural settings that Washington State is famous for. (Also see the question Why are stream flows important?)

    When making decisions about water right permits, it is necessary to know how much is needed and how much is available.  Adopting instream flow rules help Ecology determine whether there is enough water for additional out-of-stream uses and support local communities in managing their current and future water needs.

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    ISN’T INSTREAM FLOW REALLY AN ISSUE OF

    “WATER FOR FISH” VS. “WATER FOR PEOPLE”? 

     AREN’T PEOPLE MORE IMPORTANT THAN FISH? 

     IF YOU’RE A NORMAL PERSON, YOU’D ANSWER

     “YES, PEOPLE USUALLY ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN FISH.” 

     HOWEVER, THE ISSUE OF INSTREAM FLOW ISN’T THAT SIMPLE. 

     IT ACTUALLY BOILS DOWN TO A VALUE JUDGMENT

    of what we want our world to look like.  Fish are in fact just one of many organisms that live in streams but they often offer a gauge of overall environmental health.

    Instream flow is an issue of water and river management – seeking ways to maintain healthy, diverse ecosystems that contribute to a high quality of life while sustaining our basic life functions and economies.  Accomplishing this goal is never easy, as it involves integration of scientific knowledge and societal demands within a set of legal limitations.

    But informed and effective instream flow management should afford a healthy, enjoyable existence for people while maintaining healthy, diverse aquatic resources.   It’s much more complicated than “keeping a little water in the creek for the fish.”

    Instream Flow Council

    Welcome to the Instream Flow Council (link as provided above by ecology)

    The Instream Flow Council (IFC) is a NON-PROFIT organization made up of state, provincial, and territorial fish and wildlife agencies working to improve the effectiveness of instream flow programs and activities for conserving fish and wildlife and related aquatic resources.

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    How are instream flow numbers determined? Answer…

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    Why are instream flows sometimes higher than the flow in the stream?

    Answer…

    While the amount of water in the stream is considered when determining instream flow numbers, they cannot be based solely on existing levels (see next question).

    STATE LAW IS CLEAR THAT INSTREAM FLOWS MUST BE SET AT LEVELS THAT PROTECT AND PRESERVE FISH and instream resources over the long-term.  The instream flows reflect levels that would be beneficial for fish if those flows were present in the stream.

    Actual stream flow levels naturally vary throughout the year due to seasonal changes and water use.  So the differences between the actual stream flows and instream flows will also vary throughout the year.

    If the instream flow number is high relative to the average stream flow in the stream in the summer, this does not mean that the instream flow number is wrong.  Rather it means that the stream will provide more fish habitat in wet years than in dry ones.  Protecting the occasional “good water year” is needed to preserve a healthy population of fish.  If we want to protect the habitat available in those good wet years, then the instream flow needs to be set at that higher flow level.

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    Why not set flow levels lower than the existing flows in the stream? Answer…

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    What are the laws that allow Ecology to set flows by rule?

    Answer…

    The legal authority to set instream flows by rule comes from laws passed by the state legislature, including:

    • Construction projects in state waters (RCW 77.57.020)
    • Water code (RCW 90.03.247)
    • Minimum water flows and levels (Chapter 90.22 RCW)
    • Water resources act of 1971 (Chapter 90.54 RCW, particularly section 020)
    • Watershed planning (RCW 90.82.080

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    The bottom line

    The nuts and the Boltd of it

    THE ISSUE OF “INSTREAM FLOW” IS REALLY VERY SIMPLE. 

    IT ACTUALLY BOILS DOWN TO A VALUE JUDGMENT

    NO MORE FISH BEFORE PEOPLE