Turbidity Concerns in the Bear River

Combie Reservoir today. Photo courtesy NID

October 11, 2018 – In an effort to accommodate both a sediment removal project and a hydroelectric upgrade project during the annual Fall drawdown at Combie Reservoir, NID reduced reservoir water levels not seen in years. The drop in water elevation has caused a hydraulic scouring of previously settled silt in the bottom of the reservoir that has quickly created an increase of turbidity outflowing from the reservoir and into the Bear River.

NID staff is on-site with aerial and field assessments, and has determined that the turbidity event has been a result of river scouring at low water levels and not as a result of the sediment removal or hydroelectric projects occurring. NID is currently taking proactive measures to actively monitor water quality and fisheries habitat in the Bear River downstream of Combie.

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NID takes this matter seriously. We have reached out to inform and are in close conversation with the California Fish and Wildlife Department and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board regarding the issue. At this time, NID is actively engaged with professional biologists, regulatory agencies and District staff to determine viable solutions to the problem.

NID continues to ensure water delivery to customers remain of paramount concern. We anticipate that Placer County NID irrigation water customers may experience turbid waters through the remainder of the irrigation season (Oct. 14). Treated water customers in the Lake of the Pines area and north Auburn, however, should not experience a change in water quality during this period.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The above photo shows the biological desert that is created when rivers are dammed and reservoirs are created. The muddy swath between the green in this photo was once a living riparian ecosystem. Can you imagine what the big muddy canyon looks like below waterline if Rollins were to empty. So between these 2 biological deserts is 6 miles of living riparian ecosystem. With all the development in the foothills, the presence of an intact river ecosystem is becoming rare. This last 6 miles of publicly accessible Bear River is an essential link between the wildlife refuge at Spenceville and the American River Canyon. Besides serving as a critical wildlife corridor, this remaining area, including a 250 acre park, would become a future source of recovery for the Watershed when Rollins and Combie inevitably expire as all dams do. That is what planning 50 years ahead looks like. Planning so you have something left for the children.

    NID claims to be a “watershed steward” but look at the short sighted decisions they make. Like building a dam before studying the need. Now they have caused a spike in turbidity because they don’t look at the consequences of their actions, like downstream. One nice young woman at the rally told me that NID are the experts because they have been doing this for 100 years. NID has a tradition of reverently speaking of the “visionaries” whose shoulders they stand on. These are the people who poured mercury, billions of gallons, down our waterways creating the contamination we have today. These are the people who indiscriminently build dams until the salmon are on the verge of extinction. Balance is the key in nature and here as well. Bear River watershed already has 4 dams; there is no more room for further exploitation. Let Bear River flow!!!

  2. This is not a news article. This is another NID press release being presented as if it’s a news article. These attempts by NID to control the information flow, ensuring nothing but what they want heard underlies how they operate across the board. As the unnamed male who stormed out of the special meeting regarding Centennial, I say again. This is a SHAM.

    Vote the bums on the board out. We need new leadership willing to represent the commons as a regional resource and not a private profit bucket. We also need a Division 6 for NID, one that represents the “at large” areas currently “at risk” by NID’s unilateral, bullying behavior with OUR water.

    • Jordan, the byline clearly states that is is written by NID – we sign our news stories as YubaNet. You may want to look at the news story and the commentary we wrote about the meeting.

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