NY - DEC Announces Actions to Protect Salmon River Fish Populations
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced actions underway to mitigate the impacts of low water flows along the Salmon River during the upcoming salmon run that draws thousands of anglers each year.
In addition, new angling regulations and recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remain in effect to ensure the health and safety of both natural resources and the public.
“The Salmon River supports the largest fall runs of salmon and trout in New York, and is one of the state’s most heavily fished waters,” Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “The actions announced today are necessary to ensure continued water flows to sustain the salmon run and fishery, and to enable spawning salmon to reach DEC’s Salmon River Hatchery and support ongoing stocking efforts. Additionally, DEC wants to ensure that visiting anglers are aware of new angling regulations and recommended practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as they plan their trips to enjoy New York’s premier angling opportunities. We encourage anglers to enjoy New York’s renowned fisheries, but we ask that you please do so safely and responsibly to protect fellow anglers and local communities.”
This summer, below-average precipitation has resulted in low and declining water levels in the Salmon River Reservoir. The executive committee of the Salmon River flow management team, comprised of natural resource agencies and Brookfield Renewable hydroelectric facility that regulates reservoir water levels, canceled scheduled whitewater releases over the Labor Day weekend and delayed the annual Sept. 1 increase in baseflow. These actions will conserve reservoir water to maintain suitable flows throughout the salmon spawning run. Additionally, the popular lower fly fishing section, situated just below the hatchery and typically where large numbers of salmon and anglers congregate, will not open on Sept. 15, and will remain closed until further notice.
Under a federal license, Salmon River seasonal baseflows are typically increased from 185 cubic feet/second to 335 cfs on Sept. 1, providing water levels in the Salmon River Reservoir (SRR) are above a critical threshold. The SRR level is currently below that threshold, requiring cancelation of a scheduled white-water release over Labor Day weekend. In addition, significant rainfall is not forecasted for the near term, prompting DEC to recommend a delay in the scheduled baseflow increase.