The discussion will resume Wednesday on possible improvements for fish in a Tuolumne River stretch near La Grange.
The Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts, at the direction of the federal government, are looking at how salmon and other oceangoing fish might again spawn in the river above La Grange Reservoir. This impoundment is about 2 miles downstream of the far-larger Don Pedro Reservoir, which is going through its own process involving fish and other concerns.
The key question at this week’s meeting in Modesto: Would it be worthwhile to transport fish into the upper river by truck or other means? Fishery agencies and environmental groups say that stretch used to harbor the fish and might do so again. The districts are concerned about a cost that could run into the tens of millions of dollars.
MID and TID completed La Grange in 1893, just six years after they were formed. Don Pedro came along in 1971 and provides most of the storage for the districts.
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They have been working since 2011 on a renewal of the 1966 hydropower license for Don Pedro, which involves exhaustive study of fish and other concerns. La Grange was built before licenses were required, but the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled in 2012 that it needs one.
Wednesday’s meeting is one in a series on the fish passage study planned at La Grange.
“MID and TID will be asking the federal and state agencies at the workshop to describe their management goals that led to the request for studying fish passage,” said Melissa Williams, spokeswoman for the Modesto district, in an email.
The study will include “socioeconomic issues” related to fish passage, according to the meeting agenda.
John Holland: (209) 578-2385
AT A GLANCE
What: Meeting on pending study of fish needs in La Grange area of Tuolumne River
When: 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday
Where: Modesto Irrigation District, 1231 11th St., Modesto