Tiffany Revelle, UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors is getting ready to send a letter to Congressman Jared Huffman supporting a bill that would compel the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rethink the way it runs the Coyote Valley Dam, and how much water can be stored in Lake Mendocino throughout the year.
Huffman last month introduced House of Representatives Bill 3988, called the Fixing Operations of Reservoirs to Encompass Climatic and Atmospheric Science Trends Act, which would let local sponsors of any of the Corps’ reservoir projects throughout the nation ask the Corps to find better ways to operate the reservoir in question. The bill would require the Corps to respond and give it three years to do a study.
The ACOE runs the Coyote Valley Dam during flood control season (November through April) using a formula and graph drawn in 1959. Local officials, including the Board of Supervisors, say that doesn’t allow Lake Mendocino to store enough water to ensure a steady supply the rest of the year, because the Corps uses that decades-old rule curve to instead release over the dam and down the Russian River any water in the lake that rises above a set flood control limit.