Temperature Monitoring

Water temperatures in the Trinity and Lower Klamath River are monitored to understand how well the dam releases met expected water temperature criteria.

Major findings from 2009 include:

  • Spring water temperatures in the Trinity River generally fell within the “Optimal” or “Marginal” thermal regime for smolts, except for two brief periods, May 18 and May 30, where water temperatures entered the “Unsuitable” criterion for smolts.
  • The North Coast Region Basin Plan temperature objective of 15.6 °C at Douglas City to protect adult salmon was exceeded 33 days between July 1 and September 15 (Figure). The maximum temperature experienced during this time period was 16.5 °C, or a 0.9 °C exceedence.
  • The temperature objective of 13.3 °C at the North Fork Trinity River was not exceeded. The reason for meeting this objective was in part due to using the deeper auxiliary outlet at Trinity Dam to release cooler water.
  • Despite not meeting the objective all the time, the prescribed flow did result in increased temperature differences between the Trinity River and the Klamath River that indicated that these flows moderated water temperatures during a time when water temperatures of the Klamath River were increasing.

The most pronounced influence of Lewiston Dam releases on downstream temperatures occurred from August 25 to August 31 when a pulse flow, peaking at 2,767 cfs, was released to support the ceremonial needs of the Hoopa Valley Tribe. During this time, the water was on average 2.9 °C colder than the Klamath River at the confluence of the Trinity River. A peak difference of 4.4 °C was recorded on August 26, a time when flow from Lewiston Dam represented a dominant flow source to the Klamath River. The large differential resulted in a temperature reduction of 2.0 °C below the confluence and between 1.0 and 1.5 °C difference at the Terwer Gage of the Lower Klamath River.
tempmon

Actual water temperature (ºC) at Douglas City during April to October 2009 (dotted line). The horizontal-stepped line is the maximum temperature limit allowed by the RWQCB for those dates. The spiking solid line is the release from Lewiston Dam in cfs.

Suggested further reading:

Scheiff, T and Zedonis, P (2010) The influence of Lewiston Dam releases on water temperatures of the Trinity and Klamath Rivers, CA. April to October, 2009.

Faux, R (2010) Application of airborne thermal infrared (TIR) imagery to the understanding of spatial temperature patterns in the Trinity River. Oral presentation provided at the 2010 Trinity River Science Symposium

Wittler, R; Yaworsky, R; and Manza; P (2010) Temperature management of the CVP northern system. Oral presentation provided at the 2010 Trinity River Science Symposium

Zedonis, P (2009) The influence of Lewiston Dam releases on water temperatures of the Trinity and Klamath Rivers, CA. April to October, 2008.

Zedonis, P (2008) The influence of Lewiston Dam releases on water temperatures of the Trinity and Klamath Rivers, CA. April to October, 2007.

Watercourse Engineering (2007) Trinity River flow and temperature modeling project.

Stutsman, M R (2005) Mid-Klamath river salmonid health and abundance in response to a proactive flow release from Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River, California, 2004.

Zedonis, P and Newcomb T (1997) An evaluation of flow and water temperatures during the spring for protection of salmon and steelhead smolts in the Trinity River, California.

Vermeyen, T (1997) Use of temperature control curtains to control reservoir release water temperatures.

Search the Library in TRRP’s Online Data Portal for more.