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DRBC Announces March 27 Public Hearings And Meeting On Proposed Management Plan For The New York City Delaware Basin Reservoirs

For Immediate Release

March 21, 2007

(WEST TRENTON N.J.)  -- Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Executive Director Carol R. Collier announced that two hearings will be held on March 27 to give the public an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed Flexible Flow Management Plan (FFMP) for operation of the three New York City Delaware Basin reservoirs.

The public hearings will take place at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Lake Wallenpaupack Environmental Learning Center, PPL Drive (off Route 6), in Hawley, Pa.

An informational meeting will be held at 1 p.m. at the same location.  The 6:30 p.m. hearing will open with a brief informational presentation prior to the receiving of public comments.

The proposal would establish a FFMP for the Cannonsville, Pepacton, and Neversink reservoirs for multiple objectives, including water supply and drought mitigation, management of the reservoir tailwater fisheries and other habitat needs, and spill mitigation.  The proposed FFMP was submitted to the DRBC by the five parties to the U.S. Supreme Court Decree of 1954, which include Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York State, and New York City.

"The DRBC may modify diversions, releases, rights, conditions, and obligations established by the decree, provided that the five decree parties unanimously consent to such modifications," Collier said.  "The commission, however, does not have the authority to independently make such modifications."

The DRBC and decree parties have previously modified the decree to respond to fluctuating hydrologic conditions and evolving priorities since the commission was created in 1961.  Two such modifications now in effect -- the three-year interim fisheries protection program and a temporary spill mitigation program -- are set to expire on May 31.

A central feature of the current fishery management program has been the creation of reservoir storage "banks" to be used for narrowly defined purposes under specific hydrologic and temperature conditions at certain times of the year.

The proposed FFMP would largely eliminate the use of banks and base releases instead on reservoir storage levels, resulting in larger releases when water is abundant and smaller releases when storage is at or below normal.  This approach would more closely approximate natural flows and provide more gradual transitions from higher to lower releases, which has been a concern voiced in the past by Upper Delaware anglers.

The proposal's spill mitigation component is intended to reduce the likelihood that the three reservoirs could be full and spilling coincident with a major storm or thaw.

Written comments will be accepted until April 6, 2007, and should be mailed to: Commission Secretary, DRBC, P.O. Box 7360, 25 State Police Drive, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360.  Comments also may be faxed to "Attn: Commission Secretary" at (609) 883-9522 or emailed to paula.schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us. All written comments should include the name, address, and affiliation (if any) of the commenter.

The proposed FFMP and directions to the public hearings/meeting, along with additional information, can be found on the commission's web site at www.drbc.net.

The DRBC was formed by compact in 1961 through legislation signed into law by President John F. Kennedy and the governors of the four basin states with land draining to the Delaware River (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania).  The passage of this compact marked the first time in our nation's history that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners in a river basin planning, development, and regulatory agency.


Contact: Clarke Rupert, DRBC, 609-883-9500 ext. 260, clarke.rupert@drbc.state.nj.us