Town of Plymouth won't safeguard
water levels for rare wildlife
Story in Boston Globe 7/29/07
Story in Patriot Ledger 2/2/07
This December, the state issued a permit allowing the Town to pump 42 million gallons a year from the Eel River watershed. The water is to irrigate the Forges Field Recreation Area and the Crosswinds Golf course.
The permit violated state law because it lacked the "Safe-Yield Determination" required under the State's Water Management Act. "Safe Yield" is the maximum volume of water that can be pumped from a water source without environmental damage.
The Eel River is home to 31 listed rare and endangered species and low flows in the river would threaten the survival of this wildlife.
In January the Watershed Association appealed the permit. We offered to settle the dispute if the Town agreed to a drought-management plan based on stream-flow levels. We asked that irrigation water not be pumped if the river fell to dangerously low drought levels.
The Town has refused our request. They have offered instead to institute conservation measures at the facilities. However, they still insist on pumping water for irrigation when the river is only a trickle, threatening the survival of our rare wildlife species.
The judge has scheduled the filing of legal documents for this case in October.
Pinehills agrees to streamflow standards in permit.
In mid-July, The Pinehills was issued a permit in draft form to pump 55 million gallons a year, partly from the Eel River watershed. The water will be used to irrigate landscaping in common areas of the community.
Before the permit was drafted, members of the Pinehills staff met with the Eel River Watershed Association, to make sure that the water withdrawal will not have a detrimental effect on the Eel River and its wetland resource areas which provide habitat for rare wildlife.
Pinehills agreed to incorporate streamflow standards into their water withdrawal permit.
Under this permit, when the river flow falls to drought levels, water will not be pumped from the watershed's groundwater for irrigation.