Lake Mendocino Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations Awarded ASCE Region 9 Water Project

March 24, 2022

Lake Mendocino FIRO Steering Committee at Lake Mendocino in 2018.

Each year, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Region 9 presents project awards recognizing outstanding Civil Engineering projects in California. Awards are selected from nominations made throughout the state and evaluated by the ASCE review committee. ASCE recently presented the 2021 ASCE Region 9 Water Project award to Jay Jasperse, Chief Engineer of Sonoma Water, recognizing the Lake Mendocino Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO) Final Viability Assessment (FVA) as an outstanding water project.

The Lake Mendocino FIRO FVA, developed collaboratively by a multi-agency Steering Committee co-led by Sonoma Water and CW3E, is a new tool that aims to support informed water supply and flood management decisions. By integrating additional flexibility in operation policies and rules with enhanced monitoring and improved weather and streamflow forecasts, the project helps to better inform decisions to retain or release water. FIRO is also being developed and tested as a collaborative effort in regions other than the Russian River Basin, such as in the Santa Ana River Basin (Prado Dam), and the Yuba-Feather River Basins, with interest and support for developing FIRO at other appropriate locations in the Western U.S. and elsewhere. The project engages experts and stakeholders in civil engineering, hydrology, meteorology, biology, economics and climate from several federal, state and local, universities and others.

Jay has accepted the award on behalf of the FIRO Steering Committee, commenting “ASCE’s recognition for the Lake Mendocino FIRO project reflects the excellent collaboration and innovation by its Steering Committee, co-chaired by Marty Ralph at CW3E. FIRO brings research and operations together for science-based practical solutions to improve water supply and flood risk management. This is especially important as we adapt to the extremes associated with climate change.”

CW3E is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Sonoma Water on this project, and looks forward to continuing to advance and expand the important efforts of FIRO into the future. To learn more about the Lake Mendocino FIRO FVA project, visit the CW3E Lake Mendocino FIRO webpage.