Lake Mendocino Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO) Workshop Summary

July 5, 2016

Experts from multiple disciplines and organizations came together for the third annual FIRO workshop, which was held at UC San Diego/Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) from 27-29 June 2016. This workshop was hosted jointly by the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) and SIO’s Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E). It was organized by the FIRO Steering Committee, co-chaired by CW3E’s Marty Ralph and SCWA’s Jay Jasperse. There were a total of 52 attendees from organizations including the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), California Department of Water Resources (CA DWR), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US Geological Survey (USGS), US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), SCWA and CW3E.

During the workshop, participants shared recent updates on FIRO activities, discussed reservoir conditions during water year 2016, summarized progress toward goals identified in the FIRO Workplan and identified issues to address regarding development of the Lake Mendocino FIRO “Preliminary Viability Assessment.” Progress was summarized on defining FIRO information requirements (e.g., forecast parameters and lead times), assessing current forecast skill, exploring the origins of forecast errors, advances in atmospheric river science, results of preliminary estimates of FIRO implications on Lake Mendocino water supply, and discussion of potential additional reservoirs for which FIRO may hold promise. Individual task groups (Preliminary Viability Assessment, Science, and Communications/Outreach) conducted break-out sessions in order to discuss progress and next steps towards meeting project goals (see photos below). In addition, the 11-member Lake Mendocino FIRO Steering Committee met afterward to review the workshop outcomes and plans. In short, the initial goals of year-1 of the 5-year FIRO Workplan are on track to be met, including development of the Preliminary Viability Assessment. Longer-term actions supporting the Full Viability Assessment are beginning and transferability is being discussed.

Lake Mendocino FIRO is summarized at http://cw3e.ucsd.edu/FIRO/.

Contacts: F. Martin Ralph (CW3E Director; mralph@ucsd.edu) and J. Jasperse (SCWA Chief Engineer; Jay.Jasperse@scwa.ca.gov)