The Congress finds that adjustments of flows from Bluestone Lake project during periods of low flow are necessary to respond to the congressional mandate contained in section 460m–23 of this title and that such adjustments could enhance the quality of the recreational experience in the segments of the river below the lake during those periods as well as protect the biological resources of the river.
The Secretary of the Army, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Interior, shall conduct a study and prepare a report under this section. The report shall be submitted to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the United States Senate and the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs of the United States House of Representatives not later than December 31, 1989. Before submission of the report to these Committees, a draft of the report shall be made available for public comment. The final report shall include the comments submitted by the Secretary of the Interior and the public, together with the response of the Secretary of the Army to those comments.
The study under this section shall examine the feasibility of adjusting the timing of daily releases from Bluestone Lake project during periods when flows from the lake are less than three thousand cubic feet per second. The purpose of such adjustment shall be to improve recreation (including, but not limited to, fishing and whitewater recreation) in the New River Gorge National River. Any such adjustments in the timing of flows which are proposed in such report shall be consistent with other project purposes and shall not have significant adverse effects on fishing or on any other form of recreation in Bluestone Lake or in any segment of the river below Bluestone Lake. The study shall assess the effects of such flow adjustments on the quality of recreation on the river in the segments of the river between Hinton and Thurmond and between Thurmond and the downstream boundary of the New River Gorge National River, taking into account the levels of recreational visitation in each of such segments.
As part of the study under this section, the Secretary of the Army shall conduct test releases from Bluestone Lake project during twenty-four-hour periods during the summer of 1989 when flows are less than three thousand cubic feet per second from the project. All such adjustments shall conform to the criteria specified in subsection (c). The tests shall provide adjustments in the timing of daily flows from Bluestone Lake project which permit flows higher than the twenty-four-hour average to reach downstream recreational segments of the river during morning and afternoon hours. The tests shall develop specific data on the effects of flow adjustments on the speed of the current and on water surface levels in those segments. No test shall be conducted when flows from the lake are less than one thousand seven hundred cubic feet per second and no test shall reduce flows below that level.