UPDATE – On August 6th, Govenor Schwarzenegger sign SB 670 into law, placing an immediate moratorium on suction dredging until the California Department of Fish and Game develops and implements new suction dredge regulations that protect fisheries and water quality. Sac-Sierra Trout Unlimted would like to thank everyone who helped make this happen.
Breaking News from The Sierra Fund
July 14, 2009
SACRAMENTO – New protections for California’s people and environment are now only a signature away. Yesterday the State Senate joined the State Assembly in overwhelmingly passing SB 670 (Wiggins), a measure that will place a moratorium on the practice of a form of recreational gold mining known as suction dredging, with a bipartisan vote of 31-8. SB 670 easily garnered the two-thirds vote in both houses of the State Legislature needed to send it to the Governor as a piece of “urgency” legislation which means it will go into effect immediately upon his signature.
The California Department of Water Resources is testing a non-physical fish barrier to help keep young Chinook salmon and steelhead in a more direct path to the ocean. And it uses a bubble curtain and strobe lights!
Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead(sarsas.org) is trying to do with one stream, the Auburn Ravine, what must be done to all streams and rivers on the entire West Coast: make the entire length navigable for anadromous fish. Their goal is to work collaboratively and cooperatively to modify the twelve man-made barriers and six plus beaver dams on the Auburn Ravine to make them passable for fish.
SARSAS believes (as does TU!) that the health and well-being of Salmon is directly linked to that of people. If we improve the health and well-being of Salmon, we improve the health and well-being of mankind and therefore ourselves. Salmon are as resilient and adaptive as humans; when they can no longer adapt, neither can mankind.
SARSAS, Courthouse Coffee and California Conservation Corp Clean Up Auburn Ravine
The 11th Annual Salmon Festival at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery concluded this afternoon, and it appears to have been another great success!
Even though the Chapter has been active only 13 months, this is our second consecutive year of participation. Quite a few of our Chapter members contributed ideas and materials during the planning stages for our booth, and enough members volunteered to have at least two people staffing the booth for each of the six 2-hour shifts. Mother Nature contributed by providing sunny skies after Friday's rain but, unfortunately, the salmon were not particularly cooperative. It seems they are a bit late arriving this year!
In March 2009, The Nature Conservancy announced the protection of the 4,543-acre Shasta Big Springs Ranch in Siskiyou County, California, which will have a resounding impact on salmon, steelhead and other important species throughout the Klamath basin. As climate change progresses, the area could also become one of the last and best strongholds for coho and other salmon species in California.
The Sacramento Area Creeks Council is dedicated to protecting and sharing the abundant natural treasures that make up the extensive creek system of our region.
Using educational programs and annual events open to all age groups, the Council continually brings young and old ever closer to the more than fifty intricate and fascinating creek ecosystems that weave in and out of our neighborhoods, towns and cities.
The Sacramento Area Creeks Council has joined with individuals, schools, neighborhoods, park districts, civic organizations, businesses, and local government to educate the general public about the abundant aesthetic, recreational and ecological values that natural streams offer.
Membership is open to anyone who wishes to participate in the effort to preserve our region's fragile - and vulnerable - creeks.
Preservation Proposed for Rivers in Eastern Sierra and Southern California
Thanks to the support of Friends of the River members, and the years of dogged work by a strong coalition of conservation groups, a bipartisan bill has been introduced by Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) into the Senate and House of Representatives.
The "Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act" seeks to protect more than 52 miles of Wild & Scenic rivers and nearly 476,000 acres of Wilderness, including some of the most spectacular scenery in the West.
Please click here to read the entire press release that outlines the bill. We'll need your help in the near future as the bill progresses to make sure it gets the support it needs. But today is a day to celebrate another great step forward for California rivers and wilderness!
An exhaustive look at available data for 89 populations of chinook and coho salmon and steelhead shows that productivity in the wild shrinks in direct proportion with increases in the percentage of hatchery fish that join wild fish on the spawning grounds.
"Our results suggest that the net reproductive performance of the population will decline under all of the hatchery scenarios," according to "Reduced recruitment performance in natural populations of anadromous salmonids associated with hatchery-reared fish," a research paper published in the March 2011 edition of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. The paper was authored by Mark Chilcote of NOAA Fisheries and Ken Goodson and Matt Falcy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "While using hatchery fish in the short-term to reduce extinction risk and temporarily boost depressed wild populations to re-establish normative biological function are laudable conservation roles, such actions come at a cost in terms of reductions in per capita recruitment performance,"the paper says. "Therefore, we conclude, as did Chilcote (2003) and Nickelson (2003), that under most circumstances the long-term conservation of wild populations is best served by the implementation of measures that minimize the interactions between wild and hatchery fish."
It's been several months since our last newsletter and a lot has happened in that time. This month I want to take a moment to let you know a bit of what has been happening over the past few months.
First of all our webmaster, Dustin Rocksvold has redesigned and launched a new website for Sac-Sierra TU. If you haven't been there in a while it's worth checking out at www.sac-sierratu.org. We will be updating the website regularly with information on conservation related issues, projects and events.
In June of this year Trout Unlimited hosted the first TU Fish Camp for kids. The three day event was held at the Sagehen Creek field station outside of Truckee. Lisa and Ralph Cutter and Dave Lass, the Northern California field coordinator for TU were the instructors for the camp. 15 kids age 11- 15 participated and had the opportunity to learn about stream biology, bug sampling, fly casting, knots and stream restoration. On the third day volunteers from Truckee River TU, Reno Sagebrush TU and Sac-Sierra TU helped the kids tie flies and then guided them for a day of fishing on Sagehen creek. Fortunately the fish were willing to play and most of the campers hooked and landed fish. Plans are already underway to expand the camp for the summer of 2013.
As the new president of the Sac-Sierra Chapter, this is my first time writing the "President's Message". I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you why I joined Trout Unlimited.
One of my long time friends lives in the heart of the Sierra Nevada and we have spent many days together fishing and talking politics. He is an intelligent, talented fisherman who just about always teaches me something new. He is also very politically aware and informed, and we share many of the same opinions regarding politicians and the political process. Both of us worry that the decisions being made in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. will cause more damage to the fisheries we love. Where we disagree is that my friend does not think that he, as an individual, can make a difference; that the politics of water are so stacked in favor of agribusiness and development that we are doomed to suffer whatever fate is decided by others. I can't agree with him. To agree with my friend I would have to give up the dream that my two sons will have the opportunity to "chase fish" with their children, just as we have chased fish as a family across the western U.S. That's why I joined Trout Unlimited.
While serving as your president my goal will be to continue the work of building a strong, active chapter dedicated to a future where we can all chase wild trout in wild places. Now that's something I can agree with!