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!
To save room for more important and/or more interesting items this month, I only want to say "thank you" to the members who responded to Kevin's article last month about donating time to the Bingo fundraiser for the Mokelumne River Restoration Project. We had a good turnout and 100% of the funds raised May 13th have been set aside exclusively for this project.
As I wrote this, our skies were full of smoke from the more than 800 lightning-caused fires in Northern California last weekend. Our condolences to all who have suffered losses as a result of this terrible situation.
Prior to these fires, the Governor had declared a drought in California, and now the fires are destroying the vegetation that helps protect our streams and rivers from siltation and erosion. Many of our fisheries, which are already in trouble, will be additionally impacted by these conditions.
Differences of Opinion
Recently I asked my sons what they think about when someone says the word conservation. To Isaac it means restoring runs of wild, anadramous fish, especially steelhead, to our rivers. Joshua wants to see more rivers permanently protected by groups like Western Rivers Conservancy. For me it is the hope the future includes wild fish living in healthy rivers and streams for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. It is interesting how three people can have three different yet equally valid views of the same topic.
As an organization the Sac-Sierra chapter of TU is no different. Over the past year I have become increasingly aware of the size and geographic diversity of our chapter. Sac-Sierra TU has approximately 1000 members spread over roughly 8000 square miles, includes 10 major watersheds, and encompasses alpine and anadramous fisheries. If you were to survey our members you would find that folks use every imaginable type of rod, fly, bait or lure to chase and catch fish!
I have often heard or read anglers talking about their "home waters". In many cases these are the rivers, streams or lakes near home where they fish regularly. To me home water implies a place you know well, a river or lake you know as more than just a casual friend. I also think it means we care about what happens and help to take care of the place.
I would say I have three home waters: the American River for stripers, and the Truckee River and the Little Truckee River for trout. For me the most challenging, most demanding and some days amazingly rewarding is the Little Truckee River. I never fail to be amazed at the size, selectivity and overall snobbishness of the trout that live in the river. The Little Truckee is an outstanding trout stream that needs and deserves our protection.
I wanted nothing to do with fishing for many years when my son Isaac was small. Unfortunately I simply did not have the patience required to take a motor-driven, hyperactive, six year old fishing. The good news is that Cheryl, my wife, did, and she took Isaac and his brother Joshua fishing when they were young.
I started fly fishing by accident. When Isaac was about 8, he and I went camping together in Lassen National Park, just the two of us. To be honest I had struggled to connect with Isaac when he was young. Camping was something we both loved to do so I thought it would be a good way to spend some time with just him. Isaac badly wanted to fish on the trip so we took along his rod and his tackle box. By chance we met another father and son that were also on a trip together and were fishing. Greg was the father's name and he suggested we fish King's Creek for brookies. Isaac and I went there and he was able to catch several small fish on salmon eggs. To say that he was happy does not even begin to capture the smile and excitement of that moment. It was also one of the best moments of my life as a father.