During the winter and spring of 2015, the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative conducted five interactive workshops focused on the use of beaver in aquatic restoration to solicit input from land owners/managers, restoration funders, reviewers, and practitioners actively involved in beaver restoration and management. The culmination of these workshops is a Beaver Restoration Guidebook that is currently in development. Read the Full Article
King Fire Restoration Alternatives PREVIEW and Panel Discussion - March 25
The plannng team for the King Fire Restoration Project has reviewed the public comments that were expressed in approximately 60 letters and in person during the January 13 public open house. Based on the comments received, seven key issues have been identified which have guided the development of alternatives to the proposed action.
The team has outlined three alternatives in addition to the proposed action and the no action alternative. In depth analysis of these alternatives is now in progress.
Steve Evans, Wild Rivers Consultant for Friends of the River
In mid-March, The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Board of Directors affirmed its support for state Wild & Scenic River protection for the Mokelumne River. Although the utility has supported protection of the river in the past, the new resolution specifically urges the California Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown to pass and sign legislation to protect 35 miles of the river in Amador and Calaveras Counties in the Sierra Nevada foothills.
An EBMUD resolution adopted last year supported state legislation to protect the river but the utility's support was contingent on the approval of other "stakeholders" in the watershed, including Amador County and local water agencies, which have fanatically opposed legislative protection of the river. Because EBMUD delivers water from the Mokelumne to 2.4 million ratepayers in the east Bay Area, the utility should have a strong interest in maintaining the river's water quality and to preventing inappropriate development.
The Sagebrush Chapter of Trout Unlimited is effective in preserving and restoring prime fishing habitat due to a generous grant from the Richard Kroening family. The Northern Nevada-based chapter just issued the biggest round of funding to date from the Conservation Grant Program, a program that hasn't gotten much attention but is thought to be among the most lucrative of its kind for local Trout Unlimited chapters. Since 2009 the fund has grown from less than $540,000 to more than $850,000 while distributing more than $190,000 in grants. The grant program dates back to a 2006 grant from the family of Richard Kroening, a lifelong Trout Unlimited member. It wasn't until 2010 that the chapter issued the first round of grants. Since then, however, the program has grown from giving out less than $25,000 in the first year to nearly $45,000 in the current round awarded in January. The largest award this year was a $15,000 contribution to restoration project on the Little Truckee River. That's where a coalition led by the Truckee-Tahoe Trout Unlimited Chapter is working to improve fish habitat between Boca and Stampede reservoirs. Read More about the funding and projects.
A State Senate bill proposing to designate the Mokelumne River as wild and scenic generated intense controversy last year before it died in the Assembly. Mother Lode water agency representatives worry it could deny them future access to water from the river. Conservationists say the designation would give the river some protection and that local agencies would still be able to take water. Both sides expect another wild and scenic bill this year. Cast your vote to help the decision makers. Enter the OnLine Poll at the calaveras Enterprise.
Although there was a common understanding among the speakers at the January "Hatchery vs. Wild Salmonid Symposium" that wild fish perform better than hatchery fish, no one in the initial session said that there should be no hatcheries at all. The symposium, in Portland, was sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. About 275 people attended. Speakers noted that salmon and steelhead hatcheries in the Northwest can replace fish runs lost to dams and the reduction of habitat, they can bring back imperiled runs of fish as the Snake River sockeye captive broodstock program is doing today; and supplementation programs can build new runs of natural fish. Not one speaker on the first day of this conference suggested that hatcheries don't have a place. In fact, many of the speakers talked about how they are trying to make modern hatcheries work. Read More.
California hatcheries have been addressing these issues previously. A scientific group prepared a California Hatchery Review Report for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission in 2012. This report provided recommendations for action by each of the specific hatcheries. Read the Report. Some of these actions are underway at the Nimbus hatchery as evidenced by current work to replace Eel River steel head stock with Central Valley stock.
During the non-growing season, rice fields in the Yolo Bypass have been a part of an experiment designed to help salmon thrive.
The idea is to flood the fields using — well, borrowing — drain water from the Colusa Basin as it flows into the valley and out to the Sacramento River while the fields are fallow.
The study is the focus of the Nigiri Project at Knaggs Ranch, in the northern reaches of the Yolo Bypass between Interstate 5 and the Sacramento River. The Bypass serves as an incubator for young salmon while they feed and bulk up before ultimately being flushed down the Delta. Read More.
Wild salmon lovers got an early Christmas present this week. Alaska's new governor on Monday cut proposed funding for a controversial hydroelectric project on one of the state's most productive salmon rivers.
The Susitna River is Alaska's 4th largest king salmon fishery. The threats posed by a proposal to build America's second tallest dam at the mid-point of the river, putting the river, the fishery, and an economy of over 5,000 jobs valued at over $200 million annually in jeopardy. Trout Unlimited's Alaska Program has worked with partners over the past 2 and a half years to raise awareness about the ecologic and economic costs of the proposed Susitna dam and to argue for nixing the project. Read More.
The Pebble Mine in Alaska is being contained with the aid of the EPA. Did you know that a similar larger threat is growing on the border of Southeast Alaska with Canada. Canada is allowing increased mining opportunities in British Columbia that threaten the habitat and environmental resources of major rivers flowing into Alaska and the sea. Ten major mines are in development on the Stikine and Unuk Rivers. Each of these mines would contain a massive tailings dam. These dams would have to contain thee tailings in perpetuity to avoid damage to the $2 billion fishing and tourism business of Alaska. This is the type of dam that failed at Mt Polley in 2014 damaging the Frasier River watershed. Trout Unlimited and Salmon Beyond Borders have produced a film illustrating the risks to Alaska. View the film at salmonbeyondborders.org.
A 1909 treaty with Canada states "Waters flowing across the boundary shall not be polluted on either side to the injury of health or property on the other". Yet Canada is willing to continues supporting the development of these mines.
Orvis and Trout Unlimited have joined forces in their ongoing 1,000 mile project, which seeks to reconnect -- you guessed it -- 1,000 miles of rivers and streams currently blocked by culverts. Existing culverts are repaired or replaced, in a simple and cost effective process, restoring habitat, access to spawning grounds and reestablishing miles and miles of fishable water. While the latter may be the most enticing for fishermen, all of the impacts of culvert repair are positive for the angler and the ecosystem alike. Read the full story.