A consortium of off-highway vehicle users recently lost a federal lawsuit that sought to overturn a Tahoe National Forest plan that limits off-road use in the forest.
On Nov. 22, Judge John A. Mendez of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California delivered a lengthy oral ruling, siding with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the forest service, and denying Friends of Tahoe Forest Access in its attempt to preserve and expand access for off-highway vehicles. Read the full story.
Caution: TU has been notified that a company called Platinum Publishing sent out renewal invoices for TROUT magazine for $79.95 to some of our members. Please be advised that this is a SCAM and did not originate from TU's offices. Please do not respond to these invoices, but rest assured tu.org and our Woolly Bugger, WV, post office box are fully operational, secure and ready to process dues and gifts.
California Trout has released "Against All Odds" the story of Southern California. Nine months in the making, Mike Wier's latest CalTrout documentary Southern California Steelhead: Against All Odds is available for viewing on CalTrout's website. You'll learn why Southern California's steelhead, which oncenumbered in the tens of thousands, now number in the hundreds. You'll also learn what's being done to save them. Enjoy the stunning video while you learn about this tough, resilient fish. View Here.
Rangers of the Stanislaus National Forest hosted a talk and tour with the YSS collaborative on November 1 to review the status and plans for restoration of the burn area. The YSS, Yosemite Stanislaus Soulutions, is a group of NGO's working with the Forest Service on continuing forest health issues. A report of the days discussions is attached at the end of this story.
While the Forest Service has immediate goals for removal of hazard trees and stabilization of the area these actions may take 1-3 years to implement. Supervisor Skalski said the fire began on August 17th. By the second week, the massive scale and scope of recovery was being thought about. Now, one of the obvious things is that timber salvage has to be done sooner rather than later to recover economic value through the work. There are over 700 miles of roads with hazard trees. She noted there are two tree salvage efforts, one covering removal of hazard trees and the other salvaging timber as part of the Rim recovery effort.
Mr. Richard Stem, who is a retired Dep Regional Forester and has had multiple national experiences in the area of disaster recovery, spoke regarding FS deliberations on the three main parts of the recovery efforts. Mr. Stem has been brought in at the request of the Region and the Forest as the interim Director to "stand up" the approach regarding the following:The NEPA analysis needed after the BAER efforts conclude. Defining the organization that is needed in moving the effort forward. The importance of the Public engagement that will be needed.
He continued saying the FS needs a large organization to go quickly, yet with quality efforts. Over fifty people are assigned to the effort, one third are from "home town" units and the remainder are highly specialized folks from other areas. Jim Junette is heading the EA and Maria Benech is heading the EIS. Some of the things to be considered in the EIS are: What actions will make this landscape more fire resilient given its fire history? How can the value of lost trees be captured? What actions should be utilized to restore and protect other components such as riparian zones, land stabilization through culverts, accessibility through roads, etc.?
Mr. Stem added this effort is the number one priority for the Forest Service nationally. Success would mean folks forty years from now will say we made smart decisions in dealing with the recovery and restoration of the Rim Fire area.
Mr. Stem warned about mission creep. The EIS will focus on short-term restoration, recovery, and resiliency. The reforestation team will do its own EIS or EA to address what is not in the initial EA and EIS. The extended work will probably be a three-year effort, however; the initial decisions will be completed by early summer. In the fall of 2014, a small team will assess what has not been captured in the earlier efforts.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds veterans that service-related injuries need not keep them from enjoying wildlife and the great outdoors. America's disabled veterans get a break on the price of sport fishing and hunting licenses and are provided some special opportunities. CDFW offers reduced-fee hunting and fishing licenses to both resident and nonresident disabled veterans. Any honorably discharged, disabled veteran with a 50 percent or greater service-connected disability who wants to hunt birds or mammals, or fish in California is eligible. The 2014 Sport Fishing License (Reduced – Disabled Veteran) and Disabled Veteran Hunting License cost only $6.95 when purchased at CDFW license counters. Read More
The El Dorado chapter of Trout Unlimited supported the El Dorado National Forest in two restoration projects. Nine members participated in planting of three areas on Alder Creek on November 7. They joined with volunteers from the California Native Plant Society and other organizations to assist the six ENF personnel. About 3-4,000 plants were placed in compacted areas closed from prior dispersed camping. The plants were grown from the 14,000 seed containers planted by EDTU last year. Plantings included lupine, artemesia, coffee berry, goldenrod, currant, squirrel tail grass, ceonothus and gooseberry. Five members turned out on the eighth to assist the ENF soils specialist in protecting a recently closed road on the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River. About 1/2 half mile of road to a dispersed camping area adjacent the river had been closed. The rear half of the road had been ripped to relieve compaction and earthen water bars added. Woody debris and hay were placed on the disturbed surface to inhibit erosion in the coming wet season. This task was noteworthy as few roads are closed during forest restoration projects.
The newly elected board of the El Dorado chapter of TU held their first meeting on November 4. Present were President Berni Bahro, Vice President John Sikora, Secretary Rob Kilbourne, Treasurer Stan Backlund and members Lew Archuletta, Erik Holst and Pat Barron. Stan, Lew and Erik hold continuing positions while the balance were elected in October. There was no nomination for secretary in October and Rob volunteered afterword. The other board members approved his position at the meeting.
More than 200 biologists, ecologists and other scientists are urging Congress to defeat legislation they say would destroy critical wildlife habitat by setting aside U.S. environmental laws to speed logging of burned trees at Yosemite National Park and other national forests and wilderness areas across the West. The experts say two measures pushed by pro-logging interests ignore a growing scientific consensus that the burned landscape plays a critical role in forest regeneration and is home to many birds, bats and other species found nowhere else.
One bill, authored by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., would make logging a requirement on some public forestland, speed timber sales and discourage legal challenges. Hastings, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said wildfires burned 9.3 million acres in the U.S. last year, while the Forest Service only harvested timber from about 200,000 acres. Congressman Tom McClintock authored one of these bills last month to harvest salvage timber within the Rim fire zone near and within Yosemite.
Read the full report of the scientists position.
Eight of our chapter members met on Wednesday October 23 to make the final 2013 hook and line survey of Caples Creek. Four members went to the Kirkwood Inn and four went to the main dam at Caples Lake to begin fishing. It was a pleasant sunny day with a light wind. The creek was low, extremely clear and its temperature was 44 deg at 11:00 AM. Fish were scarce and only four fish were caught. All fish were 6 in. or less in size. A large beaver dam had inundated a 6 acre portion of the meadow. Overflow from the meadow is seen in the photo.
Fish and off highway vehicles have a relationship. Currently there are so many millions of dollars in backlogged road maintenance on public lands, many people have stopped counting.And those are just designated routes. It doesn't count the thousands of miles of user-created routes. But agencies need funding and in most locales they cant even get the dollars to maintain main roads. When these roads are poorly made or poorly maintained they cause sedimentation in local streams which is essentially like paving the river bottom. As sediment builds up it fills the nooks and crannies where insects used to live and covers important spawning gravel fish used to utilize. The next time you think OHV's don't impact you because you don't ride an ATV, think about someone putting a parking lot at the bottom of your favorite fishing spot and maybe you will change your mind. For more information.
TU teens catch all the benefits of a regular membership plus a chance to participate in fly fishing camps, contests, gatherings of TU teen members and plenty of opportunities to volunteer and have fun. For more information.
TU has teen members in every state. They often come to TU through a summer camp or fishing day, and they stay because they also care about conservation. Their youth membership has a discounted rate, but they receive the same benefits, including Trout magazine, our beautiful calendar, and full chapter membership. More and more teens come to TU each year, all of them looking for ways to contribute their time, energy, and talents to our goals and mission.
Hydraulic fracturing, fracking, of shales has been connected with hazards to drinking water and water for fish. Many of the stories have been anecdotal such as the flaming water from household taps in Pennsylvania.. Now Duke University has analysed water from a creek fed by fracking waste water. They have found alarming chemical and radium pollution in the stream. Non of these pollutants were removed by the local water treatment facility.
Fracking requires large quantities of water to fracture the shale layers. Much of this water is returned in extracting oil. In California this raises questions of water availability in Southern California and alarms for the disposition of waste water.