Our El Dorado chapter of Trout Unlimited held its November 16 meeting to report on the Survey of Caples Creek conducted by the TU Inland Trout Project personnel located in Truckee, CA. The survey was completed at the end of July and comprised six people over three days. Lauren Herbine, Restoration Scientist, and Dan Johnson presented and discussed the material. Documentation had been provided previously via a Google Earth project which provided location, pictures and text of observations. Fifty log jams were noted, ten pools were fished, seven passage barriers were found and twenty-seven potential sediment sources were described.
Lauren and Dan stated that the terrain proved tough, but the landscape was beautiful!
Their broad impressions were that Caples presents as a healthy, dynamic river responding well to recent wildfires. There were very few places that any sediment input looked dramatic, and for the most part were very happy with the amount of sediment and structure found in the creek. Log jams provided fantastic fish habitat and in some cases were even pushing water out into older oxbows. Sediment deposition took place in pocket floodplains where a healthy riparian buffer is forming. They saw or caught many trout around log jams. The lower part of the reach was exclusively Rainbow trout and the upper 1/3 contained Brook trout. No Brown trout were caught or observed. Fish were found in all sections although numbers and sizes were small.
The team has no recommendations for further study or restoration action. They believe that nature will continue to improve the biological conditions and hence the fish populations. The biologists present concurred in this belief. Some type of monitoring should be established to periodically review the conditions and fish population. Our chapter can develop a monitoring plan in the coming year. The El Dorado Irrigation District performs an electro shock survey for rainbow trout every fifth and sixth year at the Kirkwood meadow. this is useful data but limited in the broad scope of the creek.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced the availability of up to $2 million in grant funding for non-lethal beaver damage management, in support of ecosystem restoration and protection under the Nature-Based Solutions Initiative and CDFW’s beaver restoration and human-wildlife conflict program objectives.
The North American beaver’s critically important role as an ecosystem engineer and keystone species, particularly as climate change, drought and wildfires increase in severity, has gained rapidly growing recognition in recent years. Because they are crucial to restoring and maintaining healthy ecosystems and their functions, CDFW has implemented new measures to maintain healthy beaver populations in suitable habitat throughout California.
Sites Reservoir is not a 21st century water solution. It will add little water to California’s supply. And as proposed, it will not provide net environmental benefits. Our coalition elaborated on these claims, in depth, in our protest.
The real and potential harms that will be caused by Sites Reservoir include (non-exhaustive):
Impacts to water quality, such as increased levels of metals and heavy metals, increased levels of aqueous mercury (which climbs the food chain), formation of harmful algal blooms both in the reservoir area and the Bay-Delta due to flow reduction.
Extensive greenhouse gas emissions.
Fragmented and destroyed wildlife habitat in the project area, with impacts to the Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Burrowing Owl, Giant Gartner Snake, Foothill Yellow-legged Frog, Mountain Lions, American Badgers, Monarch Butterflies, native bees, native bats, and many other species.
Story from Friends of the River
The TU staff from Truckee performed an initial survey of Caples Creek on July 22,23 and 24. A group of 6 persons traveled from the trailhead on Silver Fork Road to the dam at Caples Lake. This is a 7.5 mile journey on a straight line but is obviously much longer along the creek Their objective was to identify features which may impact the habitat and trout. They documented 6 pools, 118 log jams, 30 potential sediment sites and 7 barriers to fish passage. They took extensive photographs documenting the location and features of each item. I am confident they also made numerous other observations and notes which would define the habitat. Each of these noted items are recorded on Google Earth including images of each. We are looking forward to a presentatiion of results at our November meeting. The image of one of the meadow areas belies the rugged nature of the full length, elevation changes and deadfalls
Anthony Cortez and William completed the Caples Creek Wild Trout signage update on August 25. They are pictured on the left. The sign update placed the new catch and release regulations for the creek. The central photo shows the newly identified "Girl scout access" trail at kirkwood Lake. The right hand image is the new sign at the northe end of the Caples dam replacing ones lost over the winter.
The Klamath River Renewal Corporation reported in July that Copco II, the first of four dams to be removed on the Klamath River, is nearly gone. Crews have been working hard this summer to remove the concrete structure and restore the river channel.
The other three dams will be removed next summer, allowing steelhead, salmon, and lamprey access to over 400 miles of spawning and rearing habitat in the upper basin for the first time in over a century.
Salmon can now access 4 times more spawning area than they have for decades.
Since the 1930’s, a water-diversion dam about two miles east of downtown Lincoln has been a major problem for the salmon that swim up Auburn Ravine to spawn every fall and winter. In wet years, on average, 7 to 10 percent were able to get over that dam to reach good spawning areas upstream. In dryer years, none made it.
It was called the Hemphill Dam – probably named after a prominent Lincoln resident, Wallace Hemphill, who led various irrigation projects in the area around Lincoln in the 1920’s and 30’s.
The good news is that this dam has been removed. The site is now called the Hemphill Fish Passage Project. The salmon now have access to about eight miles of streambed. And they are using it!
Read More with HemphillDam.pdf
GMO aquaculture plant regularly:
Regularly discharges high levels of ammonia into the surrounding watershed and violates environmental regulations;
Keeps its GE fish growing in toxicological water contaminated with unsafe levels of fiberglass particles, ammonia, and decaying corpses of the GE fish who could not survive such inhumane conditions;
Has had instances of aerosolized hydrochloric acid contaminating the facility along with improper handling of other caustic chemicals and disregarding basic worker safety;
Has routine containment breaches and disposes of their mortalities in easily accessible outdoor dumpsters where wild animals scavenge, risking potentially bringing GE fish into the nearby effluent.
AquaBounty’s behavior isn’t surprising. Their actions follow how Big Food companies operate in the U.S. food system; for-profit and at the cost of people and the environment. It is imperative to put the truth about AquaBounty practices in the light, as the impact of their product is of grave concern for water and wild Salmon - both life-giving elements in river and ocean ecosystems globally.
Stream restoration projects require a variety of tools and tactics. Sometimes you use a trowel, and sometimes a bulldozer.
In trout and salmon streams where water quality or habitat are highly degraded, you are more likely to need the latter. But when you bring in the heavy machinery, what happens to the fish living in that section of the stream?
Often, the project manager is required to relocate as many of the resident fish as is possible before the work begins. The goal is to cause as little harm as possible to the fish and to ensure that none remain in a stream channel that has had its flow diverted, as was recently necessary for the Faith Valley Restoration Project.
As holiday visitors vacated the Stanislaus National Forest at the conclusion of the long Fourth of July weekend, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Heritage and Wild Trout Program moved in.
Four team members from the statewide program – Environmental Scientist Allison Scott, scientific aids Aaron Sturtevant and Stew Sloan, along with new program leader Farhat Bajjaliya – set up camp within the border region of Alpine and Stanislaus counties in the northern reaches of the Eastern Sierra.
Monitoring in 2022 occurred in the first two weeks of September and Steve Schwartzbach participated as a volunteer from trout unlimited in the first day’s monitoring on the south Fork of the American River at 30 Milestone road. If you will recall, the first week of September was a week when a vast dome of high pressure settled over California producing record high daily temperatures. It seemed like a good day to be on a river, however ankle deep was not the best depth for working in hip waders
Fish species recovered during our first pass it seemed to me included primarily Rainbow trout, and Sacramento Suckers. While the complete results of the 2022 survey are not yet available we have the 2017 report results to compare. That report showed that the South Fork American below the project 184 diversion was the richest site in rainbow trout with 3,589 trout per mile estimated and 33.9 pounds of rainbow trout per surface acre. Data for other sites are as follows: Alder Creek (1,810 trout/mile and 74.6 lbs/SA), Silver Fork (1207,and 19.7) Pyramid Creek (1,479 and 6.5), Echo Creek (354 and 11.8) and last was Caples creek which had zero Rainbow Trout.
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