The Eel River is on the brink of disaster, its ocean-going fish species threatened with extinction, its nurturing estuary diked, drained and diminishing.
At the same time, this massive watershed in California’s northwest corner offers the state’s best hope of ensuring a future abundance of wild anadromous fish.
This paradox of the Eel, California’s third largest river system, is driving an urgency to save it while there’s still time. For the Eel’s diverse and often adversarial stakeholders, this is a rare and fleeting opportunity to set aside differences out of a common commitment to what they share.
A University of California and CaliforniaTrout study last month indicated that some species of salmon are in danger of going extinct by the end of this century. Their persistence in modern California is practically miraculous, given the profound alteration of rivers and streams.
To ensure these fish endure, with the added dimension of a changing climate, we must take strong steps. Salmon need help in the stream gravel where they hatch, the pools and floodplains where they grow, the Delta channels that carry them to the ocean, and the rivers they power up in order to spawn and die in the same gravel from which they emerged.
Wild Trout XII: Science, politics, and wild trout management: who’s driving and where are we going?
The Wild Trout Symposium brings together a diverse audience of non-profit conservation groups, media representatives, educators, anglers, fishing guides, government entities, and business interests associated with trout fisheries to exchange technical information and viewpoints on wild trout management and related public policy. Held every three years, each symposium has led to innovative approaches to wild trout management.
Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) recently secured a twenty-year ban on new mining projects in an ecologically and economically critical region in Southwest Oregon. The areas protected include the watershed of the National Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith River in Oregon, the watershed of Rough and Ready Creek (an eligible Wild and Scenic River and tributary to the National Wild and Scenic Illinois and Rogue rivers), as well as 17 miles of the National Wild and Scenic Chetco River. These rivers are known for their wild salmon and steelhead populations, and provide vital economic, recreational and natural resources to the area.
In 2017, the California State Water Resources Control Board will make a decision that will fundamentally affect rivers and streams that California anglers know and love. This decision could make or break California’s salmon fisheries and the multi-billion dollar commercial and recreational angling economy they support.
Even under the proposed new standards, two-thirds of the natural flow of the Merced, Tuolumne, and Stanislaus Rivers would still be diverted, mainly for agriculture.
Truth is often hard to hear. The truth is that demand for water far exceeds supply in California—and that fish species, in particular, have been shouldering most of the burden of providing water for California, for decades. To keep some of our state’s unique natural heritage alive, we must better balance the allocation of this precious limited resource.
Please help us make sure the water board knows that the angling community unequivocally supports boosting flow standards for the lower San Joaquin River watershed, and reserving at least 40 percent of unimpaired flow for environmental needs.
Read Chandra Ferrari's Blog for the full story.
This December ARC signed a Purchase Agreement to acquire another 5,247 acres of Blue Oak woodland savanna south of El Dorado and west of Highway 49. In 2013-14, ARC acquired a 2,139 acre portion of this ranch fronting the Main Fork of the Cosumnes River. The acquisition of this contiguous landscape would create the largest, contiguous block of protected Blue Oak Woodland in El Dorado County - a Preserve of over 7,385 acres and help preserve the quantity and quality of water flowing downstream to the San Francisco Bay Delta.
Alan Ehrgot of the American River Conservancy reports the acquisition of 10,115 acres adjacent to the Granite Chief Wilderness and the restoration of 3,323 acres. The ARC intends to donate these properties to the Tahoe National Forest as part of the Granite Chief Wilderness area. ARC deserves recognition and congratulations for conceiving, fund raising and completion of these acts in only 3 years.
The Wild Steelhead Coalition, Patagonia, and award-winning filmmaker Shane Anderson have teamed up to produce a new film series called Steelhead Country. The six-episode series explores the rise and fall of angling for wild steelhead in Washington State – from the heydey of steelheading on the Puyallup River to the litany of legendary rivers that are now closed throughout Puget Sound, including the mighty Skagit. Follow along as Steelhead Country explores the past, present, and hopeful future for this iconic species. If you have seen Rivers of a Lost Coast this film drives the point home.
In 2006, the Pajaro River on California’s central coast came out of obscurity to make national headlines—for the wrong reason: it was named the most endangered river in America.
Historically, the Pajaro was one of the most productive steelhead streams in this region. Old-timers in Watsonville and other local communities recall chromers stacked like cordwood in the holding water as they came in after winter storms blew open the sandbars at the river mouths.
But water diversions, widespread habitat loss and degradation, and drought reduced this river’s once robust run of wild steelhead to a shadow of its former self.
Local fish advocates, led by the indefatigable Herman Garcia and his group Coastal Habitat Education and Environmental Restoration (CHEER), sprang into action. By 2006, Garcia and CHEER already had been working for a decade to keep the Pajaro’s dwindling steelhead run alive, through fish rescues and work with landowners to restore aquatic and riparian habitat. Read the Full Story
Yeti Presents: Kamchatka Steelhead Project is a film from Felt Soul Media and Yeti Coolers about what happens when you enlist fly-fishermen to help on a scientific quest to study and preserve one of the world's last great steelhead populations. As Grayson Schaffer reported in the August Issue of Outside, the Kamchatka Steelhead Project is a U.S.-Russia partnership that monitors the steelhead population through catch and release fishing, and over its lifetime has produced an incredible body of research on the fish in their native habitat. Watch to get a sense of why the area and the fish are so special, and worth saving. View the Film