Since our founding in 1965, Flycasters has always had very active fishery conservation activities. We have successfully managed and funded a number significant local fisheries restoration projects. Working though the Northern California Council of the Federation of Fly fishers (NCCFFF). we have projected our voice to statewide and national issues of concern for all species of fish and all classes of waters. By providing our membership the vehicle to work their way up through the ranks of the FFF, Flycasters have assumed FFF committee, directorship, and officer positions that have resulted in our participation in the available broad coalitions with all the others fishery conservation groups in areas such as: Bay-Delta Issues, State Water Resources, Hydropower, Golden Trout Restoration, and more.
Marty Seldon Memorial Conservation Fund Donations
The following are organizations which the Conservation Committee has agreed to support with Flycasters conservation funds.
- The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
For many years, TNC has worked to protect lands for wildlife including the McCloud River Preserve which is one California’s best wild trout waters. TNC has supported research work conducted by NOAA-NMFS biologist including the Pajaro River watershed. www.tnccalifornia.org
- California Trout (Cal Trout)
Cal Trout is an organization working in all areas of the state to protect and restore our fisheries. One of the newest projects is the restoration of Hat Creek. Another is the tagging of trout in the Fall River to track the movement of fish in the watershed. www.caltrout.org
- Russian River Wild Steelhead Society (RRWSS)
RRWSS completed the first year on a 5 year project to place large Redwood root wads in several location throughout the main stem of the Russian River. They need another $40,000 over the next 4 years from donations to complete the project. www.rrwss.org
- Fall River Conservancy (FRC)
FRC has two major problems which need to be addressed to restore the river. 1) Sedimentation in the upper river, 2) Eurasian Water Milfoil aquatic plant in the lower river. Another project just begun in conjunction with Cal Trout is the Rainbow trout PIT tagging program. www.fallriverconservancy.org
- Beyond Searsville Dam (Friends of the River)
BSD is working with Friends of the River in the effort to get Stanford University to comply with laws requiring fish passage and flow below the almost 100 year old dam on San Francisquito Creek on Stanford property. Since Stanford has not been responsive and taken any action to comply, a law suit has been filed. In the meantime, Stanford has created an internal task force to study the options for dealing with the problematic dam. www.beyondsearsvilledam.org
- California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA)
Bill Jennings is leading the legal battles to protect our fish. As a lawyer, Bill Jennings along with Chris Shutes have been working using the legal process to win the fights over water flows and water quality, fish passage about dams, etc. This organization has been an effective advocate for sport fishing and well as commercial fishing. http://calsport.org
CalTrout Awarded $650,000 Grant To Restore California’s Iconic Hat Creek Fishery
Hat Creek restoration funded, work set to begin in 2013
California’s once-productive Hat Creek fishery has suffered the last two decades, and while we outlined the issues and our hopes for restoration in this prior article (and this video), we’re happy to announce those hopes are on the verge of becoming reality.
CalTrout was recently awarded a $650,000 grant by the California Natural Resources Agency to restore fish habitat and create new recreational opportunities on Hat Creek.
Drew Braugh, Conservation Manager of CalTrout’s Mt. Shasta office accepts a check from John Laird.
While some of the funds will be used to improve access, the grant is aimed at improving Hat Creek’s habitat and restoring its once-sizable native fish populations.
“The slow deterioration of conditions in Hat Creek brought on by a combination of unrelated issues, including cattle grazing and burrowing by non-native muskrats, have created crisis conditions for trout,” said Drew Braugh, Conservation Manager of California Trout’s Mt. Shasta Regional Office. “The funds secured today will go a long way toward creating habitat in which these native fish can thrive.”
Recent studies suggest Hat Creek still has the ability to produce big trout, but the lack of cover and habitat makes those populations vulnerable.
CalTrout outlined a preliminary recovery plan in an earlier article, and while we’re finalizing the restoration plans, depositing large woody debris in Hat Creek — to slow flows, provide cover for bugs and fish, and promote the growth of aquatic vegetation — is still central to the recovery of Hat Creek’s native rainbow trout, which used to be supported by massive aquatic weedbeds and invertebrate populations.
In addition to financial support from the Natural Resources Agency, California Trout has worked closely with PG&E, which owns the land, the California Department of Fish and Game, and the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences to develop and implement a feasible and scientifically sound restoration plan for Hat Creek.
“Hat Creek is truly at the heart of our mission to protect and restore wild trout and their waters,” said California Trout Executive Director Jeff Thompson. “We have brought wild trout populations back from dire straits in this creek before, and we can do it again.”
We’re excited. This grant represents the fruition of a lot of hard work on the part of CalTrout staff. And we’re sure that — for Hat Creek and California’s fishermen — the best is yet to come.
We’ll provide you with more information about Hat Creek’s restoration as it becomes available.
Summit on Saving Wild Pacific Salmon
US Congresswomen Jackie Speier in conjunction with US Congressman Mike Thompson sponsored a “Salmon Summit” at Maverick’s Lodge in Half Moon Bay, CA on Saturday, December 4. The meeting was attended by commercial fishermen, marina owners, salmon wholesalers, tackle shops, tackle manufactures and environmental and conservation representatives from government as well as NGO’s. Those attending were strongly interested in the devastating impact caused by the severe decline in Pacific Salmon populations and the subsequent three year closure of the commercial and sportfishing seasons. It is estimated that the full recovery of the Central Valley Chinook Salmon runs could recover the 94,000 jobs and the $5.7 billion in lost annual revenue for the state.
Agenda speakers included Christina Swanson, Executive Director of The Bay Institute, Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Association, Dick Pool, owner of Pro-Troll Fishing Products and administrator of Water4 Fish, a representative of the Dept of Water Resources (DWR), a representative of the National Marine Fisheries Service, a representative of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and several others involved with fishing and businesses supporting the salmon industry. Each speaker talked about actions being taken and actions which needed to be taken to restore the salmon populations. The most important issue which has not been fully addressed by people having control over water deliveries, is the amount of water and the timing of the flow from the Delta through the pumps moving the water south to the Westlands Water District and the agricultural businesses on the west side of the San Juaquin Valley. The representatives of the California DWR and the BLM were in favor of building a “peripheral conveyance” to deliver water south and to project Salmon and the Delta ecosystem. Fishing and environmental groups feel a “peripheral conveyance” would only allow agricultural interests to take more water from northern California leaving less water for fish.
At the conclusion of the meeting, there seemed to be a sense of anger and frustration with the lack of progress being made to restore the Salmon fisheries. Someone made a comparison between the environmental damage done by Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the damage done by excessive exports of water from the Delta to Westlands Water District and the large agriculture businesses in the San Juaquin Valley. The damage to Salmon industry just doesn’t get the same attention as the Gulf of Mexico.
At the end of the three hour meeting, Jackie Speier was impressed with the attendance and the speakers and all of the issues brought to her attention. Both members of the House of Representatives expressed a strong desire to do whatever they could do and to “follow the science” in the decision making process in order to make things right for the Salmon.
Flycasters members have asked what they can do to help the salmon recovery. I would say stay informed by going to the web sites of the organizations involved in working toward a solution to this big problem such as Salmon Water Now (www.salmonwaternow.org), California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA, www.calsport.org), Environmental Water Caucus (www.ewccalifornia.org), Restore the Delta (www.restorethedelta.org), The Bay Institute (www.bay.org), Water4Fish (www.water4fish.org), and even Westlands Water District (www.westlandswater.org.) And if you have time write letters to your government representatives to voice your support for efforts to restore Salmon to California.
Flycasters Conservation Committee Co-chairman
ENVIRONMENTAL CAUCUS PRESENTS UNIQUE ALTERNATIVE
TO THE DELTA STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL
The Environmental Water Caucus (EWC), a group of 27 environmental, environmental justice and native American tribes, presented a ground-breaking series of proposals to the Delta Stewardship Council, the newly-formed state agency that is charged with finding a balance between water reliability and Bay-Delta environmental recovery.
The caucus provided a series of recommendations on water that included an aggressive statewide water conservation program that can reduce water use by 8 million acre feet annually, the retirement of toxic farmlands that use almost 4 million acre feet of water per year, and paired their recommendations with a reduction of Delta pumping that will help restore the Bay-Delta ecology and fisheries. The Caucus recommendations have been boosted by the State Water Resources Control Board’s recent report which concluded that more water must be allowed to flow through the Bay-Delta in order to protect the health and public resources of this critically important watershed.
The recommendations by the Caucus were presented as an alternative to the pending proposals by another group, the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP). That plan will construct either a tunnel under the Bay-Delta or a canal around the Delta. Dr. Mark Rockwell, representing the fishing community for EWC said, “This BDCP plan will continue the destructive water extractions from the Delta and block any hope of recovery for fisheries and the Delta environment. We have to find a new way to manage water that does not involve reliance on the Delta. The recently published EWC report, California Water Solutions Now, accomplishes this goal.”
For many years, environmentalists have worked continuously to increase the amount of water flowing through the Delta and to San Francisco Bay in order to restore and protect the health of the estuary. Large water contractors south of the Delta have fought just as incessantly to increase the amount of water pumped through the Delta in order to irrigate farms and accommodate a growing population. It’s a classic California water battle and seems to have no end. David Nesmith, EWC coordinator, says, “This battle for water must end if we are to ever achieve a balance between the State’s need for water, and our desire to have a healthy environment and save our fisheries.”
Nick Di Croce, long time water advocate and EWC consultant says, “The Environmental Water Caucus has presented this alternative proposal that stresses water use reductions and avoids the multiple billions of dollars that would be needed to construct a major tunnel or canal through the Delta. It is a non-structural alternative (no surface storage or new Delta conveyance) that can meet the needs of our growing population at least until 2050.”
Using the Strategic Goals and Recommendations from the Environmental Water Caucus’ report, the Caucus showed in their presentation how the actions called for in the report will save or reduce enough water consumption to allow the Delta exports to be reduced, in keeping with the State Water Board’s report on Delta flows. “In the same way that California can no longer just continue to build highways to accommodate our population growth, we must find different kinds of technological and societal solutions to protect our most valuable, limited and life-giving resource: water”, said Michael Jackson, EWC steering committee member.
The Caucus closed their proposal by challenging the Delta Stewardship Council to analyze their proposal as one of the alternatives to be considered in the future Delta Plan. Additionally, they proposed a council workgroup to further develop the recommendations in the EWC report, and to bring together people from all sides to discuss how this can be implemented.
David Nesmith, Facilitator, Environmental Water Caucus
Nick Di Croce, Lead Author: California Water Solutions Now
Mike Jackson, California Water Impact Network
Jonas Minton, Planning and Conservation League
Mark Rockwell, Northern California Council, Federation of Fly Fisherssummerhillfarmpv@aol.com, 530-432-0100