Jared Huffman, SFGATE
In "Dirty Harry," Clint Eastwood memorably asked, do you "feel lucky?" It made for great theater, but it’s no way to manage North Coast salmon. Unfortunately, that’s been the policy of the U.S. Department of Interior toward the near-record run of chinook salmon that is migrating up the Trinity and Klamath rivers. Instead of a comprehensive strategy to fulfill its duty to protect this iconic fishery, the department is rolling the dice. So far, the salmon have been lucky.
A decade ago, they were not so lucky. In 2002, the same conditions we are experiencing this year – large salmon returns, a dry year, and over-allocated Klamath River water unable to satisfy all competing needs – produced a massive fish kill. Insufficient river flows brought death to thousands of salmon and economic disaster for tribes, fishermen, and communities up and down the West Coast.
via For Northern California rivers, luck is not a plan – SFGate.
Derek Moore, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The recent discovery of hundreds of young coho salmon in a tributary of the Russian River near Jenner is being hailed by biologists as a breakthrough in the decade-long effort to restore the critical habitat and nurse the endangered fish back to health.
Approximately 450 coho were counted in the upper reaches of Willow Creek this summer, an astounding number given that virtually none of the fish have been seen in the waterway for the better part of two decades.
Run-off from logging and farming, coupled with the end of dredging efforts that were aimed at preventing road flooding, had turned the nearly-nine mile waterway flowing from Coleman Valley to the Jenner estuary into a meandering mess.
via Discovery of young coho salmon in Russian River tributary heralded | The Press Democrat.
Felicity Barringer, THE NEW YORK TIMES
ARCATA, Calif. — It took the death of a small, rare member of the weasel family to focus the attention of Northern California’s marijuana growers on the impact that their huge and expanding activities were having on the environment.
The animal, a Pacific fisher, had been poisoned by an anticoagulant in rat poisons like d-Con. Since then, six other poisoned fishers have been found. Two endangered spotted owls tested positive. Mourad W. Gabriel, a scientist at the University of California, Davis, concluded that the contamination began when marijuana growers in deep forests spread d-Con to protect their plants from wood rats.
via Marijuana Crops in California Threaten Forests and Wildlife – NYTimes.com.
Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Projects by private landowners to boost salmon and other fish populations in North Coast streams are set to receive an additional $2 million this year from an arm of the federal government.
Federal and local officials on Friday announced the commitment of new grant money for six major river basins stretching from Sonoma County — and including the Russian River — to Eureka, in Humboldt County.
Development, dams, logging and water diversions for farms and cities have harmed the region’s once-bountiful salmon and steelhead runs, with several species now listed as endangered or threatened.
via Projects to restore fish habitat get $2 million federal boost | PressDemocrat.com.
Vesta Copestakes, SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTE
Natural Resources Conservation Service NRCS in California and the Gold Ridge and Sotoyome Resource Conservation Districts have teamed up with a number of local government agencies, nonprofit groups, agribusinesses and landowners to improve fish habitat in five northern California watersheds. The goal is to increase salmonid populations while also sustaining productive agricultural operations. California is one of three western states included in this program.
James Gore, NRCS Assistant Chief from Washington, D.C., attended a special event in Camp Meeker to provide information on the programs during a walking tour of the Dutch Bill Creek restoration project that has been in process since 2009. This work included removing an old fish barrier dam, constructing a new pedestrian bridge, installing rock wiers for fish migration, and other stream and habitat restoration efforts.
via Dutch Bill Creek Fish Habitat Restoration Funding.
Keri Brenner, PETALUMA PATCH.COM
After more than 10 years of researching a “biological opinion” about the best way and best spot to save the last remaining coho salmon and steelhead trout in the Russian River watershed, engineers and officials on Wednesday broke ground on a pilot project along Dry Creek north of Healdsburg that they hope will do the job.
“This is the strongest and the last stronghold for this population [of fish],” said Mike Dillabough, chief of operations and readiness at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “By recreating the habitat for the fish, they’ll be able to restore the population naturally.”
via Feds, State, Sonoma County Break Ground on $1.8M Dry Creek Rescue Plan for Last Remaining Coho Salmon – Petaluma, CA Patch.
Clark Mason, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
An ambitious effort to save fish in the Russian River watershed took another step forward this week with ground-breaking of a habitat restoration project along Dry Creek.
The work just below Warm Springs Dam on the Russian Rivet tributary is intended to provide refuge for endangered Coho salmon and threatened Steelhead, native fish that require pockets of slow-moving water to survive.
via Dry Creek ‘fishway’ project aims to restore salmon habitat | PressDemocrat.com.
Glenda Anderson & Cathy Bussewitz, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A Mendocino County judge on Wednesday overturned controversial state water rules designed to regulate how grape growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties divert water from the Russian River. Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman declared the law to be “constitutionally void” and “invalid.”“There is not substantial evidence in the record to show the regulation, as enacted, is necessary,” she said.
The regulations were aimed at preventing endangered and threatened fish from becoming stranded and dying when farmers take water from the river to protect their crops from frost. Grape growers spray water on the vines to form a protective shield of ice when temperatures fall below freezing
via Mendocino County judge tosses out states frost-protection rules | PressDemocrat.com.
by Brett Wilkison, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A Sonoma County judge has struck down the approval for a controversial rock quarry west of Cotati, saying key parts of the environmental impact report were inadequate. The final ruling, issued Thursday by Judge Elliot Daum, could derail the project by requiring the county and quarry developer John Barella to conduct a new environmental report, or overhaul large parts of the existing one.
via Sonoma County judge strikes down Roblar Road quarry OK | PressDemocrat.com.
by Alastair Bland, NORTH BAY BOHEMIAN
Chinook salmon are abundant this year in one of the best seasons in local fishing memory, with sport and commercial fishermen reeling in easy boatloads of the most prized food and game fish on the Pacific Coast.
Still, a local conservation group warns that all this could change if state officials in Sacramento, now plotting the near future of California’s water-development infrastructure, approve and build a large canal intended to deliver Sacramento River water to Southern California.
via Delta Blues | News | North Bay Bohemian.