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.
THE SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTE
A year has gone by since the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) Board of Directors (County Supervisors) authorized the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Estuary Project, a plan to construct a channel to keep salt water from intruding into the Estuary, but allow fresh water to seep out. The purpose was to raise fresh water levels in the estuary lagoon to benefit the growth of juvenile steelhead fish preparing for their ocean sojurn.
At that Board meeting in mid-August of 2011, representatives of National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) made threatening statements to the Board of Supervisors, to the effect that they would be in violation of the Endangered Species Act if they did not approve the project, implying something horrific would happen if they did not approve the EIR. They also strongly implied that anyone else trying to stop the project would also be in violation. Unfortunately, the Biological Opinion, requiring both the Estuary Project and Fish Flow Project (Low Flow) became federal law without any public environmental review; California Environmental Law is circumvented by the Endangered Species Act.
Nevertheless, RRWPC filed a lawsuit 30 days later challenging the decision, mainly because they had split the Estuary Project EIR off from the Fish Flow Project EIR, claiming that the lowering of flows was separate from the management of the Estuary. We challenged water quality and recreational impacts repeatedly, but were faced with the fact that the “Fish Flow Project EIR” would address many of the issues we felt were lacking in this first EIR and the new EIR would be released before our case made it to court.
via Russian River at Jenner Estuary Project Lawsuit Settled.
San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, SFGATE.COM
California salmon and salmon fishermen won in federal court Friday when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the federal water project is obliged to provide enough water to double the salmon population. You can read the decision here.
Under the ruling, only surplus water from the bay-delta water system can be delivered to water users in the San Joaquin Valley, not water from the 800,000 acre-foot allotment promised to fish under a 1992 federal law.
for more, see Salmon win in 9th circuit court | Opinion Shop | an SFGate.com blog.