Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , Leave a comment on Stuart Creek work in Sonoma Valley to remove barriers for steelhead

Stuart Creek work in Sonoma Valley to remove barriers for steelhead

Eloísa Ruano González, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Steelhead trout once returned in strong numbers to Sonoma Valley from the ocean and San Pablo Bay, swimming up Sonoma Creek to the sheltered waters of Stuart Creek, an ideal stream for spawning and rearing with its rocky bed and abundance of aquatic vegetation and insects.
For decades though, it’s been rare to spot steelhead upstream in the creek near Glen Ellen. Man-made barriers and steep drop-offs formed by erosion have blocked their access, further imperiling a fish that has disappeared from much of its former range on the North Coast.
However, work is underway to restore a section of Stuart Creek in hopes of bringing back its once sizable steelhead run.
via Creek work in Sonoma Valley to remove barriers | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , Leave a comment on Unpaving the way for steelhead in Stuart Creek

Unpaving the way for steelhead in Stuart Creek

Sonoma Land Trust newsletter
After three years of planning and fundraising, the concrete fish barrier (see above right) on Stuart Creek at Stuart Creek Run in Glen Ellen has been demolished! And the two additional barriers that we discovered after purchasing the property in 2011 will soon follow the same fate so that we can restore the creek’s historic steelhead run.
concrete dam on Stuart Creek

Before restoration (photo Sonoma Land Trust).

Removing all three barriers is essential to improving juvenile and adult steelhead passage, according to stewardship project manager Tony Nelson, to give the fish access to more than two miles of high-quality spawning and rearing habitat. Next week, our contractor will begin constructing a series of five 40-foot-long chutes and 20-foot-long pools at this site to provide fish with easier passage and places to rest. Look forward to reading more about this exciting project in our fall newsletter.
via Sonoma Land Trust Today…to protect the land forever.

Posted on Categories Local Organizations, Water, WildlifeTags , , Leave a comment on $700K grant to remove Stuart Creek fish barriers

$700K grant to remove Stuart Creek fish barriers

Report, SONOMA INDEX-TRIBUNE

Sonoma Land Trust has been awarded a $691,644 grant from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP).

The purpose of this funding, together with a planning grant from the California State Coastal Conservancy in 2013, is to enable the removal of three barriers to the passage of steelhead on Stuart Creek as it flows through Glen Ellen to allow the fish access to critical spawning and nursery grounds.

In 2011, Sonoma Land Trust purchased three-and-a-half acres near the intersection of Highway 12 and Arnold Drive that includes a one-third-mile stretch of Stuart Creek. Stuart Creek is a major tributary of Sonoma Creek, which once supported the second largest steelhead trout run among Bay Area streams. However, most of the fish habitat in the Stuart Creek watershed has been largely inaccessible to threatened steelhead trout for decades because of the barriers.

Removing them and reestablishing the creek’s historic fish run has been identified by the Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration as one of the highest priorities for recovering steelhead in the Bay Area – and is the goal toward which Sonoma Land Trust has been working since acquiring the property it subsequently named “Stuart Creek Run.”

via Sonoma Index-Tribune | Sonoma News, Entertainment, Sports, Real Estate, Events, Photos, Sonoma, CA.

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , , , Leave a comment on California bans fishing on Russian River amid drought

California bans fishing on Russian River amid drought

Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to shut down the Russian River to fishing in hopes of creating more favorable conditions for at-risk salmon and wild steelhead struggling months behind schedule to get upstream to spawn.

The move follows a recommendation made public last week by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, which won widespread support from the angling community and environmentalists for the move.

It affects the main stem of the river from Jenner to the confluence with the river’s east fork, north of Ukiah. The closure will remain in place through April 30, the tail end of the main spawning season.

via California bans fishing on Russian River amid drought | The Press Democrat.

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , , , Leave a comment on Sonoma County Biological Opinion Annual UPDATE

Sonoma County Biological Opinion Annual UPDATE

Vesta Copestakes, SONOMA COUNTY GAZETTE

I find this subject fascinating. I fervently believe that all life systems are connected and that we are responsible for taking care of the home in which we live. Here in Sonoma County water is on the top of our list of environmental topics because we (usually) get rain 50% of the year and sun the other 50%. That has an impact on how we use, preserve and protect our water resources. 

As Anne Maurice stated in her public comment at the update hearing January 17th, we don’t live as if water is scarce 50% of the year. We grow crops when there is no rain to feed them. We plant lawns because we came from places where lawns made sense. We WASTE water on a daily basis.

So what does the Biological Opinion have to do with all of this?

It’s about water and the fish that live in it because they are our “Canary in the Coal Mine” for us. As they thrive or die, so do we.

via Sonoma County Biological Opinion Annual UPDATE.

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , , , Leave a comment on Public Meeting on 15-Year Russian River Plan

Public Meeting on 15-Year Russian River Plan

SONOMA COUNTY WATER AGENCY
A 15-year blueprint to help restore endangered and threatened fish to the Russian River watershed, while maintaining the region’s primary water supply, is the subject of an upcoming meeting. On Friday, January 17th the Public Policy Facilitating Committee (PPFC) will meet for an annual update on the Russian River Biological Opinion (meeting details below).
The Biological Opinion was released by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in September 2008. This 15-year plan requires the Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to modify Russian River water supply and flood control operations to prevent harm to endangered coho salmon and threatened steelhead trout. The PPFC – comprised of elected and appointed officials from public agencies throughout the region – meets annually to review progress.
“The Water Agency and its partners have made a lot of progress. Studies have revealed new information about how fish live in the Russian River estuary, the first mile of the six-mile Dry Creek Habitat Enhancement Project is well underway and in November, we released young coho into newly created habitat,” said PPFC Chairman Efren Carrillo, a Water Agency Director and a member of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “It’s exciting to see the pieces coming together and this meeting is a chance to highlight the successes as well as understand the challenges moving forward.”
The Biological Opinion requirements include reducing minimum summertime flows in the Russian River and Dry Creek; changing the way the sandbar is breached at the estuary between May 15 and October 15; enhancing habitat in Dry Creek; and fish monitoring. Topics to be covered on January 17 include a review of a study on invertebrates that live in the estuary (a primary source of food for steelhead before they enter the ocean), the results of extensive fish surveys and the construction of large habitat enhancement projects in Dry Creek. The public will have an opportunity to comment.
Meeting Details
DATE: Friday, January 17
TIME: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Sonoma County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 575 Administration Drive, Santa Rosa
For additional information, please contact Pam Kuhn, (707) 547-1930 or pamela.kuhn@scwa.ca.gov. Learn more about the Russian River Biological Opinion at www.sonomacountywater.org/rrifr.

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , , Leave a comment on Viewpoints: Why I’m still confused about the proposed tunnels in the Delta

Viewpoints: Why I’m still confused about the proposed tunnels in the Delta

Peter Gleick, THE SACRAMENTO BEE

I and my colleagues at the Pacific Institute have worked on California water issues for more than a quarter of a century. It is therefore no surprise that we get asked on a regular basis by friends, journalists and colleagues what we think about the efforts underway to resolve the problems of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and in particular, about the proposed massive tunnel project to divert water from the Sacramento River to the conveyance aqueducts south of the Delta.

The purpose of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan proposals, ostensibly, is to resolve the joint problems of 1. ensuring reliable water supplies south of the Delta, and 2. restoring the damaged ecosystems and fisheries damaged by the current design and operation of water infrastructure. These are supposed to be “co-equal” goals. Will the new proposals achieve this? I don’t know what to think, because I cannot get the critical information necessary to make an informed judgment. Here are some questions that should have been answered long ago:

via Viewpoints: Why I’m still confused about the proposed tunnels in the Delta – Viewpoints – The Sacramento Bee.

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , , , Leave a comment on Feds, State, Sonoma County Break Ground on $1.8M Dry Creek Rescue Plan for Last Remaining Coho Salmon

Feds, State, Sonoma County Break Ground on $1.8M Dry Creek Rescue Plan for Last Remaining Coho Salmon

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.

Posted on Categories Water, WildlifeTags , , Leave a comment on Steelhead trout lose out when water is low in wine country

Steelhead trout lose out when water is low in wine country

by Sarah Yang, UC BERKELEY NEWS CENTER
The competition between farmers and fish for precious water in California is intensifying in wine country, suggests a new study by biologists at the University of California, Berkeley. Juvenile steelhead trout are hit hard when water levels are low.
The findings, published in the May issue of the journal Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, link higher death rates for threatened juvenile steelhead trout with low water levels in the summer and the amount of vineyard acreage upstream.
via Steelhead trout lose out when water is low in wine country.