Amelia Parreira, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A long-sought permit recently obtained by United Anglers of Casa Grande will allow the organization to rescue fish directly from Petaluma’s watershed, which will help save the dwindling local steelhead trout population and allow its student-run hatchery to operate year-round.
The organization, which this year celebrates 40 years of local environmental conservation and fish population restoration, was granted the federal permit this summer following a yearlong review process.
Fish rescued by United Anglers from the local watershed will be transferred to the organization’s state-of-the-art hatchery — California’s only high school-run fish rehabilitation program — before being released back to their natural habitat.
“Our focus has always been nearby Adobe Creek and the steelhead trout in this watershed,” said Dan Hubacher, who has run the organization since the retiring of its founder, Tom Furrer, in 2011. “And I remember as a student, as an alumni of the program, I remember sitting here and Mr. Furrer saying, ‘We can’t touch these fish. The permit won’t allow us.’”
Hubacher said it’s surreal to think about how far the group has come in its efforts over the years.
“If we can get multiple locations where we can find fish, we can bring them in (and) can hopefully jump start this population,” he said. “Through the last couple of years, not only are we not seeing adults, which is alarming, but we’re not seeing juveniles.
Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/student-run-organization-gets-permit-to-help-dwindling-trout-population/
Tara Duggan, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
During fifth period at Petaluma’s Casa Grande High School last week, students scooped tiny, wriggling fish out of a tank.
They weren’t dealing with classroom pets. Instead, the 17-year-olds were taking care of some the state’s last remaining coho salmon at a fish hatchery right on the school’s campus. Last month, wildlife officials moved around 4,000 endangered coho to the school’s cool, indoor tanks after conditions at a hatchery in nearby Lake Sonoma became unhealthy because of the drought. The high school will receive an additional 650 endangered coho trucked in from Santa Cruz in the coming weeks.
Casa Grande students usually raise steelhead trout native to the local watershed, donated by other hatcheries as a learning experience. But this unprecedented drought year is the first time the school has ever rescued a federally endangered species with nowhere else to go.
“We have this opportunity to save coho salmon, to see that we can do it, if people put their minds to it,” said Cathryn Carlson, 17, president of a nonprofit called United Anglers of Casa Grande, which runs the hatchery. Carlson, who goes by Kate, had just put on boots and waders before hopping into one tank’s chest-deep water to scrub its windows.
In some ways, the timing couldn’t be better for students starved for in-person instruction after being away from the classroom for almost 17 months.
Read more at https://www.sfchronicle.com/california/article/Bay-Area-high-school-rescues-4-000-endangered-16486539.php#photo-21508817
Guy Kovner, PRESS DEMOCRAT
As Lake Sonoma plummeted to record low levels this summer, the water has warmed enough to threaten the coho salmon raised in the state hatchery at the base of its 319-foot dam northwest of Healdsburg.
With signs of disease appearing in the juvenile coho, an endangered species in the Russian River, federal biologists took an unprecedented step in the local watershed: trucking about 2,000 fish nearly 50 miles south to a student-operated hatchery at Casa Grande High School in Petaluma.
“They’re welcome here,” Dan Hubacker, a science teacher and director of the school’s 38-year-old United Anglers program, said after the final load of 92 fish arrived Tuesday afternoon. “We’re here to help.”
The remarkable strategy comes during a severe statewide drought and escalating climate change that has crimped water supplies to North Bay farms and cities and caused rural wells to run dry.
Read more at https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/news/thousands-of-endangered-coho-salmon-moved-from-lake-sonoma-hatchery-amid-ri/