Monday, November 1, 2010

Golden West Women Flyfishers -- Making a Difference

Golden West Women Flyfishers (GWWF) is involved or represented in the following list of fishery issues/actions. These are very important fishery issues in which I actively represent GWWF on a volunteer basis, and I
would like to stress that often, we are the leading or only fly fishing club involved.

1) Alameda Creek Barrier Removal - working with the NCCFFF to advocate the removal of a concrete weir which is a serious passage barrier for endangered steelhead. We have been involved in this issue for several years and the major accomplishment has been to identify the owner of the barrier (SF Public Utilities Commission) and to get them to take responsibility. Currently, they are accessing the stability of the structure and will consider it's removal which would contribute to the overall movement of passage barrier removal in this watershed which would be a landmark project.

2) Involved in the Butte Creek hydropower relicensing in order to support the protection and restoration of Spring Run Chinook Salmon, the last viable CA population of these endangered fish. These fish have been targeted to be used in the restoration of the San Joaquin River salmon.

3) GWWF is a party to the FERC relicensings of 3 dams on the lower Merced River. Two dams are owned by the Merced Irrigation District and one dam is owned by PG&E. GWWF's involvement along with a coalition of other conservation groups(Calif. Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Friends of the River, Merced Conservation Group, Trout Unlimited, American Rivers) to improve river conditions for fall run chinook salmon as well as Central Valley Steelhead which are listed as endangered. We are also working with resource agencies (NMFS, DFG, F&W Service and the Calif. Water Board) to advocate fish passage above the dams so that salmon and steelhead can actually once again find their way home to Yosemite National Park.

4) GWWF has been deeply involved and a leader in issues related to the Tuolumne River. We worked with other conservation groups to deter the SF Water Dept from increasing diversions from the Upper Tuolumne. On the lower Tuolumne, GWWF has been a leader in advocating resource agency  involvement and responsibility for the endangered Central Vally Steelhead and the fall run chinook salmon in this river which does not receive adequate flows. GWWF went to Washington DC as well as Sacramento for a special FERC proceeding to gain emergency flows into the lower Tuolumne because of the crashing fish populations. We were the only FF group involved in that.

Currently we are involved in the FERC relicensing of the Don Pedro dam on the lower Tuolumne and are participating in the coalition of conservation organizations which are advocating restoration and better conditions for the fish. I might as well just bluntly state that I, acting as GWWF conservation chair, was the one, from my kitchen table, re-engaged the fisheries agencies to do their job and embrace the importance of these dismal fish populations as well as re-engage the conservation groups that were  involved in the past and were ready to give up as well as add some new conservation partners.


5) GWWF was the sole FF club to help stop a hydropower project up in Modoc County, on the South
Fork of the Pit River which would have put Red Band Trout at serious risk.

6) GWWF was a leader in helping to stop an ineffective logging plan in the Russian River Watershed (Sheephouse Creek) which would have put endangered coho salmon at risk. We were the only FF club involved.

7) GWWF has had members help with fish rescues on Alameda Creek, helped with fin clipping of coho salmon at the Monterey Bay Salmon and Steelhead Project and regularly sends out alerts and volunteer opportunities for fish.

GWWF regularly participates in the Healdsburg Wild Steelhead Festival as well at the Stanislaus Salmon Festival and has been a presenter/participant./supporter of the Salmonid Restoration Restoration  Federation (the first and only fly club outside of the the NCCFFF who joined in after us)

Overall, GWWF is highly respected and recognized by the National Marine Fishers Service, the CA
Dept of Fish and GAme, and the Fish and Wildlife Service for our commitment and work to restore and protect the native fish of California.

Visit gwwf.org for more information.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

StriperFest 2010 November 6th

The 2010 Dan Blanton Bulletin Board Striperfest and BBQ will be on Saturday, November 6, 2010.

This event is a very important fundraiser to help protect Striped Bass and there is a pending lawsuit to brought about by those water users and irrigation districts who would like to see stripers gone.

NCCFFF is helping to fund the cost of this legal battle. The event is held on the top deck of the Sugar Barge Marina on Bethel Island. Fish early and then come to the great party. Proceeds are administered by the NCCFFF Bay Delta Committee and are tax deductible.

Watch http://www.danblanton.com/bulletin.php for further details. If you wish to purchase raffle tickets (you don’t need to be present to win) you may purchase tickets for offsite participation by mailing a check to Marcus Schroers at the address below. He will personally write your name on every ticket you purchase, so that they know you won and put your prize aside.

Tickets:
$100 - 6 tickets
$200 - 15 tickets
$500 - 40 tickets
$1000 – 100 tickets

Marcus L. Schroers
3750 Joan Ave
Concord, CA. 94521-2538

South Yuba River Citizen’s League Salmon Viewing Tours in Oct. & Nov.

South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL) is once again having their salmon tours via a gentle raft float on the lower Yuba River. Dates for the trips are October 23rd and November 6th and 13th.

You will actually see salmon spawning on this trip. For more information, go to yubariver.org.

Tuolumne River Trust Canoe Trips During October

The Tuolumne River Trust will be will be offering canoe trips every weekend starting the first week in October and there are four types of canoe trips this year:
  • 1/2 Day Family Floats
  • Introduction to Canoeing
  • Exploring the Parkway
  • Paddle with the Salmon.
Each of these trips will be educational and fun. The cost for the canoe trips are $60 for adults. TRT members get a 25% discount. Children 12-17 pay $35. Lunch and river equipment are included in the price. The 1/2 Day Floats are $30 per person.

The dates of these trips are as follows:
  • 1/2 Day Family Floats: October 2 and 17
  • Introduction to Canoeing: October 10 and 24
  • Exploring the Parkway: October 3, 9, 16, and 23
  • Paddle with the Salmon: October 30, 31, November 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, and 28
For additional trip information, please visit www.tuolumne.org. You also can contact Carlos Leonzo carlos@tuolumne.org — with any questions or to reserve a spot on one of the trips.

TRT’s toll free number is available to take your calls and reservations: 1-888-994-3344.

Alameda Creek Annual Membership Dinner, Oct 22nd

Join the Alameda Creek Alliance for their annual Membership Dinner on Friday, October 22nd, at the Chouinard Winery in Palomares Canyon, from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm.

The evening will feature food from Miraglia Catering, Chouinard wine, live music, updates on Alameda Creek restoration efforts and some brief comments by watershed restoration experts and
advocates.

Chouinard Winery is located at 33853 Palomares Road, along Stonybrook Creek in Palomares Canyon off of Hwy 84 in Niles Canyon, east of Fremont and west of Sunol. Tickets for the event are $60 per person and all proceeds benefit the Alameda Creek Alliance.

For more information, go to alamedacreek.org

Steelheader’s Oktoberfest – Duncan Mills, Russian River, Oct. 9th

The Russian River Steelhead Society is having its second annual fall fund raising event at the Russian River Sportmen’s Club at Duncan Mills on Oct. 9th.

Your ticket purchase entitles you to a barbecue featuring grilled Pork Loin, German Sausage and Hot Dogs for the kids accompanied by local beer and wine! There will also be a Wine-Country Fly
Fishing Raffle featuring donated items from Russian River area merchants as well as fly fishing merchandise including fly rods and reels, fly lines and hand-tied flies by some of the premier fly-tiers in Northern California. Fly-tying and Casting demonstrations will occur throughout the day, offered by special guests who include Brent Dawson, Hal Janssen, Tim Rajeff, John Ryzanich and Tony Yap.

Tickets are $35 for RRSS members, $40 for non-members and kids are $5.00 available at King’s Sport & Tackle in Guerneville, at Western Sport Shop in Santa Rosa or by phone – 707-869-2156

NCCFFF Festival of Flyfishing – Oct 1-3 at Placerville Fairgrounds

The Northern California Council Federation will hold its 2010 Festival of Flyfishing Oct. 1-3 at the Placerville Fairgrounds in conjunction with the Placerville Sportmen’s Expo.

This is an important fundraiser for the NCCFFF to benefit its conservation and education activities. On Saturday night, there will be a BBQ diner catered by Placerville’s Old Town Grill and an auction.

During the day, there will be fly tying and casting demos in addition to the Expo’s other activities including other Fishing, Hunting, Cooking Demonstrations, outdoor sports vendors, hunting, fishing, clothing, accessories, skiing, rock climbing, boats & RVs, archery, biking... more.

Go to www.nccfff.org for more details.

Help Eradicate Milfoil from Martis Lake (Truckee) Oct 3

Help rid Martis Lake of Milfoil, a destructive evasive plant.  The Milfoil eradication project at Martis Lake finally happening for National Public Lands Day - 9:30 to 1:00, Sunday, October 3.


Here is a call for volunteers to help. Milfoil is taking over Martis Lake which was once a renowned Trout fishery (until golf courses and other human development came along).  NOTE: You need to RSVP.  If you help, let Cindy Charles know since you will earn a GWWF Conservation pin for 2010.


Milfoil

From Park Ranger Jacqui Zink:
"We are finally moving forward with the milfoil removal project. We have had several hurdles to get over and I believe we have what we need in place to do the first barrier installment. This project will be ongoing, so anyone who wants to help and can’t make it this phase, can always help next year when we move the barriers to the next spot.

"The project will involve assembling the barriers on shore and then laying the barriers around the shoreline. We are not doing any diving to start, so will be going along the shore to start with. We need 15-20  volunteers at the most.

WHEN: Sunday, October 3, 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Martis Creek Lake, peninsula at mid lake – Registration will be at the picnic table by the bulletin board.
HOW: Hwy 267, first left south of Truckee Tahoe airport, follow sign to Sierra View Day Use area
WHAT: Lay 10x10 foot landscape barriers in the lake to kill Eurasian milfoil (starves them of UV light)
WHY: Milfoil raises water temperature, affects fishery habitat, reduces oxygen levels in the water and can interfere with water treatment plants.
WHAT TO WEAR: Hat, sunscreen, life jackets for volunteers 12 and under, waders if you have them or water shoes (no bare feet), water bottles (we will have water for your bottles). Chairs for the BBQ after.

Barbeque after the project in the campground.

PLEASE RSVP SO WE KNOW HOW MANY TO PLAN FOR.

Thanks to the Truckee River Fund and the Community Foundation of Western Nevada for grant funding to accomplish this project!  Hope to see you there. Should be a fun and productive day!"
Jacqui Zink
Park Ranger
US Army Corps of Engineers
Martis Creek Lake
office: 530 587-8113, mobile: 530 308-2117, fax: 530 587-8623

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Second Annual Gathering of Great Steelheaders April 17th

The Russian River Wild Steelhead Society invites you to attend its fundraising dinner on April 17Th from 3:00-7:00 P.M.

Join Lani Waller, Russel Chatham,Hal Janssen and Dan Blanton for a wonderful afternoon and evening of food, drink and conversation.

We have officially become a non-profit (501c-3) and are preparing our future restoration and education programs. Our current Steelhead in the Classroom program is going well and we will be releasing the fry in 2-3 weeks with the students.

Thank You,

Chris Aff
RRWSS

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lower Tuolumne FERC Proceeding.

As you recall, GWWF has been very active in the fight to get increased water flows for Central Valley steelhead and salmon in the lower Tuolumne before they go extinct. In the fall of Tuolumne, only 269 salmon returned to spawn which is the third straight year of returns less than 300 adults. A population needs about 1,000 returning adults to be self-sustaining and the stated goal of the Central Valley Improvement Act passed by Congress in 1992 is to have 40,000 fall run Chinook return to the Tuolumne annually. We are still waiting to hear the final decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission about whether they will order the Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts to increase the flows and their timing to save these fish. This special proceeding, only done once before, has resulted in significant legal expenses for the Conservation Groups with standing (the Tuolumne River Trust, Friends of the River, California Trout and the California Rivers Restoration Fund) The Hydropower Reform Coalition has been especially supportive in providing a grant for legal expenses and I was successful in applying for a grant from the Northern California Council Federation of Fly Fishers and would like to thanks them here for the much appreciated support. 

If you want more news on the monitoring of salmon and steelhead on the rivers of the San Joaquin watershed go to: www.fishbio.com.

Salmonid Restoration Federation Conference- Redding March 10-13

This year, the Salmonid Restoration Federation has joined with the California-Nevada American Fisheries Society to hold its annual conference in Redding. The theme of this year’s conference is Fisheries Restoration
and Climate Change.

The first two days of the conference will feature full-day workshops, continuing education classes, and field tours. Following that will be a half-day plenary session and one and a half days of technical, biological and policy-related sessions. There are several events scheduled including a banquet, awards ceremony and dance.

GWWF Conservation Chair Cindy Charles will be presenting a talk along with Chris Shutes, FERC Projects Director of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance. The session is entitled Restoring Central Valley Salmon and Steelhead through FERC Relicensing and will draw on our recent work on the lower Tuolumne, lower Merced and Butte Creek projects. For more information about the conference, go to www.calsalmon.org.

Happy 25th Year to the Merced Fly Fishing Club

Our friends of the Merced Fly Fishing Club will be celebrating their 25th anniversary on March 12th with a
fundraiser. GWWF has been supportive of this club in their efforts of restoring a self-sustaining rainbow trout/
steelhead fishery on the lower Merced and our involvement in the dam relicensings. Last year, the Merced club was successful in obtaining two grants totaling $150,000 to procure spawning gravels which will be put into the river by DFG this year to benefit steelhead. They also are in the process of collecting fin clips of the fish in the Upper and Lower Merced River for genetic analysis by Carlos Garza of the National Marine Fisheries Service. 

The Merced Fly Fishing club also has a successful “Young Fly Fishers on the Water” program where they take the top 10 middle-school science students in Merced out to the Kelsey Bass Ranch for a day of fly fishing instruction and fun. So, I want to particularly tip my fishing straw hat to Ken Jensen, Vice President and Dr. Michael Martin, Conservation Director, for their strong dedication and persistence to this little known, but special fishery. Just take a look at the photo below to see one of their wild beauties.

Russian River Wild Steelhead Society

While at the Healdsburg Wild Steelhead Festival last month, I met some of the founders of the newly formed
Russian River Wild Steelhead Society. The mission statement of this new organization is dedicated to the
preservation, protection and enhancement of wild Russian River Steelhead and the Russian River watershed.
They had two fundraising events last year which were very successful and got the group off to a solid start. The Society is already involved implementing their Trout in the Classroom Project, is working on some ideas for river restoration, and has planned another fundraiser on April 17th at the Russian River Sportman’s Club in Duncan Mills. I will let you the details of that event as soon as I receive them. If you wish to contact the Society, their email is: RRwildsteelheadsociety@gmail.com.

One of the founders whom I met, Chris Aff is a guide and flytyer who has graciously offered to take a group of GWWF members out someday soon to fish the Russian River for free. We need to wait until conditions have settled down on the river and I will be in touch about this exciting offer as well.

Update on the Lower Merced River Hydropower Relicensings

Three dams are undergoing relicensing by FERC.  Two are owned by the Merced Irrigation District (New
Exchequer and McSwain and one is owned by PG&E (Merced Falls).

Relicensings usually take five years and we are at the point where the dam operators have to do studies on the impact of their projects. The Merced Irrigation District is extremely unwilling to acknowledge that their dams have an effect on the salmon and steelhead populations beneath their dams even though they control 100% of the water flows in the lower Merced. 

Last month, there was an important visit to the Merced Falls dam and the Crocker-Huffman Diversion dam
(operated by the Merced Irrigation District) to take a look at their inoperable fish ladders. Conservation groups, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the California Department of Fish and Game are pushing for their restoration so Central Valley salmon and steelhead can benefit from increased habitat.

We would like to see these fish get closer to the New Exchequer dam which permanently blocked these fish from getting all the way up to Yosemite Valley. There is a serious effort on the part of NMFS to get salmon and steelhead above dams such as this (and include Shasta dam on the Upper Sac and Englebright dam on the Yuba River) and they are looking at the truck and haul option which has been used successfully in Oregon and Washington. 

GWWF is an active participant in these relicensing procedures which is so important for the future of these anadromous fish.I will keep you informed of developments as they occur.

Sad and Alarming News about 2009 California Salmon Returns

Last month, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council released numbers showing California’s once most abundant salmon run came in at a new all time record low in 2009.

The Council reports “In 2009, a total of 39,530 natural and hatchery Sacramento River Fall Chinook adults were estimated to have returned to the Sacramento River basin for spawning. The 2009 adult return estimate is the lowest on record and continues the declining trend in Sacramento Fall run salmon returns despite the 2008 and 2009 closures of nearly all ocean Chinook fisheries south of Cape Falcon…”

Once upon a time, this salmon run was close to a million fish. Now, they really are on the path towards extinction. The Council’s report also shows that federally protected runs of winter and spring run Chinook both came in at less than 5,000 individuals each. The San Joaquin River is in particularly bad shape with just under 2,100 salmon representing perhaps the last of their race in that watershed. The last three years of salmon returns have each set new record lows and coincide directly with three of the highest years of Delta water diversions. Delta pumping kills juvenile salmon migrating through the Delta to the sea. It takes three years for surviving salmon to return as adults and for scientists to record the full destruction caused by the pumps.

In the face of these sobering facts, Senator Feinstein is attempting to push through legislation to get around the
Endangered Species Act laws in order to increase delta pumping to benefit farms which don’t have senior water rights. GWWF signed onto a letter to the Senator along with nearly 40 other groups to protest this action which would surely be the end of salmon fishing in California. In addition, a big group of legislators (Signed by Reps. George Miller (D-CA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), David Wu (D-OR), Norm Dicks (D-WA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Doris Matsui (DCA), and John Garamendi (D-CA) sent a letter to Senator Feinstein expressing their dismay of her actions.

Hopefully, she will back off and investigate other ways to solve the water problems in California without destroying the Endangered Species Act which is the last hope for endangered salmon and steelhead.

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