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.

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