NEWS WORTH NOTING: 2018 ocean salmon fishing seasons slashed; Public comment sought on statewide management of trout; Lawsuit Seeks Public Records on Trump Administration’s approval of California water-mining project; LADWP releases season’s snowpack results

2018 Ocean Salmon Fishing Seasons Slashed

Fishing curtailed due to drought hangover

From the Golden Gate Salmon Association:

The Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) has slashed ocean salmon fishing seasons for both sport and commercial salmon fishermen and women in 2018.  The reduction in fishing days, announced April 10, amounts to cuts of about a third for the ocean sport fishery and over half of the commercial fishery, compared to a regular season.  The drastic reductions are due to a forecast of relatively few adult Sacramento Basin fall run salmon, which constrains the season this year.  That forecast comes from the National Marine Fisheries Service based on a weighted return of sub adult salmon to the Sacramento Valley in 2017.

The number of adult Sacramento salmon in the ocean are believed to be fewer because an estimated 95 to 98 percent of natural spawned eggs died in overheated Sacramento River spawning beds during the drought in 2015.  This left very few surviving natural origin baby salmon that year.  Those salmon would have returned this year as adults.  Water managers at the time left too little water in Lake Shasta, the source of the upper Sacramento River, to cool the spawning beds.  River temperatures exceeded 56 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature beyond which salmon eggs die.

“This year’s greatly shortened commercial and sport seasons are caused by losses we sustained during the drought,” said GGSA president John McManus.  “This could have been avoided if more water had been reserved to keep the Sacramento cool enough to support spawning salmon.  The State Water Resources Control Board is in a position to insure we don’t see a repeat in the next drought and we hope they act to protect California’s unique salmon runs. Families and communities up and down the coastal and inland river areas depend on these salmon.”

The majority of salmon caught in the last few years and again this year are likely to be from one of the five salmon hatcheries in the Central Valley. Although they’re likely supplying the vast majority of this year’s fish, in other years they supply a minority, with the rest coming from natural spawning areas in Central Valley rivers.

“Natural origin salmon can vastly outnumber those contributed by hatcheries in years when our rivers get enough water for spawning and to deliver baby salmon to the ocean,” said GGSA board member Vance Staplin.  “The natural areas have the capacity to supply many times what the hatcheries produce when the rivers are correctly managed.”

“Baby salmon need high flow, turbid, rapid runoff in the spring to safely migrate down Central Valley rivers and out to the ocean,” said Staplin. “We got that kind of runoff with last week’s storms which should help boost salmon survival.”

Sport ocean salmon fishing is already underway in Monterey Bay and points south.  Sport ocean salmon fishing is set to open off the San Mateo, SF, Marin, Sonoma and the Mendocino coasts on June 17.  In a welcome change from 2017, the far north of state ocean waters from southern Humboldt County to the Oregon border will have sport fishing, unlike last year.

Commercial salmon fishermen will see a few days of fishing from Monterey Bay south in May and June.  From San Mateo County north, commercial trollers will be forced to sit mostly idle until late July, losing the normally valuable months of May, June and much of July.

The Golden Gate Salmon Association (www.goldengatesalmonassociation.org) is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. GGSA’s mission is to protect and restore California’s largest salmon producing habitat comprised of the Central Valley river’s that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon as a long-term, sustainable, commercial, recreational and cultural resource.

Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in economic activity annually in a normal season and about half that much in economic activity and jobs again in Oregon. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large.

Public Comment Sought on Statewide Management of Trout

From the Department of Fish and Wildlife:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will be soliciting public comment and ideas on the statewide management of trout at a series of public meetings.

“We are seeking stakeholder feedback on the development of three important elements of our statewide trout management efforts,” said Roger Bloom, CDFW Inland Fisheries Program Manager. “Our overall goal is make positive programmatic changes that will help ensure we’re getting the right fish in the right place at the right time.”

The three key areas for which CDFW are seeking input are:

  • The revision of CDFW’s Strategic Plan for Trout Management, last published in 2003
  • The creation of a new Strategic Plan for Trout Hatcheries
  • Simplification of inland trout angling regulations

Each meeting will include a brief presentation covering each area. CDFW personnel will be available at information stations to answer questions and listen to stakeholder interests, needs and ideas.

All stakeholder input will be taken into consideration as draft plans and a regulation simplification package are developed for formal public review. Stakeholders can fill out a short questionnaire online or at any of the following meetings:

Bishop
Place: Talman Pavilion, Tricounty Fairgrounds
Location: 1234 Fair Street
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Truckee
Place: Truckee-Tahoe Airport Community Room
Location: 10356 Truckee Airport Road
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Los Alamitos
Place: CDFW Los Alamitos Field Office
Location: 4665 Lampson Ave. #C
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.
Date: Thursday, April 26, 2018

Sacramento
Place: Arcade Library Meeting Room
Location: 2443 Marconi Ave.
Time: 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sausalito
Place: Bay Model Visitor Center
Location: 2100 Bridgeway
Time: 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Date: Saturday, May 5, 2018

Fresno
Place: Betty Rodriguez Regional Library
Location: 3040 N. Cedar Ave.
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Date: Thursday, May 10, 2018

Redding
Place: Redding Library Community Room
Location: 1100 Parkview Ave.
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.
Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2018

More information is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Inland/Trout-Plan. Meetings are in-person only and no conference line or webcast will be available.

Lawsuit Seeks Public Records on Trump Administration’s Approval of California Water-mining Project

From the Center for Biological Diversity:

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Department of the Interior today for failing to provide public records on Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt’s communications and schedules.

These records could shed light on the Trump administration’s abrupt decision to allow an enormous California groundwater-mining scheme, Cadiz, Inc., to move forward without environmental review.

Today’s lawsuit also seeks the communications and schedules of Todd Willens, assistant deputy secretary, who is believed to oversee endangered species, water management and energy under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Willens previously worked for Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and former Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), two of the most anti-endangered species members of Congress.

“If Trump’s Interior Department had nothing to hide on the Cadiz water-mining scheme, it would quickly turn over these public records,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center. “We need to know whether Zinke and his aides are holding secret meetings with political allies willing to destroy public lands and wildlife for short-term profits.”

The Center has filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests over the past year for information about the Cadiz project, as well as for the schedules and communications of Bernhardt and Willens. Neither the Interior Department nor the Bureau of Land Management has complied with the requests.

“Zinke has turned the Department of the Interior into the Department of Special Interests,” said Snape. “The public has every right to know who his top lieutenants are meeting with, especially when it comes to policies that will have disastrous consequences for our public lands and climate.”

Late last year the Trump administration reversed two Obama-era decisions and paved the way for the Cadiz project, which would pump 16 billion gallons of water a year from the fragile desert aquifer. Water would be sent through a 43-mile pipeline across Mojave Trails National Monument to feed sprawling new developments in Southern California.

Zinke is the subject of many travel and scheduling controversies, including vacation jaunts abroad with a paid security detail, corporate-funded trips and events, and $139,000 office doors at Interior’s D.C. headquarters.

LADWP releases season’s snowpack results

From the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power:

Each spring, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) measures the Eastern Sierra snowpack and Mono Lake water elevation in order to determine runoff and export projections for the LA Aqueduct System. This year, LADWP conducted its final measurements of the season on April 3 with snowpack levels registering at 66 percent of normal.

Despite a series of storms in March that provided much-needed precipitation, this winter’s snowpack fell short of normal levels. While the March rainfall helped provide needed runoff through the summer, Angelenos are urged to continue using water responsibly and efficiently in preparation for dry winters in upcoming years. The City of Los Angeles and LADWP remain committed to helping Los Angeles achieve the water conservation goals established by the Mayor’s Sustainable City pLAn.

Though water usage has increased during this recent dry winter, historically during dry periods, Angelenos have answered the call for conservation by reducing indoor and outdoor water use.  As it has in the past, LADWP will continue to help residential and commercial customers in this effort by offering a variety of rebates related to indoor and outdoor water efficiency, including rebates for turf removal and replacement with California Friendly and native plants. Additional rebates are available to replace toilets and clothes washers with more water-efficient models. Free water conservation items like aerators and showerheads are also available. LADWP customers can find more information at www.ladwp.com/waterconservation.

“We at LADWP have maintained a strong focus on water conservation, and we will continue to do so,” LADWP General Manager David H. Wright said. “We are proud of how much water our customers have saved in the past, and we appreciate their continued commitment to conservation. We will continue to do everything we can to help them save water through our rebates and programs. We are also excited about LADWP projects currently in place or underway that are designed to build up our local water supply and reduce dependence on purchased water.”

LADWP is helping to secure a sustainable future for LA’s water by enhancing the use of recycled water, stormwater and groundwater replenishment. Several projects are underway to build more recycled purple pipe to Los Angeles, expand local spreading grounds to maximize stormwater capture, and replenish the groundwater with recycled water from local treatment plants.

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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