NEWS WORTH NOTING: Frazier: Votes the Delta Stewardship Council took on Friday serve as examples why the Council should be disbanded; Trout season opening day: Non-profit group CalTrout bolsters healthy fish populations; $1 Million federal grant for San Joaquin Valley wetlands conservation

Frazier: Votes the Delta Stewardship Council took on Friday serve as examples why the Council should be disbanded

From Assemblymember Jim Frazier:

Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) released the following statement today after the Delta Stewardship Council voted 5-to-2 on amendments to various chapters of the Delta Plan. The chapters that are being amended include the Delta Levee Investment Strategy; the Conveyance, Storage Systems, and Operation of Both; and Performance Measures. Instead of voting on each amended chapter individually, the Council took one vote on all of them. Also included in that vote was the certification of the Delta Plan’s Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Report. Prior to the vote on the Delta Plan amendments, the Council voted against a 60-day extension to continue work on those amendments.

“Today’s action is a great example of why I believe the Delta Stewardship Council is a major threat to the Delta and why I attempted to disband it. Instead of voting appropriately on each individual amendment to the Delta Plan, the Council lumped them together and ignored the needs of Delta residents. The amendments on conveyance rubber stamp the disastrous tunnels plan and the Delta Levees Investment Strategy implement a flawed formula to prioritize funding that would diminish funding to agricultural and legacy communities throughout the Delta. There has never been a complete cost-benefit analysis that shows the tunnels would have any benefit to either Delta residents or ratepayers throughout state. I want to thank both Supervisor Skip Thomson and my former colleague in the Assembly, Mike Gatto, the only two members to vote no, for urging that the Council consider each set of amendments on its own merit.”

Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

Trout Season Opening Day: Non-Profit Group CalTrout Bolsters Healthy Fish Populations

CalTrout’s work in the Shasta and Sierra regions supports native trout populations

Mt. Shasta and Mammoth Lakes, Calif.  – Trout Fishing Season will open this Saturday, April 28th across California, and anglers have good reason to expect tight lines. Their stream-side success will be thanks, in part, to the work of California Trout. A non-profit restoration, research and advocacy organization, CalTrout runs projects throughout the state that support native salmon, steelhead and trout populations. Two current efforts that are helping trout populations are a conservation, recreation, and cultural resource protection program on Hat Creek, in Shasta County, and a research and restoration program in high Sierra meadows, which benefits Kern River rainbow trout.

“As a native Californian and an avid fisherman, I am excited about the recent progress CalTrout has been making in restoring native trout habitat,” said CalTrout’s Executive Director, Curtis Knight. “We have an amazing diversity of inland native trout, and it’s our job to watch over these imperiled fish.”

Cal Trout was founded in 1971 by a passionate group of anglers who were concerned about deteriorating fishing conditions throughout the state. They had a simple mission: to protect and restore wild trout and steelhead waters throughout California.

This mission started on Hat Creek, where decades of habitat degradation, invasive species and overfishing had decimated the Hat Creek Wild Trout Area. The idea of managing trout on a natural basis was proven out and the catch and release ethic was established here. Hat Creek is one of California’s largest and most productive spring-fed native trout fisheries. In partnership with the Illmawi Band of the Pit River Tribe, CalTrout is working to restore in-stream and riparian habitat, improve recreational trails and accessibility, provide workforce training and jobs to tribe members, and improve the health of wild trout populations in Hat Creek. More information can be found on CalTrout’s Hat Creek Restoration web page.

Farther south, headwater meadows throughout the Sierra Nevada have been desiccated by long-running drought conditions and poor land management, reducing the availability of cold water during summer months and elevating stream temperatures to levels that are harmful to trout populations. Osa Meadows, for example, in the Sequoia National Forest, is historic Kern River rainbow trout habitat. In 2016, however, these headwaters dried up half way through the meadow. The year before, it was bone dry.

CalTrout and partners have been working on high-altitude meadow restoration on the Kern Plateau since 2012. In the fall and winter of 2016, CalTrout sent tractors into Osa Meadow to do substantial restoration to the floodplain and stream channels. Encouragingly, in 2017, young rainbows were already thriving again. CalTrout and partners in the Sierra Meadows Partnership aim to restore 30,000 acres of Sierra meadows by 2030, specifically boosting water storage capacity, restoring critical habitats, and bolstering resiliency to climate change. In addition to fostering healthy trout populations, functioning high-altitude meadows contribute greatly to water security for the millions of Californians living downstream. Details about this and related projects can be found on CalTrout’s Sierra Headwater Meadows web page.

For more information about these and other projects that CalTrout is working on, see www.caltrout.org.

$1 Million Federal Grant for San Joaquin Valley Wetlands Conservation

From Congressman Jim Costa:

The collaboration between Ducks Unlimited, Grassland Water District, the State of California’s Wildlife Conservation Board and Department of Water Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and local private land owners to conserve wetlands within the northern San Joaquin Valley was awarded a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant this week.

The project, officially titled “San Joaquin Wetlands Conservation III,” will both restore 1,340 acres of floodplain wetlands on the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge and enhance 2,207 acres of wetlands and upland habitats in the Grasslands Ecological Area.

By pooling state grants and private dollars, and then leveraging them for matching federal funds, this partnership aims to increase Grassland Water District’s ability to recycle and deliver water within its district, improve water conveyance to San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, and reconnect the San Joaquin River to its floodplain. This will reduce downstream flooding, improve private wetlands to benefit waterfowl, and provide wildlife habitat for salmon, waterfowl, and songbirds.

Ric Ortega, General Manager of Grassland Water District, shared, “The grant-and-match funding emphasizes the ongoing partnership to deliver and manage large-scale habitat restoration projects in the San Joaquin Valley, which is widely recognized as one of the most critical habitat areas in North America. These wetlands are also critical to our local economy, groundwater sustainability, and water quality, especially given the fact that only 5% of wetlands remain in California.”

“Programs funded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act are a prime example of how public and private collaboration can deliver ecosystem-based conservation projects benefitting wildlife and people alike,” said Matt Kaminski, Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist. Kaminski continued, “In delivering these projects, Ducks Unlimited will hire local contractors to construct these projects, thus benefitting wetland habitat, waterfowl, wildlife enthusiasts, and the local economy in Merced and Stanislaus Counties.”

Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), a long-time supporter of the NAWCA, said, “The Wetlands are an integral part of our San Joaquin Valley and vital for the economy in Merced County. They contribute roughly $73 million dollars to the county, and their additional benefits to groundwater recharge are extensive. I have always believed that government most effectively serves our communities when local, state, and federal governments work together, which is why I am a strong advocate for partnership programs, such as those authorized in the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.”

The San Joaquin Wetlands Conservation III project is the third phase in a five-phase initiative to conserve wetlands and associated habitats in Merced and Stanislaus Counties. The San Joaquin Valley is recognized as one of the most important North American wintering areas for waterfowl.

 

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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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