Posted on February 28, 2015 by jaylund
By Jay Lund
Droughts are strange, and this one is becoming scarier.
February began with a nice few stormy days, but has since looked like this January – very dry. And so far, the March forecast is not wet.
At the beginning of March, the Northern Sierra (Sacramento Valley) Precipitation Index was down to 88% of average to date, although it already almost equals total precipitation for all of 2014 (both good and bad news). For the San Joaquin Valley and Tulare basin (where most water use occurs), precipitation is about half of average for this date – slightly wetter than this time last year. Snowpack is roughly like last year – among the driest on record.
It would appear that the energy and extraction industries are getting tired of the burgeoning influence sportsmen and women are wielding these days in the conservation arena, and they’re spending some money on a clandestine effort to besmirch a handful of nonprofit organizations that help give anglers and hunters a voice in today’s pivotal conservation debate.
And it’s pretty sleazy, honestly.
Congressman David Valadao has authored H.R. 5781 which was introduced on the House Floor last night (December 2, 2014). A first reading of the bill reveals that it does little to "solve water shortages" resulting from the drought, but it does alter how environmental protection statutes are implemented and enforced for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary.
It also contains language to expedite Federal review of storage projects (within a 30 day window) which could have a negative impact on the availability of flows into the Delta and that could be used according to a recent UC Davis report to provide additional water for Governor Brown's proposed twin Delta tunnels. It also allows for expedited water transfers which puts the health of our Northern California rivers and groundwater supplies at stake, especially during times of extended drought.
This is a great opportunity for budding biologists, ecologists and fisheries management to get field experience and exposure to CDFW, CalTrout and the IFFF. This year could be extremely tough on fish, so let’s give them a hand by removing a stressor (non-native fish), something we can do with immediate beneficial impacts.
Season Two of the Lahontan cutthroat trout recovery effort on Silver Creek is quickly approaching. Last year we had one intern with CalTrout and cleared one mile. This year the clubs of the Southwest Council IFFF are hiring two interns to work with CDFW and 2 CalTrout interns to remove brook trout from two miles of stream.
WHEN: Volunteers are needed over a five week period starting Friday July 18th and ending Wednesday September 10th. You can sign up for a portion of a week too. The schedule is as follows:
Friday July 18 through Wednesday July 23
Thursday July 31 through Wednesday Aug 6
Thursday Aug 14 through Wednesday Aug 20
Tuesday Aug 26 through Thursday Aug 28
Thursday Sept 4 through Wednesday Sept 10