[env-trinity] Joint Senate Assembly Committee Hearing State Legislature

Byron bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Oct 20 15:05:51 PDT 2005

Salmon hanging in the balance

Eureka Times-Standard - 10/20/05

By John Driscoll, staff writer


ARCATA -- Some fish advocates fretted over lost funds for salmon restoration
before a joint legislative committee Wednesday, while others voiced concern
over the state's precarious water scenario. 


The 33rd annual Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture -- several
members shy due to a lack of travel funds -- met at Humboldt State
University to consider what lawmakers might do to continue the state's
long-standing support for fisheries. 


Several recent developments were aired, including the governor's veto of
restoration money, Dungeness crab provisions and an appeals court ruling on
the Klamath River. 


State Sen. Wesley Chesbro said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of a bill
that would have directed state oil revenues to salmon recovery bucks a
historical trend. It also ignored the broad support -- from timber, fishing
and water interests -- the bill enjoyed, the Arcata Democrat said. 


"We simply can't accept that," Chesbro said. 


Humboldt State University professor Walt Duffy said the loss of the bill
will weaken the California Department of Fish and Game's restoration
program, which contributes millions to the local economy and supports
hundreds of jobs. 


Tom Weseloh of California Trout said that Fish and Game needs to work more
closely with its constituents, who can help get in front of issues instead
of reacting to crises. 


"We are your advocates," Weseloh said. "We are the people who want to help."


Chesbro said he will be working with the Legislature to draft a bond measure
that could fill in the gap -- but said it would be no substitute for the
tidelands oil money. 


That bond could also help restore funding to the California Conservation
Corps, Chesbro said which is key to many restoration projects around the
state but was drastically cut in 2003. 


CCC Fortuna Center Director Larry Hand -- who has been "working in fish
restoration since Moby Dick was a guppy" -- said he believes the program
needs to expand the environmental agenda into cities and into grade schools.


Crab fishermen pleaded with Chesbro and Assemblywoman Patty Berg, D-Eureka,
for emergency legislation to extend a boat limit in the state's Dungeness
crab fishery. The limit was vetoed along with a limit on crab pots for boats
in the San Francisco area. 


Trinity County Senior Planner Tom Stokely raised serious concerns about
plans to increase water exports from the Sacramento River delta. He said the
state and federal CalFed plan ignores how Trinity River restoration will cut
water pumped from the Trinity to the Sacramento. 


He said CalFed would draw down reservoirs to allow more water storage for
eventual delivery to farms and cities, a risky plan that would endanger
salmon in the Trinity, Klamath and Sacramento rivers in the event of a
multi-year drought. 


A recent 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision determined that an
environmental analysis of CalFed's plan was invalid because it didn't
consider alternatives to export less water from the delta. Stokely said as
much as 2 million acre feet of water might be freed up by retiring farmland
in the San Joaquin Valley with poor drainage and salt, selenium and boron
tainted soils.


"It defies science," Stokely said of the plan. "The science tells us we
shouldn't be putting more water on these areas."



Byron Leydecker, 

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

Consultant, California Trout, Inc.

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 ph

415 383 9562 fx

bwl3 at comcast.net

bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org (secondary)





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