[env-trinity] Ventura County Star 12/4/10 and San Mateo Daily Journal 12/6/10

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Mon Dec 6 17:48:55 PST 2010

Summit focuses on restoration of Calif salmon runs

Ventura County Star-12/4/10



HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) - Members of Congress and fishermen grilled
federal and state officials on Saturday about efforts to restore
California's once-abundant salmon runs. U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, who helped
organize Saturday's wild Pacific salmon summit, said she was alarmed by
dwindling salmon populations and suggested more needed to be done to prevent
their demise. "We have evidence and science suggesting we're losing the
salmon run, and we're not doing anything about it," Speier told Federico
Barajas, a representative of the federal Bureau of Reclamation.


Barajas spoke about a conservation plan in the works for the Sacramento-San
Joaquin River Delta aimed in part at restoring sensitive and endangered
species and their habitat. The Sacramento River Basin has experienced
particularly dramatic losses in its once-healthy runs of fall chinook salmon
- the cornerstone of commercial fisheries in Oregon and California. Numbers
there have plummeted from about 770,000 returning chinook in 2002 to a
record-low 39,500 fall chinook last year. Officials have responded with a
ban on commercial fishing the past two seasons that has devastated the


"It's not just the salmon (we're losing)," said Rod McInnis, a
representative of the National Marine Fisheries Service. "It's the
communities and the good people who built those communities and are tied
together by salmon." Many in the fishing industry blame the decline on the
transfer of water from the Sacramento River to farms in the San Joaquin
Valley. But Jerry Johns with the California Department of Water Resources
said other factors, including toxins in the water and predators, were also
to blame. Representatives of the fishing industry say whatever is causing
the decline, their livelihoods are at stake. Dick Pool, owner of
Concord-based Pro-Troll Inc., which manufactures salmon fishing equipment,
said his business is suffering.


"Last three years have been mighty tough. We haven't made a dollar," he
said. "We need some emergency action here if we're ever going to fish





Saving salmon: Decline of iconic fish hurting economy

San Mateo Daily Journal-12/6/10 

By Bill Silverfarb


Peggy Beckett is struggling to keep her coastal sportfishing shop open as
salmon numbers decline. Five years ago, Peggy and Bill Beckett had plans to
one day sell their coastal sportfishing shop to help them get through
retirement. The couple spent their entire adult lives fishing for salmon,
chartering boats and selling bait and tackle to recreational anglers. But
salmon season was closed in both 2008 and 2009 and Bill Beckett died just
more than a year ago. Although salmon season was opened this year, Peggy
Beckett said there was "no fish locally to catch." Now Peggy wonders whether
she will be able to keep the Huck Finn Center at Pillar Point open another
year. She has put every dollar she has into keeping the shop open but is not
sure she will be able to renew the lease when it expires in 18 months.


She first landed in Half Moon Bay with her husband on their boat the Red
Baron back in 1987. The couple saw some incredible years together as
fishermen, especially in 2002 when a record-high 800,000 Central Valley
Chinook salmon returned to spawn in the Sacramento River. Anglers were able
to haul in an incredible 700,000 salmon out of the Pacific Ocean that year.
Last year, less than 40,000 fall Chinooks returned to Central Valley rivers,
according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. The low numbers have
brought the salmon fishing industry to the brink of extinction and has cost
the state billions in revenue. Locally, Beckett knows she is not the only
one suffering through the decline in salmon numbers. The bookings she makes
for local charter boats has dropped dramatically. Duncan MacLean, who
captains the boat Barbara Faye out of Pillar Point, has been forced to take
his boat to fishing waters off the coast of Oregon and Washington this past
year to keep food on the table. For MacLean, "fishing was never a living and
always a lifestyle."


But the lifestyle is deteriorating, he told a packed house of fishermen and
government officials at a salmon summit at Mavericks Lodge and Event Center
at Pillar Point Saturday, hosted by U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo.
Speier, along with U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa, invited scientists,
state water agency representatives and those affected by the industry's
decline to gather at Pillar Point to discuss what is needed to restore
California's salmon runs. Central Valley Chinook salmon runs, if recovered
fully, could provide 94,000 new jobs and $5.7 billion in annual revenue for
the state.

The numbers have dropped for a variety of reasons, including pollution and
predation. But many fisherman, including Dick Pool and Marc Gorelnik, blame
water diversions out of the Delta and the state agencies that allow it for
bringing salmon to the brink of extinction. "If business as usual continues,
this fish is headed for extinction," said Pool, the owner of Pro-Troll
Fishing Products in Concord. Gorelnik, who serves on the board of the
Coastside Fishing Club, blames corporate farms, and Southern California
parks and golf courses for draining water away from the Delta at the expense
of salmon and the industry the fish supports. "State agencies are playing
God, by diverting water to the San Joaquin Valley. Access to salmon is
critical to the livelihood of coastal communities," Gorelnik said. It is not
"Mother Nature" at work in the salmon's decline but something more
"sinister," Gorelnik said.



But it is not all bad news for salmon, said Tina Swanson, executive director
and chief scientist at The Bay Institute. "Salmon is a resilient species. If
we improve conditions, they will be able to bounce back," Swanson said.
Restoring the Delta's ecosystem and improving fresh water inflow will be key
to the recovery of the species," Swanson said. A collaboration of state,
federal, and local water agencies, state and federal fish agencies and
environmental groups are currently preparing the Bay Delta Conservation Plan
with the goal of identifying water flow and habitat restoration actions to
recover endangered and sensitive species and their habitats in the
Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The plan, however, is in its early
stages and is not expected to be completed until 2013. For some fisherman,
that may be too long. "We can't wait 20 years in the future. We need
emergency actions. We need help now or we will never fish again," Pro-Troll
Fishing Products owner Pool said. Peggy Beckett, 63, can't wait 20 years
either for solving salmon's decline. "I'm out of savings both personally and
for the business. I can't afford employees," Beckett said. She has no
retirement and is too old for a career change, she said. 

"Salmon is an indicator of what will happen to all of us," Beckett said.



Byron Leydecker, JcT

Chair, Friends of Trinity River

PO Box 2327

Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327

415 383 4810 land

415 519 4810 mobile

 <mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net

 <mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org

 <http://fotr.org/> http://www.fotr.org 




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