[env-trinity] Trinity Journal 12/8/10

Byron Leydecker bwl3 at comcast.net
Thu Dec 9 13:50:03 PST 2010

Friends of Trinity River draws to a close 


Friends of Trinity River, founded to protect and restore the river and its
tributaries, has announced it will cease operations. 

The organization's founder and board chairman, Byron Leydecker of Mill
Valley, said the group which has about 1,700 members has accomplished many

"I am 83 years old and that figures into it," he added. "There is no
successor lined up here." 

You could say Leydecker jumped right into Trinity River issues. It started
on a steelhead fishing trip in 1992 when he got stuck in sediments like
"quicksand" from a restoration project going on upstream and had to be
rescued. Leydecker found such projects to be irrational, and with a group of
like-minded citizens started the predecessor organization to Friends of
Trinity River which put a stop to channel projects until full environmental
reports and the 2000 Trinity River Record of Decision were completed. 

Friends of Trinity River has also worked with the restoration program and
was instrumental in obtaining funding for the bridge replacements that have
allowed higher Trinity River flows. 

Members also helped to reauthorize the original restoration program that
expired in 1994. 

Another member of the Friends of Trinity River board, retired Trinity County
senior resource planner Tom Stokely, had high praise for Leydecker although
their first conversation was heated. 

"Actually, the first time I met Byron he called me on the phone. It was in
the summer of 92 and he immediately started yelling at me," Stokely said. It
was after the fishing trip which wound up with Leydecker stuck in the mud. 

"He was not very popular with the restoration program," Stokely said, but he
added the resulting full environmental study for the program likely made
former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's Trinity River decision possible.
The decision returned almost half of the river's pre-dam water flows to the

Leydecker added that members have helped to increase the certainty of the
river retaining that water by commenting on many environmental assessments,
statements and reports, and have educated officials and the public. 

"Byron's done a great job," Stokely said, adding that he's hopeful Leydecker
will have more time to do things for the river without the burden of
administrative duties. 

Both Stokely and Leydecker said there are still issues to be addressed. 

One goal is to get the Bureau of Reclamation's water permits for the Trinity
River, which allow a minimum annual flow down the river of only 120,000
acre-feet, amended to reflect the Record of Decision which calls for much
higher flows even in a critically dry year. 

The decision also calls for $2 million annually for work on the Trinity
River's watersheds and tributaries where steelhead and coho spawn. The
amount spent for that is currently $500,000, and Friends of Trinity River
lobbied to get it up to that amount. 

They also want to see use of independent science review panels, as called
for in the Record of Decision, to study projects on the river both before
and after they are completed. 

Leydecker is also concerned that the Trinity Management Council's direct
connection to the Interior Secretary in times of disagreement has been
shifted to lower level employees. 

Leydecker said he still plans to be involved with Trinity River issues, and
members can still accomplish their aims without the paperwork to maintain a

He is working to turn over remaining Friends of Trinity River funds of about
$10,000 to the California Water Impact Network (C-WINN) with the provision
that they be used exclusively for advancement of Trinity River restoration.
The goal is to have river Friends operations closed down by the end of the
year, Leydecker said. 

He recommends any members wishing to stay involved with the Trinity River
consider C-WIN, which has a Web site, www.c-win.org. 



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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