Protect Smith River From Strip Mining – Support Proposed Mining Closure

Mining companies plan to excavate a series of nickel strip mines in the pristine tributaries of the Wild and Scenic Smith River and other rivers in the heart of California and Oregon’s much loved Wild Rivers Coast. Despite overwhelming opposition, the outdated 1872 Mining Law prioritizes these nickel mines over clean drinking water, salmon fisheries and recreation!

The good news is that thanks to the leadership of Senators Wyden and Merkley and Representatives Defazio of Oregon and Huffman of California, the Obama Administration is considering a proposal to protect these wild rivers by temporarily withdrawing them from mining while Congress considers legislation—the Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act—for more lasting protection.   What’s at stake?

  • Clean drinking water
  • Safeguarding Redwood National and State Parks
  • Protecting wild salmon runs of the Wild Rivers Coast
  • The integrity of our Wild and Scenic River system

The Obama Administration is taking comments on the proposed mineral withdrawal right now. Please take a moment to send an email or letter of support today. Simply click here for an email form that takes just a minute to complete.

Add your voice to the chorus of others demanding that the crystal clear, salmon-studded waters of these wild rivers remain free from toxic pollution! Sign today.

CalTrout Approves of $7.5 Billion Water Bond

Tuesday's meeting with the Governor. CalTrout's Curtis Knight seated far left

Tuesday’s meeting with the Governor. CalTrout’s Curtis Knight seated far left

CalTrout has been actively involved over the past few weeks, and especially over the last couple of days, in the water bond negotiations. On Tuesday, Curtis Knight, CalTrout’s Conservation Director, was in Sacramento as part of a diverse group that met with the Governor to put forth a water bond proposal.

After final negotiations last night, the Governor and legislative leadership voted on and approved a $7.545 billion bond. The ongoing severe drought in California underscores the need to invest in innovative, long-term solutions to California’s water future.  CalTrout believes the Water Bond of 2014 provides the right balance of investment to facilitate sustainable water management in California. Here are some highlights…

  • $1.495 billionProtecting Rivers, Lakes, Streams, Coastal Waters and Watersheds
    The Water Bond will support priority on-the-ground watershed restoration work, with funding distributed in a way that will ensure an equitable investment of these funds across the state, from our coastal wetlands to our inland rivers, lakes and streams.  Funding will go to existing conservancies and for the first time ever the Department of Fish and Wildlife will receive allocated funding. It provides funding for the state’s obligation for Klamath dam removal ($250 million), fish passage, addressing impacts of climate change, watershed restoration projects, land acquisition and instream flow enhancements (acquisition of water rights).
  • $810 millionRegional Water Security, Climate, and Drought Preparedness
    Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM), including funding for water recycling, groundwater management, water supply and other projects. While CalTrout has had mixed success working within the IRWM framework, we recognize the value of this program, and support inclusion of significant funds for its continuation.  CalTrout is actively involved in IRWM projects in the Eastern Sierra.
  • $2.7 billionStatewide water System Operational Improvement and Drought Preparedness
    This is water storage which could potentially lead to new dams and was the sticking point for many Republicans. They wanted $3 billion for Los Voqueros Reservoir expansion, building Temperence Flat (on San Joaquin above Millerton Reservoir) and Sites Reservoir (off channel storage west of Colusa in Central Valley). To build any of these surface storage project would also require a substantial user (water districts, irrigations districts) pay match.

    The Water Storage provision remains the most controversial for CalTrout.  We remain concerned about how and where water storage dollars will be appropriated.  We understand priorities for where to spend these dollars are on two projects—an expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir in the East Bay and newly constructed Sites Reservoir, an off channel reservoir west of I-5 in the Sacramento Valley.  The other project that gets mentioned is Temperance Flat, a new dam just above Millerton Reservoir (Friant Dam) on the San Joaquin.

    These funds can also be used for groundwater storage, conjunctive use and reservoir re-operations—important points we lobbied for. Groundwater storage has huge potential and needed to part of this mix.

  • $725 millionWater Recycling
    This section was very important to Southern California legislators—storm water runoff, salt water intrusion mitigation, etc.
  • $900 millionGroundwater Sustainability
    Another important section that provides funding to implement groundwater reform legislation we are actively supporting. Groundwater treatment, storage and sustainable management.   Conjunctive use of surface and groundwater supplies is critical to preparing for future droughts in California.  The Water Bond is coordinated with pending groundwater management reform legislation.
  • $520 millionClean, Safe and Reliable Drinking Water
  • $395 millionFlood Management
    We worked hard on this section to make it not just about levees. We secured language that calls for projects to be multi-benefit projects—public safety and river healthy. This ties into our work at Knagg’s Ranch and provides potential funding for future floodplain projects.

During drought times we need to find collaborative solutions that work for people and fish. Trout, steelhead and salmon are important indicators of watershed health and are important drivers of many rural and coastal economies. Work done to improve the status of these species directly benefits safe drinking water supplies, water quality, and the economic health of all Californians. We believe this water bond is a step in that direction.


Save the Smith from Mining

CalTrout let you know earlier this year about a nickel mine being proposed in the headwaters of the Smith River in Oregon. We published an op-ed in May in the San Francisco Chronicle highlighting the threat.

We have now learned of the submission of a water license by the mining company to the Oregon Water Resources Department to extract water from a tributary of the North Fork Smith River.

California’s most pristine river needs your voice now! The Public comment period for this 5-year limited water license is open from June 24 until July 8, 2014.

Click here for the public comment section for the project or email the Oregon Water Resources Director at or phone at 503-986-0900

Dear Director:

The Oregon portion of the North Smith River watershed on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is being targeted for a large nickel mine that would devastate the area for recreation and pollute water for municipalities of California. Proposed test drilling for the nickel mine requires thousands of gallons of water. The Red Flat Nickel Corp (owned by St Peter Port Capital, United Kingdom) applied to Oregon Water Resources Department for a 5-year limited license to take public water from Taylor Creek for industrial mining purposes.

I believe the limited license LL1533 should be denied because the water use would impair one of California’s last remaining salmon and steelhead strongholds. The Smith River is an economically important recreation area and water extraction by the mine would be a detriment to the public interest.

This proposed water diversion is the first of many potential impacts to the Smith River if this strip mine is approved.  The strip mine will also leach toxic metals, increase sediment loads, and result in the accidental release of processing chemicals. 

Smith River is one of California’s premier “Salmon Strongholds”.  The Smith is home to coastal Chinook salmon, steelhead, coho salmon and coastal cutthroat trout.   The Smith is the largest undammed river in California.  The Smith deserves full protection from the threats of strip mines. 

I urge you to protect the Smith River and deny the Red Flat Nickel mine’s application for a 5-year limited license to extract water from the headwaters of the Smith River. 


Red Flat Nickel Corp. plans to drill 35 3-inch diameter holes to a depth of 50 feet to obtain core samples of minerals adjacent to existing roads. The location of the proposed mine is 8 miles east of Gold Beach, Oregon, in the area known as Red Flat within the Hunter Creek and North Fork Pistol River watersheds in the headwaters of the Smith River.

These exploratory mining operations are being reviewed by the Forest Service and there will be a NEPA comment period, anticipated for November 2014.

You can find more information at and clicking on RF-38 Test Drilling #41652.


Urgent! Contact Senator Feinstein — Tell Her She Needs To Preserve Funding For Steelhead & Salmon Recovery

As I post this, it’s 10:42 Pacific Time (3/14/2013). In just a few hours, the Senate will likely vote on an amendment that would strip funding for steelhead and salmon restoration projects all over the west — including projects on California’s Sacramento, Klamath, Trinity, Smith, Eel, Ventura Rivers (and many more).

That’s why we’re asking you to contact Senator Diane Feinstein right now. Tell her to vote “NO” on the McCain amendment to the Continuing Resolution (the CR will fund the government through Sept. 30).

Contact Senator Feinstein Right Now!
Time is tight, so it’s best to call her at (202) 224-3841
If you can’t call, then email Feinstein

  • Urge Senator Feinstein to vote against the McCain amendment, which will slash $65 million in badly needed funding for salmon and steelhead restoration
  • Tell her restoration efforts not only benefit fish, but also lead to the creation of commercial/sport fishery jobs — jobs we need badly in these tough economic times

Contact Senator Feinstein Right Now!
Time is tight, so it’s best to call her at (202) 224-3841
If you can’t call, then email Senator Feinstein

Have A Few Extra Seconds?

Then contact Senator Barbara Boxer
(202) 224-3553
Email Senator Boxer

Take 30 Seconds To Fight Stanford’s Plan To Harm Endangered Steelhead

Stanford University is proposing a controversial Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) that continues to ignore the effects Searsville Dam has on endangered species like Steelhead trout.

In less than a minute, you can leave a public comment on the Environmental Impact Study that tells Stanford — and federal agencies — to own up to the damage caused by Stanford’s leaky, silted-in Searsville dam.

From the site:

Federal wildlife officials are poised to finalize Stanford University’s deeply flawed Habitat Conservation Plan, a move that would compromise the health of San Francisquito Creek and San Francisco Bay, while posing new flooding and Searsville Dam safety concerns. Adoption of this 50-year plan, and associated federal permits to allow Stanford to incidentally harm and kill endangered species like steelhead trout, would be a major setback for ongoing watershed planning efforts to implement comprehensive habitat restoration and improve regional flood protection.

Click here to offer a public comment (it only takes a few seconds).

December Water Talk Rescheduled

The December 15 Water Talk (The KBRA and KHSA) has been rescheduled to January 19 (click for more information).

Thirty Seconds To Better Steelhead & Salmon Fishing in California (and a Stronger Economy)

The facts are clear: The four lower Klamath River dams (which are currently throttling the salmon and steelhead populations on what used to be the west coast’s third-most productive salmon fishery) are not only bad for fish, they’re bad for California’s economy (if updated instead of removed, they’d run at a $20 million annual loss).

Copco Dam

Copco dam has outlived its usefulness -- and would even run at a $20 million loss...

And in literally thirty seconds, you can help us take them out.

Simply click here and offer a public comment supporting Alternative 2 (Full Dam Removal) of the Klamath Draft EIS/EIR.

While a supporting comment in your own words is always helpful, we’ve already written a sample comment which you can simply cut and paste into the very simple comment form (sample comment and picture of the form included below).

For an executive summary of the Draft EIS/EIR, click here.

For more information about the Klamath River Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and other Klamath Issues, click here.

CalTrout is committed to working on this issue — expect to see more emails, articles and Trout Clouts on this important fight.


Click here to comment — and help restore California’s steelhead and salmon populations.

##### Sample Comment #####

Subject: Klamath Draft EIS/EIR: I support Alternative 2

Comment: I support Alternative 2 of the Klamath Draft EIS/EIR proposal (full removal of the Iron Gate, Copco1, Copco2, and J.C. Boyle dams).

    • These dams are decimating one of the west’s most prolific salmon and steelhead fisheries and strangling the area’s economy
    • Alternative 2 will help restore salmon runs (dramatically increasing steelhead populations), and ensure predictable water deliveries to irrigators
    • The dams don’t make economic sense: if upgraded to modern standards they’ll actually operate at a $20 million annual loss
    • Even the owner (PacifiCorp) wants these privately owned dams taken out

I support healthy fisheries and a healthy local economy (dam removal brings many jobs to the area) — and I support Alternative 2.

Thank you,
[your name]


Click here to comment — and help restore California’s steelhead and salmon populations.

Help recover the Klamath River’s fabled steelhead and salmon runs

In thirty seconds, tell your elected officials you want the Klamath River restored

The fight to remove the four aging dams that have throttled the Klamath River’s once-great salmon and steelhead runs is heating up.

We need your help to succeed.

By telling your senators you support legislation enabling the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA), you’ll increase the Klamath River’s endangered salmon runs by as much as 80% (steelhead will benefit too).

Removing the four lower Klamath River dams will open up nearly 400 miles of salmon and steelhead spawning habitat — and remove the source of toxic algae blooms that turn the Klamath pea-soup green every summer.

It’s time for these aging dams to come out — and for a healthy Klamath River to once again become one of the largest salmon producers on the west coast.

Click here, and thirty seconds from now, you’ll be done.

What is The KBRA?

The KBRA is an agreement among 26 diverse groups who grew tired of the lawsuits and lack of progress in the Klamath basin.

Klamath River Dam

Give steelhead and salmon access to 400 more miles of spawning habitat...

Under the KBRA, the lower four Klamath Dams would come down, and salmon habitat restoration projects would revitalize 400 miles of prime habitat opened to salmon.

Irrigators — suffering for years from unpredictable water supplies — would be able to count on regular water deliveries.

And the Klamath’s economically depressed surroundings would benefit from 4600 jobs — including new agriculture and recreation jobs.

Click here to tell your senator to support legislation that supports the KBRA.

Trout Clout Alert: Urge Governor Brown to Regulate Suction-Dredge Mining


We need your help to ensure Governor Brown signs AB120 into law. Here’s why:

Suction Dredge Mining Threatens California’s Streams & Rivers

Suction dredge operations use gas powered pumps to suck up water and gravel through a hose to sort out gold.

As Dr. Peter Moyle points out, suction dredge operations can harm fish, especially endangered steelhead and salmon. Impacts include disturbance of spawning gravels, directly sucking small fish and invertebrates through the pump, and resuspending mercury — trapped in the gravel from past mining operations — back into streams.

AB120 will help control these negative impacts to steelhead and salmon by requiring that Fish and Game adopt and implement regulations that mitigate all significant water quality, wildlife and cultural/historical impacts.

You can see CalTrout’s comments on the recently released Environmental Impact Report on suction dredging here.

Suction Dredge Mining Costs Taxpayers Money

It costs the state far more to administer the suction dredge mining program than permit fees bring in; AB120 requires Fish & Game to adopt a fee structure that pays for the agency’s cost of administering and enforcing mining regulations.

If AB120 is signed into law — and Fish and Game fails to meet these two requirements — the agency is prohibited from adopting regulations or issuing mining permits for five years.

Click here to tell Governor Brown to sign A.B. 120 — protecting our rivers, streams and drinking water from this destructive mining practice.

Stanford University Needs to Protect Steelhead; Here’s How You Can Help

San Francisquito Creek represents prime habitat for the SF Bay Area’s few remaining endangered steelhead trout. Stanford University is avoiding bringing Searsville Dam into compliance with the Endangered Species Act and continues to threaten the survival of this iconic fish.

That’s why we’re asking you to tell Stanford and federal agencies to live up to the law.


Stanford University’s antiquated Searsville Dam blocks approximately 20 miles of historic habitat for federally protected steelhead trout on San Francisquito Creek. Stanford wants to exclude Searsville Dam from the permitting process normally required for new construction and ongoing endangered species impact.

In addition to blocking access for steelhead spawning and rearing, Searsville Dam dewaters the creek, degrades downstream water quality and habitat, which is designated “critical habitat” for steelhead, and helps spread non-native predatory species in the San Francisquito Creek watershed.

Rather than include Searsville Dam in the Habitat Conservation Plan (where landowners receive “incidental take” permits in return for negotiated species protections), Stanford wants to exclude the operation of Searsville Dam from this critical process, leaving them free to harm steelhead populations without any real oversight and out of compliance with multiple state and federal laws.

We do not believe Stanford can unilaterally decide to avoid their legal requirements at Searsville Dam while continuing to seek coverage of their campus water supply system, of which Searsville Dam is an integral component.

We are encouraged that Stanford recognizes the criticality of this issue with the recent formation of a university blue-ribbon panel to address Searsville. It is our belief, however, that this internal approach does not relieve them of their legal responsibilities.


Make Stanford take responsibility for Searsville Dam; send a polite but direct email asking federal resource agencies to hold off releasing their Environmental Impact Study for Stanford’s flawed Habitat Conservation Plan until Stanford acknowledges and adequately addresses the impacts of Searsville Dam and their entire water diversion system on federally protected steelhead trout.

Also, insist that a revised and corrected Habitat Conservation Plan and supplemental draft Environmental Impact Statement be released for public review and commentary.


Gary Stern, National Marine Fisheries Service:
Sheila Larson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
Catherine Palter, Stanford Environmental Planning:
John Hennessy, Stanford President:

For more information see