- Thanks to grants from @CaliforniaDFW, we're moving forward w/ 3 fish passage improvement projects across #California https://t.co/n8Xo6RWD0K ->
- RT @USFWSSac: MT @RiceNews: Our #carice fields in the #sacvalley provide food & habitat for #birds, food for people & now food for #fish! @… ->
- March Streamkeeper's blog, "A call from across the pond" https://t.co/EmAjazXICu ->
- Thanks for coming to the show – https://t.co/y1gBM0KRBz ->
- We need your voice to restore #SoCal #steelhead habitat. Submit comments on removal of #RindgeDam on #MalibuCreek https://t.co/wuGfHpHb50 ->
- We're changing the conversation from fish or farms to #fishANDfarms. #CAwater https://t.co/HzdN0IsKjT ->
- These fish are thankful for the rain! Spawning coho salmon on the North Coast, photo by Mike Wier #mindfishmondays… https://t.co/BsLHi96Y5P ->
- Stop by CalTrout's booth at the Banff Mountain Film Fest this weekend in Bishop https://t.co/LIyniclCol #BanffWorldTour ->
- Hey #Sacramento we're bringing the Int'l Fly Fishing Film Fest to you this Thurs Mar 30! 7 pm Tower Theater. Buy ti… https://t.co/QyoMBHjFYp ->
- Speak up! If you want clean water & healthy ecosystems, call your legislators today. Script & phone numbers here… https://t.co/R5It3jG88U ->
CalTrout is excited to announce that we are the recipient of three grants totaling over $5 million to fund large-scale fish passage improvement projects at Little Shasta River in the Shasta River Watershed, Mill Creek, a tributary to the Scott River in Siskiyou County, and Woodman Creek, a tributary to the Eel River in Mendocino County.
Our Shasta office will be implementing the Hart Ranch Instream Flow Enhancement Project thanks to a $2.2 million grant from the Wildlife Conservation Board using Proposition 1 funds. In cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences, the project involves dedicating 1.5 cubic feet per second (cfs) of cold water to the Little Shasta River on a privately owned land six miles east of Montague. This will be accomplished through a combination of on-farm efficiency savings and voluntary flow contributions from existing priority water rights. This water will enhance year round flows starting in the foothills and specifically target the out-migration of juvenile Coho salmon from April 1 through June 30.
The Shasta River was historically one of the most productive salmon streams in California. However, after more than a century of aquatic and riparian habitat degradation, dramatic declines in wild salmon populations have been observed, particularly with the federally threatened coho salmon. The observed decline of coho coincided with the development of both surface and groundwater sources in support of irrigated agricultural activities throughout the Shasta Basin including the Little Shasta River. The Little Shasta River is over-appropriated for agricultural use. During the recent drought, this led to “zero-flow” conditions throughout most of the lower valley reach. These conditions contribute to passage limitations for adult and juvenile salmonids, reductions in structurally complex aquatic habitat, and degraded water temperature conditions during juvenile coho over-summering. While a 1.5 cfs enhancement will not completely re-water the Little Shasta River year-around, it will significantly improve out-migration conditions and provide additional summer base flow, maintaining a wetted channel for a significantly longer a period of time.
The Shasta will also be working on fish passage on Mill Creek (Shackleford Creek) with a $604,408 awarded from California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program. Mill Creek is an important tributary to Scott River –one of four major tributaries of the Klamath River and an important native coho salmon river in the Interior Klamath River diversity stratum.
This project replaces a heavily used, unimproved ford/low water crossing structure on Mill Creek that creates a partial barrier for juvenile coho salmon in search of rearing habitat – with a steel bridge. The unimproved ford, used year round by local residents accessing private property, also contributes to excessive sedimentation and degraded floodplain interactions with the natural stream channel.
CalTrout’s North Coast office will be continuing on with their Woodman Creek Fish Passage Project thanks to $2.2 million in funding from California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program. Working in collaboration with Michael Love & Associates and Pacific Watershed Associates, the project involves removing the Northwest Pacific Railroad crossing at the mouth of Woodman Creek, a tributary to the Eel River. The railroad crossing is a complete barrier to upstream migration. Woodman Creek is listed in the National Marine Fisheries Service Recovery Plan with high Intrinsic Potential. This project is the single largest barrier removal project in the Eel River, and will restore the historic channel-mouth configuration to allow unimpeded Coho, Chinook, and steelhead access to approximately 14 miles of habitat that are currently unavailable. Fish passage assessment, design, and remediation has been a critically important restoration activity in salmonid-bearing streams throughout the North Coast Region, as a means to restore salmonids and ultimately the river ecosystems and the commercial and recreational salmon fisheries they support.
To learn more about this project, we encourage you to check out our short film Return to Abundance: Barrier Removal about our work on the Eel River.
Water is variable and limited in California, often times pitting agriculture against the environment, particularly fish. CalTrout has shown that, with smart water management and infrastructure, we can balance the needs of wild fish and people — it doesn’t need to be fish OR farms.
Check out this video by The Economist featuring executive director Curtis Knight to get both sides of the water story.
California’s five-year drought is a divisive issue. We spoke to a fisherman and a farmer to see both sides
Posted by The Economist on Wednesday, March 22, 2017
For more on this topic, check out our film No Going Back to see how we’ve found solutions that work for fish AND farms: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmo5eHbQ-fk
- Hope you've enjoyed the nice weather and got out on the water this weekend! Storm's coming in fast. Photo: M. Wier.… https://t.co/u6a4k7A9KJ ->
- #Flyfishing film fest this Wednesday! Buy tix: https://t.co/z9YJ4SjuOB @VenturingAngler @LCOFlyFishing #Eastbay… https://t.co/iVg8D5LjGw ->
- Behind the scenes w/ field reporter & videographer Mike Wier, shooting for new film on CalTrout's #SoCal #steelhead… https://t.co/5sgImCOjez ->
- #CAwater is variable & limited, often pitting agriculture vs environment, esp. fish. Hear both sides: https://t.co/6X3ENXT7Kk #WorldWaterDay ->
The Eel River is staged for a comeback. And CalTrout is leading the way to accomplish this. We hope you enjoyed our five-part video series where we shared our headwaters-to-sea approach for returning the Eel River to its historic abundance. Our comprehensive plans include restoring the estuary, ensuring adequate flows for fish, removing barriers, and engaging in the Potter Valley Project dam relicensing process. We’re thrilled that our video series garnered so much attention. Check them out on CalTrout’s vimeo page if you missed them.
As part of our campaign, we were curious to hear from our supporters about their time spent on the Eel River. We know it’s a special place for many people, anglers, wildlife enthusiasts, hikers, and families looking for fun on the river. After hearing our story about the Eel, we asked folks to submit their own. Here are some of our favorite submissions. Enjoy! (To learn more about our Eel River project go to caltrout.org/eel)
Last summer my friends and I walked the entire coastline of California from Oregon to Mexico on the California Coastal Trail. In the rugged and wild north coast, we had to figure out how to cross many river mouths, including the place where the Eel River meets the sea. Routing inland to the road bridge would have added dozens of miles to our journey, so we were really hoping to find another way across. Luckily, Jens and Tyrone of Mad River Tackle offered to take us across in their boat. We marveled at the clear water and the seals hauling out on the shore.
The next day, we made the strenuous climb up Wildcat ridge to avoid the treacherous coastline at False Cape. We were rewarded with sweeping views to the north, over forested ridges and down to the bright blue mouth of the Eel River.
My Father grew up under the shadow of the Redwood giants and fished the beautiful veins of life that coursed between them. He himself has seen the abundance that once was, and always says, “If I knew then; if we knew then, what we do now”. He says, “it didn’t always used to be this way.” To me, abundance has a negative connotation. Growing up and being attached to the outdoors and fly fishing, everything in abundance I’ve known was taken advantage of, farmed to near extinction, or reaped for all its worth and left to die. The only abundance I’ve known are from the stories my Father has told me.
But, there is hope.
We can still connect to the wild, and I can be a part of something that is free and abundant once more. There is hope on the horizon and a wonderful group of people working to protect and care for the Eel.
I look at #myeelstory in this way; before I was born part of the story was already open and inked, but there is the rest of the story waiting to be continued. We are at the point of knowing what we know now. The rest of #myeelstory has yet to be written and if I want the next chapter to be better than the last, responsibility falls on me and my fellow anglers.
All I know now is fishing for one of the toughest fish to catch, the hardest way is something I love to do. There’s something special about swinging a fly for Steelhead and Salmon under the shadows of the same majestic trees my Father grew up underneath. I’m just need to be in the right place at the right time when the children’s children, of the fish my Father used to catch, happens to be swimming by.
One day, maybe I’ll be able to tell my own child abundance is a special thing, and it didn’t always used to be this way. It’s up to you and I to protect and cherish abundance. That way, your children and their children can swing a fly under the shadows of Redwoods my Father once did; through a river with abundant, wild, and free runs.
Born and raised in Laytonville, my earliest memories of the Eel were trips over Dos Rios Road in search of deep blue pools of cold water to escape the summer heat. Small sandy beaches surrounded by plenty of rocks to jump from, it was by far one of my favorite summer activities. Little did I know that I was in the beginning stages of what would become a long, and meaningful relationship with what I call my home river. Although I didn’t see the Eel under the same light as I do now, there was an unspoken respect and pride I had for it. I now realize that, although unforeseen in early childhood, those early memories would blossom into great respect and admiration for this one-of-a-kind river. My views of the river during childhood were somewhat naive. I viewed it as an untouched wilderness, unaware of its history. I didn’t think much of its future, just as I didn’t think much of its past, it was just there and what it was. Until I was ten years old, we lived on the banks of Ten Mile creek. In winter months, no more than 200 feet from the house, we would watch salmon that seemed as big as ourselves in search of their spawning grounds. Seeing fish that size, that close, was seared into my memory.
Being somewhat distracted in high school, the Eel still served as a place to have fun. Every now and then the trout rod would be taken along. Having spent plenty of time fishing trout in other places, I treated the Eel like a summer trout stream, not with any real expectations but because it seemed like the right thing to do. River = fish. At this point I can’t say I was an informed fisherman, just a kid with a fishing pole. There wasn’t much talk around this time about fishing the eel , it seemed like it was viewed as damaged, or broken. It wasn’t until I headed northbound for college at College of The Redwoods (2003) that I started to learn about the Eel, among other local rivers like the Mattole, and Mad. My perspective started to radically change from blissfully ignorant to concern. This also coincided with my interest to want to do more salmon/steelhead fishing. As my knowledge for the Eel River’s history of abuse grew, my appreciation for it grew as well. Having spent so much time with the Eel growing up, I wondered why there wasn’t more talk about it. Maybe there was and I wasn’t hearing it, or maybe people’s passion for it was dwindling from years of hardship. Nonetheless, my journey was just taking off. After college I spent a lot of time fishing. Mainly after trout with a 5 weight fly rod, I traveled in search of cutthroats in the Bitterroot, and Flathead Rivers of Montana. Also stopping in to fish the Salmon River in Idaho. I traveled north to Washington’s Cowlits River for Steelhead. I made countless trips to more local streams like Hat Creek, Carson River, Sacramento River, and the Trinity River searching for Trout. With each trip my thirst to explore grew. Something was growing inside of me that craved more trees, mountains, wildlife, and the best way to bridge the gap between myself and nature. It’s as if growing up in the beauty of Mendocino county, inspired my hunger to find other beautiful, and wild places. A feeling I’ve come to really enjoy as well, is coming home. Each time with more love, and appreciation for how special places like the Eel River are. Through things like backpacking and fishing, I’ve found a way to bridge that gap. Lately I’ve spent a lot of time supporting and fishing the Eel.
The idea of the Eel returning to abundance is exciting, and I have so much respect for people fighting for the Eel. I’ve talked to old timers who reminisce on the Eel River’s glory days. They talk about a river that I’ve never seen. My generation has built its respect on a river with far less fish. But instead of complaining I get more ambitious, more devoted to the chase. Thank you CalTrout!
From Dan Casas:
Following in the footsteps of my grandparents, and their parents before them, I savor the Eel River and our family’s history with that river and others in the Six Rivers National Forest. My grandmother, Esther, was born and raised on the Eel River at Camp Grant, just over the hill from South Fork, appropriately named as it is located on the South Fork Eel River. My great grandfather lost his ranch in the big flood of ’64, although his son stayed and farmed his ranch along the South Fork. I recently talked about the Eel in the 60s with an uncle who taught at a local school. He said that he would stop on the way home from school and catch a steelhead trout or salmon within 5-10 minutes. Those were the days! I make at least one or two trips from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Eel River every winter in search of the elusive steelhead, camping among the giant redwoods that inundate the landscape along the Eel. Although not familiar with all places on Earth, I suspect that the forks of the Eel River and the watershed landscape are unique and as beautiful as it gets. The more help I can give to turn back the clock and make the Eel closer to what it used to be, with salmon and steelhead thriving, the better.
Born and raised in San Francisco I’ve always felt like a city girl with a rural soul. My hippy parents had bought some land with friends in Willits in the 60’s. As a kid we would drive up along Highway 101 from San Francisco to Willits regularly. I would always get excited when we hit the Russian River along the way. But it was when I was in high school that we made the trip up that way with a purpose. We headed up to Fortuna for Redwoodstock – the final protest and celebration of the end of Redwood Summer – a peaceful anti-logging action. A couple years later I was driving that route on my own back and forth from my home in SF to College up in Arcata at Humboldt State. Stopping along the Eel River and resting in the deep shade of the Redwoods, or dipping my feet in the cold waters, has always been nourishment and inspiration for my spirit. And since then I have driven across the country many times and still consider that route on 101 along the Eel River to be the most beautiful drive of them all. I am still not settled, currently living in Novato, CA. But I would not be surprised if I found myself someday planting my roots somewhere close to the Eel River. It seems to be a part of my personal topography.
- RT @BrianStranko: CA needs 21st century #Cawater solutions for #flood & #cadrought: partnered w @CalTrout– @sacbee_news https://t.co/hNRiEW… ->
- RT @VenturingAngler: Join the Five Rivers Challenge to Benefit CalTrout
https://t.co/eDTySKBAOz @CalTrout #flyfishing ->
- RT @farmwater: Applaud @CalTrout @Conserve_CA Cooperation on #cawater holistic policy that helps all Urban, farm, enviro #cadrought https:/… ->
- RT @BrianStranko: Proud of our @Conserve_CA #Water team and partners @CalTrout @tu_cal for securing water grants! https://t.co/eJGs2vDWND… ->
- Upgrade #CAwater's system & #workwithnature. Let #floodplains flood again. ❤️ #YoloBypass https://t.co/ywr3lW8RLt #Orovilledam #watercrisis ->
- "One river that never seems to go away is the #McCloud. Imagine what it might have looked like before the dams chan… https://t.co/yJqH7AHzDo ->
- Program Mgr Candice Meneghin discusses endangered #SoCal #steelhead & how to balance needs of #fish & people https://t.co/kr3WN0Vyu0 @vcstar ->
- THURS 1st showing #FlyFishing Film Fest. Buy tix https://t.co/z9YJ4SjuOB or at door #BayArea #Marin @LCOFlyFishing… https://t.co/kOTibiT1xU ->
- 2 more weeks for Humboldt @SteelheadDays fishing contest! 3 winners on 3 rivers: Mad, Trinity & Eel. $1000 prize!… https://t.co/JEMXPlrzvJ ->
Southern California steelhead are survivors. Unlike their Northern California cousins, they have adapted to seasonally dry streams in the arid climate at the extreme southern end of the steelhead range. Tens of thousands of these prized sport fish used to return to Southern California streams every year, but now they’re stopped by dams and water diversions, urban development, and livestock grazing. These impacts have decimated southern steelhead runs, and today, only a few hundred of the iridescent fish make their yearly spawning pilgrimage.
The recovery of these endangered fish is the focus of many of our projects operated out of California Trout’s Southern California offices. We are leading collaborations of non-profit organizations, government resource agencies, and interested stakeholders through our Santa Clara River Steelhead Coalition and the South Coast Steelhead Coalition which covers Orange and San Diego counties. These coalitions execute a multitude of projects dedicated to Southern California steelhead recovery, such as drafting recovery plans, watershed restoration, infrastructure improvement projects to remove barriers hindering fish passage, water quality testing, and public education and engagement.
Balancing the needs of fish and people in California is a challenge. It is imperative that we “figure out how to support essential human activity while also protecting critical water flows and providing fish passage. Today, nowhere is this tension more acute than along our South Coast”, as stated by our Southern California Conservation Programs Manager, Candice Meneghin, in an article to the Ventura County Star.
We highly encourage you to read Candice’s article where she discusses more about the plight of the southern steelhead and what CalTrout and other partners are doing about it.
⇒ Forging the Future of Steelhead, Ventura County Star
As we learn more about Congress and the State’s focus on building more dams, CalTrout remains invested in finding better solutions, ones that involve working with nature, rather than against it. How can we accomplish this? Allow floodplains to live up to their name and flood. Prime example is the Yolo Bypass which plays a vital role in flood protection from the city of Sacramento. Several times this winter, floodwaters were diverted onto the Yolo floodplain, keeping Sacramento residents safe and dry. During times of intense rain, floodwaters can be diverted onto the floodplain, mimicking the natural and historical purpose of the floodplains.
Reconnecting rivers to their floodplains is a win-win-win situation. Over-pumped groundwater aquifers are recharged, habitat is restored for waterbirds and fish, and more reservoir storage becomes available with dam operators able to release more water during floods.
What’s not to love?
In the face of a changing climate, aging water infrastructure, and conflicting goals, this situation is becoming increasingly critical. It is very clear, especially in the wake of the crisis at Oroville dam: California’s water system is overdue for an upgrade. Continuing our heavy reliance on “grey” infrastructure will not be able to meet California’s future water needs (as it hasn’t with our past and current needs).
Jacob Katz, CalTrout’s Central Valley Senior Scientist, reviewed this topic in a brilliant op-ed piece in the Sacramento Bee, written in conjunction with Brian Stranko, Director of the Nature Conservancy’s California Water Program:
Our Nigiri Project in the Central Valley demonstrates our love for floodplains and the Yolo Bypass. We’ve validated that California’s floodplains can work for both fish AND farms. When water is slowed down and spread out across agricultural fields (i.e., historic floodplains that sit dormant in the winter) a bug buffet is created. Learn more about the project here or watch our small film about a big idea, No Going Back.
- #MyEelStory from Dustin Decker: "Seeing fish that size, that close, was seared into my memory", from childhood in L… https://t.co/8XEjmUGUpl ->
- Your heard our #EelRiver story, how it will #returntoabundance. Now let's hear yours. #MyEelStory or submit at… https://t.co/yMNeia0LiH ->
- Feb. Streamkeeper's bLog "Drowning or dying of thirst" https://t.co/8X1xtPdAzt #Californiawater #CalTrout https://t.co/KGLQCjR6eL ->
- Join CalTrout at the 2017 International Fly Fishing Film Festival – https://t.co/yqEn0b23U7 #flyfishing #keepemwet… https://t.co/cHMRwkhf91 ->
- Sign you & your friends up for an epic fishing challenge this summer in NorCal's wild trout waters https://t.co/f1r0t3DKji #5RiversChallenge ->
- Join us for the 5 Rivers Challenge on CA's wild trout waters #flyfishing https://t.co/agSUuM8nwj @ClearwaterLodge… https://t.co/c731aOr1u3 ->