Last week we had the pleasure of getting to know Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) and Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) on a field trip to Clearwater Lodge where we fished the Pit and Fall Rivers and Hat Creek. Along with some fun times spent on the water, and seeing Jim catch his first fish on a fly rod, we toured Hat Creek, the state’s first Wild Trout Management Area and where we recently have restored in-stream habitat and improved recreational infrastructure. This includes the installation of a pedestrian bridge at the historic Carbon Bridge site from which our group saw two bald eagles fly overhead, putting an exclamation point on the beauty and grandness of this area.
This was also a great opportunity to share with our legislators the value of the area’s spring-fed rivers to California’s water supply, and what CalTrout is doing to better understand and protect them. Stockton and Elk Grove, along with many of California’s largest cities and towns, may be hundreds of miles away from these areas, but these spring waters can be traced directly to the tap of millions of Californians as far south as San Diego.
Working in Sacramento with our legislators is an important part of CalTrout’s working model. We work in areas throughout the state where wild fish influence communities. We solve complex resource issues that benefit wild fish and people. We scale up and memorialize these successes in Sacramento through new policies and state funding directed at these programs. And in turn these policies and funding go back to these communities. It is a successful feedback loop.
With the current legislative session just ending, we are pleased to report the successful passing of Senate Bill 5, the new ‘Park Bond’. This funding bill still needs the governor’s signature (likely) and then goes to the voters next year for passage. If passed, the $4.1 billion would go towards water and parks projects in California.
Developing positive relationships and giving tours of the amazing rivers in California showing off our work has positioned CalTrout as the go-to organization for legislators for guidance on issues pertaining to fish, water, and people.