A foreign company plans to mine nearly 4,000 acres of public land in southern Oregon that drains into the North Fork Smith Wild & Scenic River in California. If the company is allowed to fully develop its claims, it would mean a toxic legacy of ore pits, mining waste, water diversions, and haul roads in some of the most productive salmon and steelhead habitat in the entire Smith River drainage. In addition to polluting the Smith River, which is renowned for its world-class fisheries and water quality, the mining plan would also destroy tributaries to the Smith River that are eligible for Wild & Scenic protection and ruin the heart of a recommended addition to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Read the full story and take action to help prevent such mining.
Friends of the River also documents other river campaigns such as gold mining which could use your support.
TU's Women's Initiative was launched in 2011 to address the concern that only 6 percent of all TU members were women, while at the same time women made up 36 percent of all anglers in the U.S.
Since the initiative was started, TU has seen a 25 percent increase in women membership!
The new Women's Initiative Newsletter "On the Rise" is designed to share the best practices and lessons learned by your fellow volunteers in recruiting, retaining and engaging women in TU and in leadership roles.
Join the Movement! Become a Women’s Initiative Chair for Your Chapter or Council! Men are welcome to serve as initiative chairs, too! www.tu.org/women
Suspended face down, floating along with the current in the crystal clear waters of a river on Oregon's Coast Range, I glide over a riffle into a deep pool to find myself face to face with more than 20 chrome-bright, adult steelhead staring back at this strange, snorkel-wearing creature invading their territory.
After maneuvering behind a rock at the tail-end of the pool, I became lost in this magical underwater world of caddis fly larva, crawfish, sculpin, and mystical 30-inch long creatures that have traveled to places as far flung as Kamchatka and Japan, only to find their way back to their natal streams to spawn and start the cycle all over again. More importantly, I know the information I have gathered on this day of snorkel surveying will add important scientific data to TU's efforts to save wild steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. By Kyle Smith, Trout Unlimited.
The upper part of Richardson Lake Road in the Eldorado National Forest’s Pacific Ranger District is open for motorized vehicle use, after corrective work on the route.
Richardson Lake Road, or 14N39, is on the far northeastern end of the forest and must be accessed via other roads leading from the Lake Tahoe area. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required to reach the 2.65-mile road, which is used to reach Richardson Lake for camping and fishing, and to travel to the top of Sourdough Hill to enjoy scenic vistas, including a view toward the Rubicon Trail, according to a U.S. Forest Service news release. The route also provides access to the Pacific Crest Trail.
Other routes that have reopened after meadow protection work was completed:
▪ Barrett Lake four-wheel-drive trail, opened July 23
▪ Woods Spur, or 10N01B, opened July 7
▪ Mud Lake section of the Carson Emigrant Trail up to Mud Lake, or 17E32, and Allen’s Camp, opened in June
▪ Stockton Camp Road, or 09N08, opened in September
▪ 47 Mile Road, or 11NY32, opened in October
▪ North Shanty Spur, or 16E33, opened in November
▪ Mule Canyon, or 10N14, opened in November
▪ Schneider Camp Road, or 10N13, up to the new parking area near the old barn spur road, opened in November
These roads were part of the 42 roads challenged in 2012 as a result of the Travel Management Plan. See the full Bee story.
There is an historic river restoration project going on right now on the central coast of California: the removal of San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River. The Carmel is one of the most important watersheds for steelhead in this region. San Clemente Dam is the largest dam ever removed in California, and TU has had a hand in getting this historic project to the goal line. This summer, the San Clemente Dam Removal and River Re-route Project entered its final construction phase, and TU's Central Coast Steelhead Coordinator Tim Frahm was on hand last week to observe the results. Check out his new blog post.
There are not many places in California more beautiful – or important as trout habitat – than the Kern Plateau. For many years TU (largely through the amazing drive of Howard Kern) has played a major role in the Golden Trout Restoration Project, an effective partnership with resource agencies, CalTrout, and the Federation of Fly Fishers. Our work has largely been focused on helping reduce impacts from grazing on the tiny streams of the plateau, which is the headwaters of the mainstem and south fork Kern rivers. But we are also helping to monitor aquatic habitat conditions on the plateau as drought and the warming climate reduce snowpack and soil moisture content. That’s why Jessica Strickland, our California Field Coordinator, recently made the long hike in to the area, with only her remarkable dog for company. Read about it in Jess’s new blog post.
An enthusiastic group of Citizen Scientist Water Quality Monitors have embarked on a summer of Cosumnes River visits and discovery. On April 9th, the group spent a full day learning water quality monitoring and habitat analysis with State Water Resources Clean Water Team Coordinator Erick Burres at the American River Conservancy's Nature Center and Magnolia Ranch. Each team then visited their assigned site for an opportunity to practice techniques, culminating in the first monitoring event on May 15th/16th.
The monitoring teams have diverse backgrounds and interests, ranging from college students to science professionals with over 30 years of experience, and from a variety of organizations. The group will be monitoring temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, recording observations of aquatic species and other wildlife, and conducting habitat analysis. The outcome of their research will be used to gain insight into the health of the watershed—for people and creatures—and will be the first step in gathering data for future projects. Meanwhile, the monitors have an excellent reason to visit beautiful river locations and the satisfaction of contributing to the health of one of our home watersheds
El Dorado Trout Unlimited is the home for the monitoring program, with key support and participation from partners American River Conservancy and Cosumnes Culture and WaterWays.
The EDTU Cosumnes River Water Quality Monitoring Program welcomes new volunteers throughout the year, for monitoring and many other roles. Please call Monitoring Coordinator Melinda Frost-Hurzel at 530-295-1194 for more information.
The Trout Unlimited El Dorado Chapter has adopted the Upper Cosumnes River Watershed as a restoration project. The long term goal is to return salmon and steelhead to the river above Latrobe Falls. Folklore and native peoples report the presence of these fish in the past. There is some acceptance of salmon being above the falls. Early work is directed to assessing the true past presence of these salmonids and monitoring the water quality in the watershed. The Cosumnes is one of few remaining undammed river in the state and comprises the North, Middle and South Forks and their tributaries.
Water quality in terms of quantity and temperature are paramount to the long term success. A monitoring program has begun and an initial snapshot of water quality taken in May and June of 2015. Quantity of water and stream-bank vegetation contribute to water temperature. In this drought year the river is stressed for water. There are numerous draws of the water that occur along its length. At present the river goes dry during the summer in the lower reaches. Even so, salmon have been observed at the diversion dams in the lower river.
This years work has been termed the "summer of discovery" in terms of gathering data to establish a baseline of river status. Melinda Frost-Hurzel is leading this project with assistance from the El Dorado Chapter, the American River Conservancy, Cosumnes Culture and Waterways and numerous others she networks with.
Work accomplished to date include a broad survey, tree bore samples to determine the past presence of ocean dwelling fish, temperature measurements across the watershed and dissolved oxygen measurements.
Plans have been prepared to direct the monitoring planned for 2015. There is a monitoring plan supported by a quality assurance plan and a plan for volunteer activity. To review the plans click on these links;
The volunteer crew was assembled in June to go out onto the North and Middle Forks of the Cosumnes and collect temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH measurements. The volunteers had first participated in training sessions in May and June to prepare them for going into the field. Volunteers worked in pairs and were assigned specific locations to collect data. The pairs were assigned one or more locations depending on the proximity of the varied locations. Measurement stations varied from Michigan Bar on the lower river to Leek Springs at the headwaters. There were 18 locations in all. The following links will show the station locations and results obtained: June 2015 Temperatures and flows , pH and Dissolved Oxygen
The winter of 2015 was the driest winter in California’s recorded history. But despite the great drought—and perhaps the worst arid spell for California in 1,200 years—spring-fed water flows steadily in Northern California.
You read that correctly. Even with a fourth consecutive summer of record setting drought, water from the depths of Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lassen, and the Medicine Lake Volcano rises insistently to the surface providing life for people, fish and wildlife, agriculture, and hydropower.
As the drought reduces rain water and snow melt, spring water acts as an emergency reserve, currently pumping 1.7 billion gallons a day into Shasta Reservoir. Read More
Fire can become a useful tool in protecting the National Forests from major fires.
The U.S. Forest Service has been suppressing fire since 1911, even adopting a policy calling for quelling all flames by 10 a.m. the day following the initial report. Ironically, a century of suppression has left forests overcrowded with dense stands of flammable conifers. The number of wildfires is increasing by 7 percent annually, scorching forests earlier in the season and burning with twice the intensity of the previous 100 years, studies have found.
Scientists and forest managers alike know fire belongs on the landscape, but they are flummoxed by how to reintroduce it under today’s tinderbox conditions. A controversy now playing out in California’s northwest corner is a typical result, but this one hints at how we might resolve this dilemma. Read More.