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"A paranoid schizophrenic is someone who has discovered what's going on."
                             William Burroughs

"In California water politics, paranoia is reality: They're trying to steal our water."
                              Bill Jennings (both quotes from a presentation Jennings gave at Restore The Delta)
 

Another damn dam!

The 24-foot-high Daguerre Point Dam, owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was built on the Yuba River  in 1906 to prevent hydraulic mining debris from washing into the Feather and Sacramento Rivers. The dam was equipped with two fish ladders in 1937 that Chinook salmon and steelhead have difficulty, under certain flow conditions, locating and navigating.
This last April I wrote an article on some of the issues the Yuba River was having. One of the problems was that the National Marine Fisheries Service ordered the Army Corp. of Engineers to help transport fish around both Daguerre Point and Englebright dams since the Corp. built the dams and effectively stopped fish passage. The Corp. has refused, saying its not in their mandate to do so.
 
Now, another major problem has surfaced and is a cause of major concern for the Yuba. Archon Energy, a privately-owned Canadian company, wants to build a 3 megawatt hydroelectric dam on the lower Yuba near the Daguerre Point facility. The project would be located 39 miles below the Wild and Scenic section of the river.
 
Unfortunately, Archon has shown a total disregard for public relations and neglected to inform any of the groups involved about their plans until after they had filed an application to build the dam. For over 30 years, public and private agencies have worked to restore and improve fish passage at Daguerre Point and to improve agricultural water diversions. However, in July of this year, Archon audaciously filed its request with the Federal Energy Regulatory  Agency (FERC) in which they want an "expedited permitting process". In their application they state that the "Applicant does not propose to do any new studies and is not aware of any studies that should be conducted to provide critical information to determine the potential impacts, which should be determined before licensing."
 
Archon's statement is not only audacious it is more than naive. Evidentially they are unaware of the our Endangered Species Act (ESA) and in the Yuba, the salmon, steelhead and sturgeon are threatened. Possibly they don't understand the ESA takes a dim view of sucking endangered species through turbines. Since Archon neglected the courtesy of contacting those most concerned locally, they have succeeded in infuriating them. These groups include:
.  National Marine Fisheries Service                      .  The Foothill Conservancy
.  California's Dept. of Fish and Game                   .  American White Water  
.  South Yuba River Citizens League                     .  California Sportfishing Protection Alliance 
 
The groups who have worked to save the Yuba for decades promise to fight this project every step of the way!
 
A piece of legislation that is a potential disaster for our fisheries:
 
Congressman Hastings, (R) Washington's 4th Congressional District, serving since 1995.
Last month I wrote about the success of the dams removed on the Elwha River in Washington. The removal of these two dams is turning out to be a success because of a lot of hard work and using the best science available on the project. Now however, another piece of disastrous legislation has been introduced that will permanently put an end to these restoration projects.
 
Early this August, Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Washington) has introduced HR 6247. Hastings is Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources. It has been called the "worst dam bill in our history." Hastings is part of that group in the House that is determined deregulate all environmental protection
laws regardless of the destruction it will bring either to our environment or our fisheries. This bill is particularly bad because it will:
.  Stop the Federal government from doing any scientific or economic research on removal of dams or river restoration
.  Lessen regulation on all existing dams
.  Turn back all regulations on new dams
.  Hurt citizen involvement in areas such as clean water
.  Stop all funding for NGO's working on river restoration projects
.  Forbids any federal money "from being spent on removing, partially removing or studying the removal of any dam that currently generates or at one time has generated hydropower. (without express approval of Congress)
.  Put techniques at risk that have significantly increased salmon survival. 
 
Many feel that HR 6247 will not make it for a vote soon, this year being and election year. Hopefully they are right. Its unfortunate that committee chairs get their position based neither on their education nor skill, but rather on their party and seniority. 
 
The fun part part of the Conservation Chair's job

Katherine Evatt, president of the Foothill Conservancy, receives a $500 check from  Ron Forbes, DFF Conservation Chair.
About six months ago our BOD's voted to give $500 to three groups that have been active in conservation efforts. The board wanted to choose organizations that serve our area. This year the money was given to the Foothill Conservancy, Restore the Delta, and the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance.
 
Early this last July, ╔lise and I had the pleasure of attending the Foothill Conservancy's Fund Raising Dinner at the Kennedy Mine in Jackson. The Foothill's president, Katherine Evatt and her husband and Conservancy V.P. Pete Bell, invited us to join them at dinner. The dinner was outstanding and we had a chance to hear what the Conservancy is doing to get "Wild and Scenic" status for the Mokelumne River now that they have won their suit against E Bay MUD.
 
When I presented the Delta Fly Fishers'  check to Katherine, she made some gracious comments about our club and the people attending were very generous with their applause. After the ceremony, eight or nine people came up and thanked us and asked that we please tell Delta Fly Fishers how much they appreciate our support.
 
All in all a great afternoon, especially when I found out the outstanding dessert was from Amador City's Andrae's Bakery. I'd go again just for the dessert.
 
Ron Forbes
Conservation Chair

 

 

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