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LEGISLATIVE REPORT

FISH STOCKING CONTINUES

Limited fish stocking will continue after agreement

WESTERN OUTDOORS NEWSPublished: Dec 03, 2008



WONEWS LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

SACRAMENTO --An order signed by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette this past week will allow the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to stock more waters than would have been allowed under his Nov. 6 tentative ruling. The order is a result of weeks of negotiation among DFG, and the Pacific Rivers Council and Center for Biological Diversity, along with their counsel Stanford Legal Clinic.

DFG fought hard in the negotiations to save its fish stocking programs, said DFG Director Donald Koch. "We are pleased that the order allows us to continue stocking in a number of areas where the communities depend on fishing," he said.

The order, with some exceptions, has a broad prohibition against DFG stocking nonnative fish in any California fresh water body where surveys have demonstrated the presence of 25 specified amphibian or fish species or where a survey for those species has not yet been done. The order does not address the stocking of native fish into native waters.

The order lists exceptions to the prohibition regarding stocking nonnative fish, which include:
 
• Stocking in human-made reservoirs larger than 1000 acres.
• Stocking in human-made reservoirs less than 1000 acres that are not connected to a river or stream, or are not within red legged frog critical habitat or where red legged frogs are known to exist.
• Stocking as required as state or federal mitigation.
• Stocking for the purpose of enhancing salmon and steelhead populations and funded by  the Commercial Trollers Salmon Stamp.
• Stocking of steelhead from the Mad River Hatchery into the Mad River Basin.
• DFGs Aquarium in the Classroom program.
• Stocking actions to support scientific research.
• Stocking done pursuant to an existing private stocking permit or to be done under a new permit with terms similar to one that was issued in the last four years.

DFG is preparing a list of waters where stocking will cease based on these parameters. It will be available on the DFG Web site early next week.

In October 2006, Pacific Rivers Council and Center for Biological Diversity, represented by Stanford Law students, sued DFG over fish stocking programs it has engaged in for more than 100 years, claiming that no Environmental Impact Report (EIR) had been completed for the programs. The result of the case was a court order requiring DFG to complete an EIR. DFG is engaged in the years-long and multimillion dollar EIR process, now scheduled to be completed in January 2010.

Due to delays in the EIR process, which involves combining the EIR with a federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), on Friday, Nov. 7 Judge Marlette told the department to negotiate with the petitioners to seek an agreement on terms for how and where DFG may continue stocking fish during the time it is preparing the EIR/EIS.


THOUSANDS OF ANGLERS WILL BE IMPACTED!
Many California lakes will not be stocked through 2010

SACRAMENTO — All trout plants from the Department of Fish and Game will be halted in nearly 200 popular California lakes and streams through 2010—the result of a lawsuit initiated by Stanford Legal Clinic and filed by the Pacific Rivers Council and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Many other lakes and streams in California will continue to receive regular stockings of trout and salmon while the Department of Fish and Game completes an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the state’s hatchery program. The results of the EIR, due to be completed in 2010, could cause more waters to close or reopen the dozens that were shut down as a result of a lawsuit that resulted in the court-ordered study.

Meanwhile, it is much easier to list the waters that won’t be stocked—although not by much. Included in those are many popular fishing waters in all of the north state counties. Stream closures were also severe throughout the state. The Eastern Sierra came through mostly untouched, with the exception of both forks of the Carson River and Sotcher Lake.  The complete list is below:

Waters that won't be planted by the DFG in the Northern Region include Freshwater Lagoon, Ash Creek, Pit River South Fork, Brandy Creek and 33 lakes and creeks in Siskiyou County, as well as 25 lakes in Trinity County (go to www.dfg.ca.gov/news/stocking for the complete listing.)

Waters in the North Central Region include Alpine Lake, Blue Lake (Upper), Carson River (East and West forks), Markleeville Creek, Meadow Lake, Mosquito Lake (lower and upper), Silver Creek, Spicer Meadows Reservoir and Union Reservoir.

In Amador County, Amador Lake itself will not be stocked by the DFG, although they do have their own trout planting program. Also on the "no stock" list is Bear River Reservoir (lower and upper), Mokelumne River (main) and Tiger Creek Afterbay.

Over in Butte County, anglers won't find any DFG planted trout in Butte Creek, Okizo Camp Ponds, Paradise Pond, Paradise Reservoir or even in Thermalito Forebay. In Calaveras County, Angels Creek, Schaades Reservoir and White Pines Lake won't be planted, and in Colusa County, little Letts Lake is on the list.

El Dorado County will be particularly heavily hit. Those who frequent Ice House, Sly Park (Jenkinson Lake), Stumpy Meadows or Wrights Lake will find the fishing very poor for the next 2 years. Also listed for no plants are the American River (Silver Fork), American River South Fork at Coloma and Riverton, Dark Lake, Echo Lake (upper and lower), El Dorado Forebay, Kalmia Lake, Lost Lake and General Creek, Number 3 Lake, Stoney Ridge and Taylor Creek.

In Glenn County, Plaskett Meadow Pond won't be stocked, nor will the Lake County lakes of Blue Lake (upper), Cache Creek, Indian Valley Reservoir or even Pillsbury!

In Nevada County, some big name waters that won't get fish are Boca, Bowman, Donner, Fordyce, Prosser, Rollins, Scott Flat (lower and Upper) and Spaulding. Also on the list are Bear River (Camps), Beyers Lake, Cold Stream Pond at Donner Lake, French Lake, Lyons Lake, Martis Creek, McMurrey Pond, Meadow Lake, Paradise, Squirrel Creek, The Blair Pond, Toll House Lake and White Rock Lake.

You folks who like to go to Sugarpine will find few fish there the next two years, as it's on the list, along with Coldstream Creek Pond, Halsey Forebay, Lake Valley Reservoir and…get this…the Truckee River! In Plumas County, you're going to lose out on the Feather River (middle fork at Graeagle and north fork in Almanor). Also Graeagle Mille Pond, Hamilton Branch Creek, Jamison, Spanish and Warner creeks.

In Sacramento, the very popular Lake Natoma will no longer be stocked, even for the special events. In Sierra County, Coldstream Creek near Sierraville, the Little Truckee River off Hwy. 89, Smithnec Creek, and the Yuba River north fork at Hwy. 49 and at Downieville will no longer be stocked.

In Yuba County, Collins Lake and Englebright Reservoir are on the list for no DFG plants.

The Bay/Delta Region wasn't spared the axe, and no DFG plants will go into Lafayette, Lake Refugio, San Pablo Reservoir and up in Marin County anglers are losing Alpine Lake, Bontempe and Lagunitas. Lake Nennessey in Napa is on the list, along with Santa Clara County lakes of Cottonwood, Coyote, Stevens Creek Reservoir and Lexington.

In the Santa Cruz area, Loch Lomond will go without DFG plants, and in Solano County, Putah Creek and Solano Lake are included.

In the Central Region, trout plants by the DFG are history in the Kern River (sections 0-4 and 5-6), Kaweah River and Stanislaus River South Fork.

For a complete list of the lakes and streams closed throughout California, go to www.dfg.ca.gov/news/stocking.

Once again, the Endangered Species Act is having a huge impact on the recreation of California sportsmen and women, based on vague, if not entirely lacking, studies about the impacts of trout on frogs and other "native" species.


EFFECTS OF  LAWSUIT NEGOTIATIONS, 
Halting Trout Plants, Weigh Heaviest In Northern California
 
From the huge outcry these past few days over the halt of DFG trout plants, and the expected outcry over the killing last Friday of more than 5 million  ready-to-hatch salmon eggs at Coleman Hatchery,  perhaps it’s time for  California sportsmen and women  to fight back.

These most recent moves will impact literally tens of thousands of sportsmen and women, and all over ludicrous assumptions by a judge, and by the federal "fish cops" who simply rule from the seat of their pants.

First the DFG plants: For over 100 years the DFG has been planting fish in California waters, and for nearly all of those years everything co-existed quite successfully. The recent decline in amphibians has been proven to not be the result of fish eating tadpoles—and yet there are those who pursue their own personal agendas by claiming it as true—and the judge fell for it.

The Northern California lakes and the communities that depend on them for tourism, will be slammed hard. Perhaps even devastated.  In Southern California and the Eastern Sierra, the effects of the halted trout plants shut down trout plants in just a few waters.

It is our belief that DFG just seemed to roll over on this one, since there are so many good arguments against the totally arbitrary cut-off off of trout planting.  Why should any reservoir created by a dam anywhere, for instance be put under the restriction?  It's altered habitat.  It’s a head-scratcher to us, because  under this absurd rule after negotiations, we should empty all the water out of all the reservoirs, because they undoubtedly   eliminated untold habitat for the protected critters under question.
 
And, why, may we ask, did the DFG take so long to come to grips with this?  
 
The true absurdity of it all is that three Stanford students wrote the suit.  They are probably bragging what a good job they did--high fives all around.  Looks to us as though some professor  gave them a school project with no concern for the relevance--or consequences. We’re talking people lives here, families and businesses that are already slammed by this past summer’s high gas prices and now a recession. Congratulations students, you get an A. The DFG. You failed the test. 
 
The Coleman hatchery fish kill just points to the absurdity of it all. For more than  100 years there have been hatcheries on the Sacramento River, raising salmon and introducing them to the river. Now, we challenge anyone to prove that there are any truly "wild" salmon left—those that have not inbred with hatchery fish. The move by Coleman Hatchery to kill 5 million potential salmon,  fish that could have boosted the dwindling Sacramento River run, was beyond senseless.

Impacts on humans, and even other species such as eagles, otters and more are beyond comprehension at this early stage: No more trout plants in hundreds of lakes and waters removes human leisure activity and the wildlife food base.  And thousands of businesses dependent on those trout plants will be hugely impacted, if not shut down. And the fishing guides, and the providers of services, such as gas stations, restaurants and hotels.

There's much more to say, and it will be said. But right now, we here at WON are committed to being the "clearing house" of information for what is going to prove to be a huge battle, pitting human needs and cost against arbitrary rulings concerning endangered species. Cost, and human needs must be considered in the Endangered Species Act, to do otherwise is also senseless.

Refer to WON's website at wonews.com, and to each weekly issue of WON for who to contact, who is doing what to fight the battle, and where we stand in this battle, which is just now beginning.



INYO-MONO WATERS REMAIN ON DFG STOCKING SCHEDULE
BY MARTIN STRELNECK / WON Staff Writer

    SACRAMENTO--Eastern Sierra anglers will see no change in DFG stocking programs for a lion’s share of waters in Inyo and Mono counties.

On Nov. 24, the DFG released a list of waters that will remain on the stocking schedule to much concern by local business owners and anglers, but waters to receive plants included virtually all area popular roadside waters and a good number of back country locations.

    Earlier fears that numerous waters would be deleted from stocking because of a lawsuit filed by the Pacific Rivers Council and Center for Biodiversity can be put to rest for now. The one condition that should be kept on the forefront is the notation on the release “subject to change”

    For the Eastern Sierra, the only waters removed from the planting program were Sotcher Lake in the Reds Meadow area and Pine Creek north of Bishop.

    The announcement was good news for anglers targeting the popular Owens Valley year round Owens River and Pleasant Valley Reservoir waters.  Sources at local hatcheries  said waters are back on the stocking schedule.

                         
  












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