Cause Celebre: How a trout rescue on the q.t. ignited a water war in Pasadena

An incredible story of disappearing water, relocated trout and the thirsty needs of Pasadena.
Once known for its fly-fishing close to home, the Arroyo Seco above Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has become an unwilling poster child for all the calamities trout face: devastating fires, ruinous mudslides, parching droughts and , of course, human pressure. (Jim Burns)

An amazing story from the incomparable Los Angeles Times environmental writer Louis Sahagun: “In an era of increasing drought and nearly back-to-back wildfires, state conservationists have been working overtime in the San Gabriel Mountains to rescue frogs, fish and other species facing potential oblivion by rounding up populations of threatened animals and transporting them to safer areas.

While most of these efforts have occurred in obscurity, one recent mission to save hundreds of doomed rainbow trout has touched off a heated battle between humans and fish over the clear waters of Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco. The controversy has also served to highlight the challenges wildlife biologists now face as they search for havens amid Southern California’s patchwork of urban development, wildfire scars and seasonal mudslides.”

How old-school High Sticking led to super-hot Euro Nymphing

This video brought back soooo many memories for me: Fishing the Upper Sac, hanging out in Dunsmuir with my friend, Dave, at the Ted Fay Fly Shop, and learning to high stick on the Pit River. (A river with the motto, “If you’re not currently swimming, you will be soon!)

I love how Matt weaves the story of current euro nymphing to high sticking back in the day. Fun watch.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Out of sight: Fishing for dinner on the LA River

On a March afternoon on the Los Angeles River, two anglers waded in the concrete channel of the Glendale Narrows, casting their lines for carp and largemouth bass. Above them, a belted kingfisher perched on a mattress that had been caught in the crook of a budding cottonwood during a recent storm surge. Some recreationists enjoy catch-and-release on the river, but others — low-income and unhoused people who need sustenance — were hoping to leave with coolers, buckets or even shopping carts full of freshly caught fish.

Read the rest of this amazing story from writer Miles Griffis in High Country News.

South Gate’s Urban Orchard Project moves closer to reality

From Stillwater Sciences:  We are excited to announce one of our first groundbreaking projects in the Lower LA River watershed in the City of South Gate, the Urban Orchard Park and wetlands with a trout stream!

See video link featuring the Mayor of South Gate, Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, RMC Mark Stanley, TPL Robin Mark, and prominent community and tribal leaders.

The project connects to the LAR Bikeway, Lower LAR Revitalization Master Plan, Metro station, multi-use planned community center, schools, neighborhoods and biodiversity bringing native habitat and species home to South Gate. Stillwater Sciences designed the one-acre native wetland, trout stream, and native habitat for the seven-acre park. We also completed the regulatory permitting for the project approvals.

Disease halts fish stocking from Hot Creek Trout Hatchery

Hot Creek is known to Southern Californians for its challenging fly fishing and pristine views. (Jim Burns)

UPDATE: As of June 17, the hatchery is once again open.

Thanks to guide and Mammoth local Chris Leonard for this news:

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has suspended all fish planting from the Hot Creek Trout Hatchery in Mono County as a bacterial outbreak has been detected at the facility.

“Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t be worse with the holiday weekend coming up, Mule Days taking place in Bishop and a lot of people coming to fish the eastern Sierra this time of year,” said Jay Rowan, Acting Fisheries Branch Chief for CDFW. “We don’t yet know the extent of the outbreak at Hot Creek Hatchery, but we do have the advantage of some additional tools in our toolbox now versus a year ago, including recently developed vaccines that we started rolling out to fish at the three previously infected hatcheries earlier this month.”

 The three other CDFW trout hatcheries in Southern California and the eastern Sierra are the Mojave River Hatchery, Black Rock Trout Hatchery and Fish Springs Trout Hatchery. That outbreak ultimately forced the euthanization of 3.2 million trout at those hatcheries.

Exclusive: A banner day for steelhead restoration

Someday, steelhead will return to our area’s rivers. (Jim Burns)

Yesterday two big steps occurred for bringing the endangered Southern California Steelhead back to the waters of Southern California:

First the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the San Gabriel and LLA River and Mountains Conservancy (RMC) established a cooperative agreement for the creation of the Los Angeles River Fish Passage Program. It seeds that program with $13 million of funding from Proposition 1 bond monies.

Second, from the same meeting,  a Trout Unlimited proposal for a conceptual design of the lower river channel access adjacent to Dills Park, bordering Compton and Paramount through the Los Angeles River Fish Passage Program also received more than $300,000.

I’ll be writing a broader piece about what this means for conservation in the coming weeks, but I wanted to spread this good news right now.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

Where to fish in California this summer

Tom’s guest is George Revel of Lost Coast Outfitters [@50:42], the only fly shop in downtown San Francisco. George is a lifelong fly fisher (he was a tournament caster when he was a teenager) and has intimate knowledge of the best fly-fishing spots in California. Whether you live on the West Coast and are looking for new places to explore, or if you plan a visit to California, this podcast is a must.

Giddy up: Kore Mining proposed mining site comments due by Thursday, May 13

Note Hot Creek on the lower righthand corner of this map. (Courtesy United States Department of Agriculture)

All,

I hope this email finds you well! I am emailing you today to update you on the Kore mining proposal located in the Inyo National Forest. I would like to let you know that our office has met with both Kore Mining and the U.S. Forest Service to get a briefing on this proposed mining site and learn more about the project.

As you may know, U.S. Forest Service is the federal authority in charge of the land in question. Attached you will find a U.S. Forest Service scoping letter describing the project proposal and what processes are being done to ensure that any mining is done in the most environmentally and sustainable way possible. I also wanted to provide you with the link provided by the U.S. Forest Service to accept comments and input from the local community and interested parties. https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=59294

While I will be continuing work with both U.S. Forest Service and Kore mining to ensure that your concerns are heard, I highly recommend that you use the link provided to comment on the project as well. While you will be able to use the link provided to comment throughout the process, initial scoping comments should be submitted by Thursday May 13.

On behalf of Congressman Obernolte, I would like to thank you for reaching out to our office with your comments. We will continue to update you as new information is provided.

All the best,

Reid Dagul

Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman Jay Obernolte, California Eighth District

Phone: 202-225-5861

________________________________________

Dear Interested Citizen, 

The Mammoth Ranger District of the Inyo National Forest is initiating the analysis process for the  proposed Long Valley Exploration Drilling Project proposed by Kore USA Ltd. (Kore Mining). The  project boundary area proposed for exploration is within a claim block controlled by Kore Mining and encompasses 230 acres in Section 26, Township 3 South, Range 28 East, Mono County, California. It is  located approximately 6.2 miles east of the town of Mammoth Lakes and 45 miles north of the town of  Bishop, California (Figure 1). 

At this time, we are opening a scoping period to ask for your help in determining the scope of the  analysis. 

Kore Mining proposes to conduct mineral exploration activities at the claim for a period of less than one  year. Ground disturbing activities proposed consist of drilling with heavy equipment, the creation of  fourteen drill pads and the use of existing roads and temporary access routes. The total new land  disturbance anticipated is 0.93 acres. Project implementation would occur in the summer of 2021.  Reclamation of all impacted areas would commence immediately following the completion of drilling  activities. No production or mining would be included in this project. It would be for exploration only, to  determine the mineral potential of the site. Any actual production proposed in the future would be  analyzed according to National Environmental Policy Act guidelines at that time. 

A total of fourteen pads measuring 30 feet by 50 feet (1500 square feet) each are proposed for  construction within in the claim area. Up to three core borings would be drilled on each pad. The drill  pads would also be utilized for staging all vehicles and equipment. Each pad would be surrounded by  temporary fencing during the work. Container trucks would be used to hold and transport all drill cuttings  and muds offsite and at an appropriate disposal facility. Access to drill pads would require the temporary  re-opening of 11 segments (1,849 total feet in length and 10 feet wide.) of non-system Forest Service  roads for the duration of the project. All of the temporary access routes would follow pre-existing non system routes that are currently blocked and/or closed. Temporary access routes and drill pads would be  cleared of vegetation by hand cutting or mowing with a small tractor and graded level to accommodate  the drilling equipment. Six inches of topsoil removed from each drill pad would be salvaged and stored  on site for use in reclamation of the pad at the end of the drilling project. 

After drilling is complete, the drill pads would be reclaimed by spreading the reserved topsoil,  recontouring to approximate original landforms and planting with a Forest Service-approved native seed  mix. Temporary access routes would be reclaimed using a spring-tooth harrow, or similar device, to  relieve surface compaction and then seeded with the same approved seed mix. Monitoring of the  revegetation success would continue for three years after seeding. Additional details about the project can  also be viewed on the project website at

https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=59294. 

This proposal is being considered in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The Forest will analyze any potential environmental impacts proposed in the plan of operations and establish any terms or conditions under which the mining operations may be conducted in order to  minimize adverse impacts to surface resources (36 CFR 228.8). Surveys for cultural and biological  resources will be completed before implementation, to ensure the project protects resources and meets the  Inyo National Forest land management plan and other applicable laws, regulations and policy. It is  anticipated that this project can be completed under a categorical exclusion under the category established  under 36 CFR 220.6 (e)(8), because it is a “short term (1 year or less) mineral investigation and incidental  support activities”. Appropriate and legally required environmental studies and consultations will be  completed in support of the project to inform the decision, and to determine whether extraordinary  circumstances exist that could require preparation of an Environmental Assessment or Environmental  Impact Statement. 

The proposed action is currently available for a 30-day public scoping period. With this scoping notice  we would like to invite your comments regarding issues, opportunities, concerns, and suggestions for the  proposed project. You may submit comments on the project website at:  

https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=59294.

Go to “Comment/Object on Project” on the right side of  the page and you can type in your comments or attach a file.  

While public participation in this analysis is welcome at any time, comments received by May 6, 2021 will be most useful in informing the analysis. Please contact Colleen Garcia, Minerals Program  Manager, 351 Pacu Lane Suite 200 Bishop, CA 93514, by email at colleen.garcia@usda.gov and/or by  phone at (760) 920-0285 for questions about the project or scoping process, or if you cannot submit your  comment on the project website. 

I appreciate your interest in the management of the Inyo National Forest. 

Sincerely, 

GORDON P. MARTIN 

District Ranger