L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration to receive $28 million from bipartisan infrastructure bill

@MayorofLA — Mayor Garcetti today celebrated $28 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration project. This funding will enable habitat restoration near the Arroyo Seco confluence and the Taylor Yard site. 

A city button from when “riverly” was a thing. (Credit: Jim Burns)

“The L.A. River is one of Los Angeles’ crown jewels – a foundational piece of our city’s story. Now, it’s on us to make it shine for ourselves and future generations,” Mayor Garcetti said. “This $28 million investment by our federal partners – their largest to date in the river – caps off nearly a decade of progress and investment in our bold vision of the L.A. River’s future. I am deeply grateful to our Los Angeles Congressional delegation, as well as the Biden Administration for this funding, and I look forward to seeing the transformation continue as a lifelong Angeleno.”

The L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration project will restore 11 miles of the L.A. River from Griffith Park to Downtown Los Angeles. The city estimates this plan will generate 14,200 construction jobs and 2,670 permanent jobs. It will restore hundreds of acres for multiple plant and animal species and provide access to natural areas and trails for historically disadvantaged communities.  

During his first term, Mayor Garcetti personally lobbied the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the approval of the L.A. River Ecosystem Restoration project. He led on the passage of Measure M in 2016 which funded a drastic expansion of the LA RiverWay bike path. In 2017, the city acquired the 42-acre G2 parcel at Taylor Yard to expand park-land around the river. The river restoration project has been a priority for the City of Los Angeles for more than 20 years and is reflected in the City’s 2007 Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan, which outlines the City’s vision for the future of the L.A. River as well as the numerous benefits that its revitalization will bring to diverse communities in the region.

TU Founder George Griffith and Michigan’s Au Sable River

IN THE DARK: The headlamp only comes on when you catch a brown trout. (Credit Will Burns)

One of the best fishing times my son and I ever shared together was at the Gates Lodge, fishing the fabled Au Sable River. It was the kind of father-son bonding trip I miss now that Will has a young family of his own. Searching for big browns one evening in an Au Sable river boat, we drifted past the birthplace of Trout Unlimited, the premier conservation organization for protecting cold water trout. Here is an except from its founder, George Griffith, from his memoir, “For the Love of Trout.” (out of print). Gates Lodge is now owned by writer Josh Greenberg. If you are planning a trip to Michigan, be sure to read his excellent book, “Rivers of Sand.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

“Change comes to everything, including the river. Often it is subtle, so subtle that it is difficult for a generation to accept new restrictions, size limits, slotting. Now it’s no-kill, spearheaded by Rusty Gates, second generation owner of Gates AuSable Lodge at Stephan’s Bridge, and the Anglers of the AuSable. Many river residents, and some guides, can’t see the Holy Waters as being off-limits to keeping trout even though statistics in the late ’80s showed 80 percent of the anglers were voluntarily returning their catches to the water by choice, not regulation.

Attitudes change, often with species and availability. Advocates like Gates can help bring about change. By the late ’40s, I already was more interested in the life and hazards of trout than in catching a limit every day, or taking trout home. However, few shared my growing concern for the river. Bob Behnke, who has a clearinghouse for biologists’ findings at the University of Colorado, wrote recently in Trout magazine about the “sportsmen,” who looked down on the “fish hogs,” who would take 100 trout. As Behnke says, they call themselves “conservationists” because they only kept their limits of 25 fish!”

HOLY WATERS: Present owner Josh Greenberg keeps Rusty’s spirit of sport fishing and conservation alive at the Gates Au Sable Lodge in Grayling, Michigan. (Credit Jim Burns)

Wait, is that plecos reffling?

The armored catfish, a.k.a. plecos of aquarium fame, demonstrates reffling. (courtesy Cool Green Science)

Read the entire article from Cool Green Science: You are probably familiar with these catfish, commonly called plecos. Fish enthusiasts often keep them to clear algae from their tanks. If you’ve ever seen a sucker-mouthed catfish clinging to the glass walls of your friend’s aquarium, you know the pleco.

Unfortunately, irresponsible aquarium keepers often dump their tanks. This has led to invasive fish around North America, particularly in warm-water environments. Two species of neotropical suckermouth catfish are now abundant and widespread in Florida. They are also found in Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and pretty much anywhere the water stays warm enough year round. They live by scraping algae off rocks and other hard surfaces.

“They burrow into riverbanks, causing erosion,” says Bressman. “They churn up the river bottom, reducing water visibility. There are even reports that they stress out wintering manatees, because they try to eat the algae off the big mammals.”

They are also a hardy species, able to breathe in low-oxygen environments and protected by armor. That armor, though, is also somewhat inflexible, which could lead one to believe they couldn’t move on land. “Thick armor is known to reduce flexibility and maneuverability in other fishes,” the journal article states.

But the pleco has other tricks up its, umm, fins. And tail. Welcome the weird world of reffling.

You can find former aquarium dwellers such as this plecos in the Los Angeles River. (Will Burns)

On New Year’s Eve, 10 different LA River stories from 10 consecutive years

Photo by Damir Mijailovic on Pexels.com

Much to my surprise, I’ve been writing/curating this blog for the past 10 years. Too legit to quit or something else all together? All I know is I started writing because I was fixated on a river running through Los Angeles that I’d never visited after living here for more than 30 years. Just finding access back in the day was difficult enough, but then to also consider you could catch fish in it seemed improbable at best.

Fast forward to the end of 2021 and our river has become famous, and not just in the movies. Carping the LA is now on fly-fisher bucket lists. That, of course, isn’t because of my writing, but I can say that the blog has grown up in a similar way to our beloved river. As you think about the end of the year, here are 10 winter stories in chronological order I thought you might enjoy.

I’ve made lots of friends through river work and hope you will be lucky enough to do the same. Eventually, some of the concrete will come out, and new habitat will go in. As poet Lewis MacAdams used to say, “We will know our work is done when the steelhead return.” So be it.

Happy New Year and see you on the river, Jim Burns

Dec. 23, 2010 — Carp clubbing takes river to new low

My son and I went out last week for some fishing on the city’s river. As we were leaving the water, we came upon a couple of friendly gents who intimately knew the area. Both had on caps; both had on backpacks; both had good senses of humor; and one should have been arrested:

“You don’t need that rod to catch carp down here,” said the one.

How could you not ask?

“What you need? You need a baseball bat, a Louisville Slugger, that’s what you need — a bat!”

Dec. 10, 2011 — ‘Improvement Overlay’ is Councilman Reyes’s next approach to coaxing money from the feds

Lots of buzz this week about a proposed ordinance to establish the Los Angeles River Improvement Overlay District. That’s a mouthful to say to Washington, “hey, Obama, where’s our money?”

Cash, authorized by Congress, is needed to complete an essential Corps  study that analyzes the effects of ripping out lots of concrete. Currently, the last phase of the study is years behind schedule. Until it’s finished, Reyes’ river project can’t be completed.

Dec. 29, 2012 — Lariverflyfishing rings in New Year with 20,000th visit

I was pretty stoked about that number back then …

Nov. 13, 2013 — Seven tips to follow when stalking LA River carp

My favorite tips is No. 1: Don’t be in a hurry.

Dec. 18, 2014 — FoLAR seeks anglers for Long Beach fish study

Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) in partnership with the Aquarium of the Pacific will host Phase 3 of a scientific fish study with help from the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains. We need Citizen Scientists, in this case, volunteer anglers to help us catch what is in the soft bottom section of the Los Angeles River at Long Beach.

This is a rare chance for you to fish in an area that one does not normally access, contact WPB@FoLAR.org to hold a spot. Fishing will start at 2pm until dusk on Saturday, January 3rd, 2015.

Dec. 15, 2015 — Musings written in pencil: LA River Top 10 laundry list

No. 6 “Off Tha’ Hook” celebrated its second year. It’s become a party down by the banks on Sept. 3, a Dept. of Fish and Wildlife “free day,” when no license is required to fish. Best memory: the number of children fishing at least doubled over last year. I’m a sponsor for next year, so come on down. The entry fee will be reduced, according to FoLAR.

Dec. 2, 2016 — River Health Update: Biologists and volunteers return to work on the Upper River Fish Study

On our return to Sepulveda Basin, to continue the upper river fish survey, we captured 203 fish, a far cry from the more than 3,600 tilapia fry caught this time last year.

Dec. 1, 2017 — Huck Finn retelling along the LA River in debut novel

Dec. 16, 2018 — Holiday Twofer: Zinke out, rockfish in

So, it was with great holiday pleasure that I paged through the print Los Angeles Times this morning, to find two memorable events: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is following former scandal-plagued Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruit out the revolving Trump door, pursued by a cloud of more than a dozen ethics violations. Here’s a summary of what he did during his close to two years in office. Top of mind for me was his tone deaf response to millions of comments asking him not to recommend shrinking Bear’s Ears National Monument. 

Dec. 13, 2019 — Help restore Southern California Steelhead habitat

Sespe Fly Fishers was awarded a $1,500 grant from Fly Fishers International. The multiple-page grant request was submitted by SFF Conservation Chair Randy Nelson who worked on the application for several days.

The funds were awarded to help Sespe Fly Fishers, in partnership with the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, to restore the habitat of the endangered Southern California Steelhead along several tributary streams of the Ventura River.

Dec. 29, 2020 — Ten things to cheer about in 2020

We’ve never experienced anything like this year that’s coming to a close, both collectively and individually. As my wife and I watched the Christmas star last week, its first appearance in some 700 years, it made me wonder. As a writer, I’m all about signs and portends, so I thought it could either mean the coming apocalypse or a brighter future, as it did so many centuries ago. I chose the latter.

Outside LA, Nature Conservancy creates 72,000-acre refuge that is ‘off limits to development’

The Nature Conservancy’s new 72,000-acre Randall Nature Preserve in the Tehachapi Mountains north of Los Angeles gives wildlife a hedge against 11 million people and development.
(Tyler Schiffman/Nature Conservancy)

The preserve is a Grand Central Station of wildlife corridors sustaining gene flows of native wildlife,” said Cara Lacey, the Nature Conservancy’s director of wildlife corridors, “by connecting them to swaths of undeveloped habitat that run from the Sierra Nevada to the Baja Peninsula.” Read the whole story in the Los Angeles Times about the new Randall Nature Preserve in the Tehachapi Mountains, two hours north of Los Angeles.

Holiday cheer: The Revelator reveals its favorite solution stories of the year

This year has been especially tough in the “doom scrolling” category. (Courtesy Trout Unlimited)

Hello Revelator readers,

I love this time of year. We finally get a chance to take a breath and reflect on the past 12 months — the highs, the lows, the continuing COVID-ness. Among all that, two bright spots jump out. 

First are all the inspiring people we interviewed. They shared their experiences of fighting for clean water, studying climate change biology, writing their way through extinction grief, and a lot more. Read some of our favorite interviews here.

The second is that despite a lot of bad environmental news these days, we published dozens of stories about what’s working. Below are 12 solution stories that we hope help keep your flame burning in the year ahead.


1. A Nose for Science: Conservation Dogs May Help in Search for Endangered Franklin’s Bumblebee 


2. How Wildlife Rescuers Can Protect Public Health 


3. The Divestment Movement’s Big Month 


4. Fisher Rewilding: How Washington State Is Restoring a Native Carnivore 


5. Stormwater Could Become an Important Water Source — If We Stopped Ignoring It 


6. New Clues to Help Monarch Conservation Efforts


7. Are We Managing Invasive Species Wrong? 


8. The Race to Build Solar Power in the Desert — and Protect Rare Plants and Animals


9. Our Last, Best Chance to Save Atlantic Salmon 


10. Could Property Law Help Achieve ‘Rights of Nature’ for Wild Animals? 


11. Do Species Awareness Days Work? 


12. Scientists Find New Way to Reduce Marine ‘Dead Zones’

Why do water districts oppose CalTrout’s efforts to list Southern Steelhead? Join a DFG Zoom meeting to voice your opinion

Update 12/19/21:

All, To let you know that CalTrout received guidance from CA Fish and Game Commission (FGC) that this 12/15/2021 meeting would be a consent item for the Southern steelhead CESA listing petition, not geared for public comment. This follows the notice to FGC in November by CDFW that upon evaluation of the petition, they deemed it to contain sufficient scientific information to warrant action by the Commission.

CalTrout is implementing our petition campaign and building support for the February 16/17 2022 meeting where this will be heard by FGC, and public comment will be incorporated into the pre-meeting binder for Commissioners. We are recruiting letters of support from legislators, stakeholders and the public. Please watch your inbox for a call to action email which will be broadcast soon, and presentations scheduled on the CESA petition to So Cal fishing groups and others. We encourage any partner, individual or organization that supports this petition to comment. Please have comments in prior to Feb 2nd so they will be added to the pre-meeting information binder.

If you have questions, please contact Russell Marlow, CalTrout lead for the listing petition, at rmarlow@caltrout.org

Thanks,

Sandi

Sandra Jacobson, Ph.D.

Director, South Coast and Sierra Region

California Trout

Hi Fish Folks,

So the Fish and Game Commission hearing this Wed will be to accept the petition but the actual hearing to make the listing is not until 16-17 Feb.

However, there is some coordinated opposition that we might want to counter by attending the zoom meeting and providing public comment in support of accepting the petition to move it forward. Zoom link info below. Letters/emails submitted now will not necessarily get to the commissioners before the hearing but will be shared after, so not a super rush but still worth doing.

As is detailed in the DFW memo supporting the petition, populations are declining throughout southern CA, these genetically distinct fish are more temperature tolerant and exhibit so many different life history strategies that they are critical to the gene pool and most likely to be able to adapt to climate shifts. This means that southern CA fish could be the ones to keep steelhead going up the coast into the future.
I know you all care about this as much as I do! Do whatever you can to get the word to the Fish and Game Commission! Feel free to spread the word!

thanks, Rosi
Rosi Dagit

Senior Conservation Biologist

RCD of the Santa Monica Mountains

540 S.Topanga Canyon Blvd.

Topanga, CA 90290

Meeting of the California Fish and Game Commission Dec. 15, 9 a.m. Instructions for Participating in the Webinar and Teleconference

The California Fish and Game Commission is conducting this meeting by webinar and teleconference to avoid a public gathering and to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent with California Government Code Section 11133. The full meeting agenda is attached. The following provides guidance for how to participate in the meeting with different options based on the technology available to you, and whether you intend to give public comment.

  1. Southern California steelhead
    Receive the Department’s 90-day evaluation report on the petition to list southern
    California steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) as endangered under CESA.
    (Pursuant to Section 2073.5, Fish and Game Code)

Meeting Viewing Only (no public comment)
Watch the Live Stream Webcast
As always, the meeting will be live-streamed (also referred to as a live webcast) with full audio and video. If you simply want to observe the live stream of the meeting but do not wish to comment on any item, we strongly encourage you to view the webcast available at www.fgc.ca.gov<http://www.fgc.ca.gov>.

How to Join the Meeting (if you plan to provide public comment)
Please note: When you join the meeting using any of the following options, you will be muted automatically. Your video will not be displayed when you join the meeting.

Option 1: Zoom with Computer Audio
We highly encourage you to join the meeting on your computer via the link below and use your computer audio to participate. You can participate by launching Zoom in your Internet browser or downloading the Zoom app on your computer.
Join Zoom (using your web browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox) Enter the meeting ID: 829 2427 1355
Meeting URL: https://zoom.us/join
Join Zoom (using the downloaded app on your computer)
You will be prompted to enter your email and name, then click “Join Webinar.”
Webinar URL: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82924271355

Option 2: Zoom via Mobile App
Join using the Zoom app on your mobile device (phone or tablet). After you download the app, open the app, select the “Join” icon, enter the meeting ID number and your display name. Then enter your meeting password. Meeting ID: 829 2427 1355
Click here for more details about using Zoom on mobile devices.

Option 3: Teleconference Only
If you are not able to join using your computer or mobile device, please join via phone.
Phone number: +1 (669) 900-6833 or +1 (408) 638-0968         Meeting ID: 829 2427 1355

Option 4: Zoom with Phone Audio (This is not a preferred option for joining as there is the potential to create feedback)
If you plan to join via computer and use your telephone for audio, join the Zoom meeting on your computer first, using the links in Option 1.
For audio, use the “Call Me At” feature and enter your phone number to have Zoom call you.

Viewing Presentations
If you join via Zoom on your computer or mobile device app (Options 1, 2, and 4) the presentations will be displayed. If you join via teleconference only (Option 3), you can view a PDF of the presentations in the meeting binder.

Technical Assistance
For help in joining Zoom meetings, click https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-a-Meeting.
If you need additional technical assistance, please contact 805-801-3576 or it@agpvideo.com<mailto:it@agpvideo.com>.
Making Public Comment
If you join via Zoom on your computer or mobile phone app (Options 1, 2, and 4) use the “raise hand” feature to indicate that you would like to make a public comment. If you join via teleconference only (Option 3), press “*9” to virtually raise your hand to indicate you would like to make a public comment; if you press *9 again, you will lower your hand. Please see the meeting agenda for full instructions regarding making public
comments.

Please note: When the moderator unmutes you to make public comment, you may need to unmute yourself as well. If you join via Zoom, you may be asked to join as panelists when it is your turn to speak.