Category: News

DFW ‘Hoot Owl’ recommends include Hot Creek and Deep Creek

“Hoot Owl’ recommendations mean fishing during the cooler hours to preserve healthy fish. (Credit: Jim Burns)

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is asking recreational anglers to begin “Hoot Owl” practices when fishing – voluntarily changing how, when and where they fish to minimize stress and mortality among fish populations suffering from drought conditions.

“Hoot Owl” recommendations reference being active during times of day when owls can still be heard hooting. These times are typically earlier in the day when weather conditions are cooler. CDFW uses the term “Hoot Owl” to describe its guidelines for fishing during a drought which recommend fishing before noon on certain inland waters, as even catch-and-release angling during the hottest parts of the day can greatly increase fish stress and mortality.

“California’s drought cycles require all of us to work together to manage our fisheries,” said CDFW Inland Fisheries Manager Sarah Mussulman. “Multiple years of drought plus fluctuations in the timing of precipitation creates many challenges for our cold-water fish species. Anglers can play a part in lessening impacts to their favorite fishery by not fishing past noon during the hot summer months.”

Coldwater species such as trout, salmon and steelhead have the greatest likelihood of being affected by the drought this year, but low water levels and high-water temperatures can potentially affect all inland aquatic species.

CDFW has introduced a series of voluntary “Hoot Owl” Recommendations – directing anglers to focus their fishing during the cooler “hoot owl” periods of the day when water temperatures are lowest. A watchlist of specific waters anglers should fish before noon is included and will be updated as conditions change. Sustained afternoon water temperatures exceeding 67 degrees Fahrenheit for trout fisheries could trigger additions to the list.

Currently, the list of waters include:

  • Lower Owens River (Pleasant Valley Dam downstream to Five Bridges) in Mono County
  • Hot Creek in Mono County
  • Mill Creek (Walker Basin) in Mono County
  • Lower Rush Creek (Grant Lake to Mono Lake) in Mono County
  • Bridgeport Reservoir in Mono County
  • Deep Creek in San Bernardino County
  • Crowley Lake in Mono County
  • Truckee River (Lake Tahoe to the Nevada state line) in Nevada, Placer and Sierra counties
  • Upper Truckee River in El Dorado County

As conditions change, CDFW will post the updated list on the “Hoot Owl” Water Watchlist page.

Elevated water temperatures, lower oxygen levels, disease, low flows and low water levels are among the drought-related effects impacting many of California’s coastal waters and inland fisheries.

To reduce fish stress during the drought, anglers can:

  • Minimize the time you spend “fighting” the fish and any hands-on handling.
  • Use rubber or coated nylon nets to protect a fish’s slime layer and fins.
  • Quickly remove the hook with forceps or needle-nosed pliers.
  • Minimize the amount of time the fish is exposed to air, especially when the weather is warm.
  • Keep your hands wet when handling the fish.
  • If the fish is deeply hooked, do not pull on the line. Instead, cut the line as close as possible to where it is hooked and leave the hook so it can dissolve.
  • Allow the fish to recover in the net before you release it.
  • If the fish does not stay upright when you release it, gently move it back and forth.
  • Avoid fighting fish from deeper, cooler waters and bringing them into warmer waters at the surface if your intention is to release them.
  • Target fisheries that have stable water levels and species that are more resilient to elevated temperatures.

CDFW suggests all anglers follow these best practices even if anglers are only interested in harvesting fish to eat. Mortality may result from non-targeted species caught and released or fish outside of legal size limits that must be returned to the water.

Board approves River Master Plan over environmental group objections

LEWIS MacADAMS says it best on a bas relief commemorative sculpture at the park, which also bears his name. (Credit Miranda Robin)

From the Los Angeles Times:

After a coalition of environmental groups withdrew support for the L.A. River Master Plan over differences with its recommendations for uplifting the profile of the concrete flood control channel over the next 25 years, L.A. County officials decided Tuesday to move forward with the plan.

The groups had been threatening to walk away since Los Angeles County Public Works included far-reaching proposals submitted by famed architect Frank Gehry to transform the forlorn industrial confluence of the Los Angeles River and the Rio Hondo in South Gate into a cultural park.

Still, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to adopt the final L.A. River Master Plan.

It’s official: West Fork reopens on weekends only through 2023

I’m sure this wonderful sign, which I shot right before the Bobcat Fire in September, 2020, is long gone. I can’t quite bear to return to my beloved West Fork, but if you go, please send pics for me to post. I heard it is very muddy and not good fishing. (Credit: Jim Burns)

ARCADIA, Calif.— One of Angeles National Forest’s roads in the Upper San Gabriel River watershed—West Fork Road or National Forest System Road No. 2N25—will be temporarily closed to all recreationists on weekdays only (except on Federal holidays) for public safety from April 1 through Dec. 1 in both 2022 and 2023. This road closure is requested by Los Angeles County Public Works for sediment removal operations.

The goal is to remove up to 2 million cubic yards of sediment that has accumulated in the Cogswell Reservoir because of the Station Fire of 2009 and the Bobcat Fire of 2020. (Sediment has accumulated because fire burns away vegetation and leaves little to hold soil and rocks in place.)

Project work includes unclogging inlets/outlets and excavating and transporting sediment from the reservoir via heavy construction equipment to the adjacent sediment placement site. This sediment removal work provides vital flood control capacity to protect downstream communities.

Proposed Cali ballot measure to build new dams goes bust

This view of Florence’s Lake’s dam from October, 2021, shows the extent of water loss from the continuing drought. It was built in 1926 as part of a hydroelectric project and captures water from the South Fork of the San Joaquin River in the western Sierra. (Credit: Jim Burns)

From the Mercury News:

Supporters of a proposed November ballot measure to provide billions of dollars to build new dams, desalination plants and other large water projects in California announced Tuesday they are ending their campaign due to lack of signatures and funding.

“Despite crafting an initiative that would solve California’s challenge of chronic and worsening water scarcity, and despite recent polling that indicates over 70% of California’s voters support increased state spending on water infrastructure, the campaign has been unable to attract the financial support necessary to gather the required 1 million signatures,” the campaign said in a statement.

Read the whole story here.

 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.

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.

Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers remove more than 5,000 pounds of trash in three hours

A volunteer at the Trout Unlimited South Coast chapter LA River cleanup joined 2,735 others on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 35 beach, river and inland sites in Los Angeles County for the 32nd Annual #CoastalCleanupDay. Volunteers covered 50-plus miles of area on land and underwater—removing 5,051 pounds of trash and 156 pounds of recyclables in three hours. (Credit: Miranda Robin)

Checkmate: EPA to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay, blocking major gold mine

Bristol Bay’s salmon spawning grounds sustain a commercial fishing industry that generates more than $2 billion every year. (Courtesy Wild Salmon Center)

From the Washington Post: “The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that it would restore protections for Alaska’s Bristol Bay, blocking the construction of a massive and controversial gold mine near the world’s largest sockeye salmon run.

The policy shift, indicated in a court filing Thursday in response to a lawsuit filed by the mine’s opponents, deals a serious blow to a project that has been in the works for more than a decade and would have transformed southwest Alaska’s landscape.” Read the whole story.