Bristol Bay is safe.
I know you’ve heard that before, but this time, it’s for real, done in by the Clean Water Act. After watching the Trump Administration finalize plans last week “to open up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas development, a move that overturns six decades of protections for the largest remaining stretch of wilderness in the United States,” according to the New York Times, I thought Bristol Bay would share a similar fate. Not so.
Check out the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers statement and be happy:
This administration supports the mining industry and acknowledges the benefits the industry has provided to the economy and productivity of this country, from job creation to the extraction of valuable resources, which are especially important as we recover from this pandemic. The Pebble Mine project has the potential to fulfill all of those needs; however, as currently proposed, the project could have substantial environmental impacts within the unique Bristol Bay watershed and lacks adequate compensatory mitigation.
Given these concerns, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finds under section 404 of the Clean Water Act that the project, as proposed, would likely result in significant degradation of the environment and would likely result in significant adverse effects on the aquatic system or human environment.
See you on the river, Jim Burns
Trout Unlimited is leading efforts to sign as many people on to this new petition as possible, shooting for 50,000 signers. This petition will be delivered by sportfishing representatives from Bristol Bay when they go back to Washington to lobby President Trump and members of Congress later this spring.
TU has rolled out their new petition calling on the president to stop Pebble altogether. As the permitting process nears completion in the next six months, the decision is going to come down to Trump and his administration. It is imperative that he hear from all of us (especially moderate and conservative sportsmen and women) that we need him to intervene to stop Pebble before it’s too late.
Over the last couple of weekends, the stalwarts of Trout Unlimited South Coast Chapter put on a series of beginning workshops at the Bowtie parcel, a 17-acre site near Fletcher Bridge that is as urban as it gets. In 2003, California State Parks purchased the narrow strip of land adjacent the Los Angeles River, once part of Southern Pacific Railroad’s maintenance and operations facilities called Taylor Yards. If nothing else, it’s a chance to squint your eyes and see what it could become.
And Los Angelinos certainly have embraced this urban outlier in any number of positive ways, including the LA River Campout that is so popular, the 75 campers are chosen through a lottery. This chance to cuddle up in a sleeping bag and see the stars is an initiative of California State Parks in partnership with Clockshop, the National Park Service and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
As for fishing, TU led the way last year with “Vamos a Pescar,” during which some 120 urbanites learned to fish.
This year’s stats showed 110 attendees over the two May weekends, with a third under 18, and pretty evenly split overall between female and male.
After two Saturdays filled with the joy of passing our sport along to others — and the chance to practice patience while unspooling line from inside a reel (how does that happen?), I thought of these words from “A Place in Between”:
What is a park? Is it a place to escape the surrounding city? A place to breathe and contemplate? Or is it a gather place? A place to celebrate, laugh, play and compete? Perhaps it is a place to learn and grow? A place where our shared cultural and natural histories are celebrated? Is it a place of beauty? A place of pride designed by our finest architects? Or a place apart, left alone for nature to run its course?”
As you squint your eyes at the Bowtie, what is magically becomes what could be. Our collective imagination will be our compass, our guide, our pole star for the future.
See you on the river, Jim Burns
From Trout Unlimited’s Sam Davidson:
Thursday, May 9, delivered more good news on the Klamath River restoration front.
PacifiCorp, the utility that owns the four old hydropower dams slated for removal under the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), announced it has entered into a site access agreement with Kiewit Infrastructure West Company “to allow the firm to conduct initial surveying and other work connected to planned removal of four dams on the Klamath River.”
The site access agreement follows an announcement by the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) on April 25, 2019 that it had signed an initial contract with Kiewit to perform preliminary services that include design, planning and permitting support to carry out dam removal.
Brian J. Johnson, director of Trout Unlimited’s California Program and TU’s
representative in the settlement agreement process, said “The site access agreement and the KRRC’s contract with Kiewit represent two major steps forward for restoration of the Klamath River, and the momentum for removing the four old fish-blocking dams has never been stronger. Moving forward with the KHSA is good for fishing, tribal communities, and ratepayers.”
Johnson noted that the Klamath River, historically, has been the third most productive river for salmon and steelhead on the West Coast and that the dam removal effort is supplemented by work TU and other parties are doing in the upper Klamath Basin to restore water quality and aquatic and riparian habitat, and to improve water security.
Removal of the dams would occur as soon as 2021 upon approval of the agreement by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
PacifiCorp issued a joint press release with the Yurok and Karuk Tribes on the signing of the site access agreement. The two tribes are parties to the amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement and applauded the hiring of Kiewit as general contractor for dam removal and the firm’s site access agreement with PacifiCorp as key steps in fulfilling the terms of the KHSA.
“PacifiCorp remains fully committed to successful implementation of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, which will result in removal of the lower four Klamath River dams coupled with customer protections,” said Scott Bolton, senior vice president for Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp that serves electricity customers in Oregon, California, and Washington.
Bolton added, “The agreement provides a better outcome for our customers compared to the unknown costs and risk of relicensing the dams. PacifiCorp appreciates the expertise Kiewit brings to this endeavor and the continued hard work of our settlement partners as we move to fully implement this important agreement.”
Fishing organizations with a conservation focus, including the apolitical Pasadena Casting Club, Trout Unlimited and Cal Trout are all asking fishers to make their voices heard about the proposed California Department of Fish & Wildlife regs, which would simplify their complex system with major consequences for many of the waters we love.
For example, the Golden Trout Wilderness, home to our endangered state fish, would be open to a five-fish take and no gear requirements!
Or Hot Creek? Under the proposed regulations, it would lose its “barbless artificial flies only” designation in favor of “barbless artificial lures only.” We all know the difference between a No. 16 green scud and a Rapala DT armed with two barbless treble hooks.
Can you imagine what either gemlike area would fish like after a couple of years of that kind of pressure?
Know this is one issue both fly and spin fishers are united in opposing. As Jack Lunch wrote in Mammoth’s The Sheet:
And why do fishermen of all stripes, from fly fishermen to bait fishermen, all seem to be on the same page?
“I’ve never been in a room where bait and fly people are in complete agreement on something,” remarked Slee Thursday morning.
Slee says year-round fishing will decimate fish populations by putting them under constant stress.
I’ve compiled information from two of the organizations below, as well as provided a link for your comments. Trout Unlimited Jessica Strickland’s side-by-side comparison of California waters with current and proposed regs is available by email only. If you’d like a copy, let her know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are free tomorrow, from noon- 2 p.m.there’s an information session at Bass Pro Shop in Rancho Cucamonga.
See you on the river, Jim Burns