A year's worth of excellent and revealing monthly editorials by Ron
Forbes, Delta Fly Fishers Conservation Chair. The title of the article
and a portion of the lead in paragraph have been copied to this page.
The entire monthly article can be found by clicking on (continued) at
the end of the lead in. Earlier monthly articles may be found in the
club's monthly newsletter.
March 2013 -
“Brazilian Waterweed, the plant that ate the
Delta” and other NIS
Every month there is a problem in deciding about
what issue in conservation is most is pressing and one that will be
interesting and affects our clubs fishing experience. This month it was
easy. The third week in February, I was watching a local newscast and
saw a story about biology research students from the University of
Nevada (UN) working with our Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW)
collecting non-native invasive species (NIS) at Lake Tahoe. They had
located a group of 15 goldfish in a shallow area near shore. The fish
were probably getting ready to spawn.
“Young Frankenfish,” a 2013 remake of the
classic, “Young Frankenstein,” but this time it’s for real!
Last November's election had many interesting and
complex issues decided by California voters. One that was particularly
interesting was Proposition 37. Had it passed, California would have
required that all genetically engineered (GE) food products would
require mandatory labeling and prohibit labeling those foods as organic.
Initially, polls showed Prop 37 passing. However, by November 3, the
food and chemical industry and spent over $45.6 million on its "No on
37" campaign. The "Yes on 37" group had $8.7 million for its campaign
and they lost. This was California's attempt to have its citizens know
what they are eating. With the loss of Prop 37, you will not have any
idea if you are eating GE or naturally produced foods. Up until now,
only plants have been available as a GE food. That will probably change
on the last week of February.
January 2013 - Battle Creek... Where the salmon come from
My first attempt at steelhead fishing was with my father on Battle Creek
34 years ago. We took the Jelly's Ferry exit off I-5 past Red Bluff and
drove about 14 miles to the old federal Coleman Fish Hatchery. After
walking downstream about a quarter of a mile, we tied on Silver Hiltons,
the hot fly that year, and waded into the creek past our waists and
began casting. After quarter-casting for half an hour with no results, I
was hit in my tush by something powerful. Two other fly fishers swear I
came out of the water three feet straight up. As my father and the two
convulsed in laughter, I looked around to see what had "attacked" me. It
was a 20-25 lb. Chinook heading upstream to spawn. After my heart
stopped pounding, I looked around to see between 12-15 other Chinook
moving up stream. After getting bumped four or five more times, I
learned to ignore the irritation.
December 2012 - Finally, a river runs through it!
The San Joaquin River Restoration Project
For the last three years I have been Delta Fly Fisher's representative
at the San
Joaquin River Restoration Project (SJRRP) meetings held at
U.C. Stanislaus in Turlock or at various federal facilities in
Sacramento. The two committees I have served on are the Water Management
and Fisheries Management Technical Committees. These committees are
comprised of two groups. The first group is the technical staff and
second are those who have a vested interest in the project such as those
interested in the fisheries or those with interest in the water issues
such as irrigation districts. When I began attending these meetings, I
had no idea of the complexities involved in the restoration of the fall
and spring run of chinook salmon, nor of the complexity involved in
restoring a river that has been seriously neglected for over 60 years.
November 2012 - Salmon make the vines grow!
We are getting to that time of year when the Chinook salmon and
steelhead make their annual migration up the Mokelumne River. For the
past few years I have made bi-weekly calls to the Mokelumne Fish
Hatchery to find out how many fish have passed the fish counter at the
Woodbridge Irrigation District and how many fish have been harvested for
their eggs. On the first day of the new year, the Mokelumne opens again
to fishing and the Delta Fly Fishers host our annual party open to all
to celebrate a new year of fishing on the river and a look forward to a
wet winter and a great coming trout season in the Sierras. At the end of
the salmon- steelhead run, we look at this as the end of one cycle and
the start of another. However, it is, in reality, the continuing of the
gift the salmon give us.
October 2012 - From non-issue to major issue in one day
Two months ago I got a telephone call from my son as he was driving home
from work. Mark lives in Los Angeles and the freeway had turned into a
parking lot. To pass the time, he turned on the radio to listen to a
popular talk show who's host was interviewing an official from LA's
Metropolitan Water District. The topic was why LA and the other cities
in the southland need to support the building of the peripheral
canal/tunnels. As the conversation went on, the host inquired how much
this project would cost, and how much more water LA would be getting
from the project. The district official didn't answer the question and
evaded a direct answer. When the show's host pinned him down he finally
admitted the southland will not be getting an increase in the amount of
water it receives. After the interview was over the phone board lit up.
People were furious that it will cost them $17 billion (not including
debt service) for no gain in the amount of water received. What really
enraged them was that the south San Joaquin Valley corporate
agribusiness giants would be getting 75% of the water but will only pay
for 25% of the project.
September 2012 - Another Damn Dam
The 24-foot-high Daguerre Point Dam, owned by the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers was built on the Yuba River in 1906 to prevent hydraulic
mining debris from washing into the Feather and Sacramento Rivers. The
dam was equipped with two fish ladders in 1937 that Chinook salmon and
steelhead have difficulty, under certain flow conditions, locating and
This last April I wrote an article on some of the issues the Yuba River
was having. One of the problems was that the National Marine Fisheries
Service ordered the Army Corp. of Engineers to help transport fish
around both Daguerre Point and Englebright dams since the Corp. built
the dams and effectively stopped fish passage. The Corp. has refused,
saying its not in their mandate to do so.
August 2012 - The gauntlet has been thrown ......
Wednesday, the 25th of this month, Gov. Jerry Brown and Ken Salazar, the
Secretary of the Interior, made their anticipated announcement of their
plans to proceed with the building of a peripheral canal. Although the
announcement was expected, its time and location had been kept secret.
Late Tuesday evening we found out that location of the press conference
was to be held in the state's Resource Building. Although the Resource
Building has an auditorium the will hold about 250 people, the
announcement was held on the 11th floor in a room just large enough to
hold Brown, Salazar, their staffs, and selected members of the press. As
with previous major announcements of this proposed project only the
select few were in attendance.
July 2012 -Shoveling Smoke
Sometime in the last two weeks of July, it is expected that Governor
Jerry Brown and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce the
proposed building of water conveyance tunnels (peripheral canal) around
the east side of the Delta. It is expected that the system will have
three intakes on the Sacramento River and take 9,000 cubic feet per
second (cfs) from the river with a maximum capability of taking 15,000
cfs. Its difficult for most of us to visualize just how much water that
is. To put it in perspective, the Sacramento River was flowing at
approximately 8,000 cfs when our club fished for shad on the river early
June 2012 - A Different Delta And A Reality Check
During our monthly Board of Directors (BOD) meeting in April, the
directors had a discussion of the Delta Fly Fishers concerns about our
fisheries, conservation, and environmental issues. Our club has a long,
positive history in these areas. Presently we are looking for projects
in which our club can become involved.
May 2012 - The problem is worse than we thought. (Ag chemistry)
Last year I wrote an article for Delta Fly Fishers newsletter regarding
the request of farmers, farm coalitions, and farm bureaus to be granted
yet another waiver of compliance with California's Clean Water Act.
Unlike industry, business, and urban users, California farmers have
enjoyed total exemption of compliance for the 7 million acres they farm
for 30 years. The waiver was granted by the State Regional Water Quality
Control Board (SRWQCB). (Continued)
April 2012 - The leftover dams on the Yuba, the continuing saga of HR
1837, the BDCP's fifth revision, update on suction dredging
Given our club's up coming trip to the Lower Yuba River, I thought this
would be a good place to start this months conservation newsletter. In
early March, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released their
biological opinion that both Daguerre Point and Englebright Dam both
pose a threat to the survival of salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon on the
Lower Yuba River. Its has ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to
March 2012 - A Major Victory for the Stripers, Nunes is at it Again and
Revised Regs for Suction Dredging
On February 2nd Jerry Neuburger and I went to Sacramento to attend the
California Fish and Game Commissioner's meeting regarding the Department
of Fish and Game's (DFG) proposed regulation changes that would have
eradicated the striped bass population in the Delta. We were
representing the Delta Fly Fishers. As you will remember, the Coalition
for a Sustainable Delta had sued DFG to increase the number of Stripers
that could be caught and eliminate the existing size limit.
February 2012 - Big Drought Down Under. Is California Next?
January 2012 -
A plea to help preserve the striper fishery, huge gains for Mokelumne salmon, the invasive weed spongeplant and Diane Feinstein's sweet deal.
December 22, 2011 - A copy of the DFF letter regarding changes in the striped bass fishery sent to the F&G Commission
December 2011 - DFG, Science or Political Expediency?
November 2011 - Felix Smith, a Lifetime of Achievement
October 2011 - The Delta Fish Grinders
September 2011 - "Where is the Delta, I didn't even know it would fit in a pipe"
July 2011 - Politics and water don't mix
May 2011 - We won a big one for the Mokelumne River!
April 2011 - Poisoned food for profit
March 2011 - The Coalition for a Sustainable Delta Vs. DFG, a roll-over settlement
February 2011 - Ammonia, Sacramento's Costly Dilemma
January 2011 - Battle Creek