SACRAMENTO RIVER
 

March 31, 2015    Headlines
 Sac Stripers

Sac River Stripers
The Stripers have pushed up into the Knights Landing to Tisdale section of the river and the action both during the day and night has been solid. Manual with MSJ Guide service reported limits this past weekend. On Sunday 3-29 Manual was limited out by 8:AM for his twosome.
On Monday 3-30 Raith Herford who has been guiding the Sac Valley for 24 years reported great action as well. Raith had a family group on board with three kids under 12. They landed limits working live minnows on the anchor and the kids had a ball and fishing on the anchor makes it easy for young novices to both hook and land fish on their own. Pictured left Russell Hardin from Riverside CA is all smiles with deckhand Pete helping out.
Raith has dates open for Sac stripers through early July and will be running both day and evening trips. Hint... the night trips have been producing some great action. 530 870-2697


How drought management plays out in the Delta
By: Stina Va

People were left dumbfounded at the meeting called by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) on its plan for emergency drought barriers along key Delta channels held on February 12th at the Clarksburg Community Church.
If the drought continues to be serious, DWR’s plan would install three temporary emergency rock barriers Steamboat and Sutter Sloughs near their confluences with the Sacramento River. A third barrier would be built across False River, which opens into Franks Tract, a large flooded island in the central Delta. The barriers would be constructed with large rocks, through which a culvert would pass to allow smaller flow of water and, potentially for fish passage. They would stay in place from May through November.
According to DWR, these barriers would be needed in order to have enough good quality fresh water to carry the state through the fall months, which are often dry in California. They will be paid for from funds left over from Proposition 50, originally passed in 2002. These funds were originally allocated for the Franks Tract Project (this was another plan to install gates in the Delta for fish). Marshall stated that $27 million has already been approved just to install the barriers. Further taxpayer money would also be needed to mitigate impacts later on and to remove them in the fall.
“We were scared to death,” exclaimed Paul Marshall, chief of the Bay-Delta office of DWR. His staff expects very high salinity levels in various parts of the Delta if the barriers are not installed to block tidal salt water. In the absence of winter storms, the big reservoirs owned by the state and federal governments upstream might be required to send stored water down the rivers to expel the salts to protect Delta exports, and would force the Delta export pumps to shut down to prevent public health violations of water quality.
Even more important, the state and federal reservoirs have much more water now than they did at this time last year. Shasta has nearly 750,000 acre-feet more now than at this time last year when it had just 1.7 MAF. Oroville has about 280,000 acre-feet more, and Folsom is at 102 percent of normal, with over a half-million acre-feet in storage.
The only thing that DWR seemed sure that it could mitigate was negative impacts to Delta boating and recreation. using a “universal boat trailer” – an idea that set the Delta locals roaring with laughter. The trailer would enable boats of any size to be lifted around the barriers.
“Please email the photos of this universal boat trailer,” a Delta resident asked. “We will do that,” Marshall quickly promised. Another Delta local skeptically commented that boat trailers would not be needed, due to the growth of water hyacinth that would intensify because of the planned barriers.
Delta people in attendance were clearly well informed, asking a variety of challenging technical questions. Most of these questions were left unanswered since last year’s meeting on drought barriers. “We’ll get back to you on that,” Marshall replied repeatedly, almost robotically. Yet at the same, he reminded Delta residents that DWR is not required to submit formal responses to comments (leaving us skeptical that Marshall’s promise to circulate photos of the phenomenal universal boat trailers may never occur).
Delta residents voiced concerns over impacts on water quality and public health, impacts on traffic, public safety and economic impacts to their islands (which are just recovering economically, crop harvests, and concern about endangered Delta fish extinction (specifically Delta smelt). Still others asked whether delta levees would be undercut by these barriers, and also why DWR has not followed any other suggestions regarding placement of the barriers in other parts of the Delta.
Remarkably, to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, DWR hopes the proposed drought barriers can be approved with a mitigated negative declaration, meaning that agencies would not have to prepare or release a more detailed environmental impact report on the project.
Anna Swenson of North Delta CARES suggested that public members request a public meeting through the federal U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who are considering the permit for these drought barriers. In a concern that echoed last year’s issues with the Bay Delta Conservation Plan’s documents, Swenson also insisted that DWR extend the public comment deadline by three weeks, since its environmental documents on the barriers are over 200 pages long. The current deadline for public comments to DWR on the mitigated environmental declaration will be due March 6.
Several members of the public urged DWR to prepare an environmental impact report on the project, but Marshall disregarded these requests. “I don’t want to make false promises to you,” he said.
As the meeting came to a close, Marshall reemphasized, “We hope beyond hope that the drought never gets to a point where we get to these measures [installing drought barriers].”
“We are their dinner plate,” one audience member commented in frustration. The room erupted in applause. The barriers looked to him like, “in essence, a water grab under the guise of [protection from] salinity.”
To watch video of the meeting recorded by Gene Beley of the Central Valley Business Times, click here.
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