Save the Date!
Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
Capital River Awards
5:30 to 9pm
The Delta King, Sacramento
Join us for an evening of fine wine, fabulous food, and to
honor champions of our California rivers!
What if Rivers Could Talk?
Eric Wesselman, Executive Director
Since the onset of the drought, the media has reported
extensively about the impact it is having on people across the state and
beyond. We’ve all seen or read dozens of
stories about people who are worried and even angry about the impact the
drought is having on them. There’s been
plenty of finger pointing, and calls for dams and diversions to take more water
from our rivers. But the rivers can’t
say a single word. What if they
could? What would they say?
While a farmer or state water manager can go on camera and
tell their story in dramatic fashion, rivers communicate with a language of
their own that too few of us recognize.
What if everyone understood them?
What if they could advocate for themselves in the State Legislature and
Congress the way moneyed special interests do every single day?
This is where we come in—all of us. As a friend of the river, you can speak for
the rivers. You can help tell their
story and how they too are hurting in this terrible drought along with the
millions of critters that depend on them.
You can explain how rivers are our lifeblood and that we need to nurse
them back to health because if they run dry, our communities and irrigated
agriculture won’t be far behind. Most
importantly, you can tell your story about what rivers mean to you, why you
think they matter, and what you think we can do to take better care of them.
There are many ways to speak for the river. The trick is to find ways that work for
you. You could reach out to your friends
and family, write a letter or poem, make a phone call, visit the capitol, speak
to a group, talk to a reporter, or invent new and creative ways to tell your
If you’d like to volunteer to speak for the river, or learn
more about this grassroots effort, send an email to email@example.com
and we’ll work with you to find a way that you can help.
Thank you for being a Friend of the River!
BDCP comment process – deadline extended 60 days!
Bia Riaz, Legal Analyst
Despite urgent written requests from Friends of the River,
as part of the Environmental Water Caucus, to allow a reasonable extension of
120 days for the public to review and comment on the voluminous Bay Delta
Conservation Plan (BDCP) and accompanying EIR/EIS documents, the lead agencies
have only allowed an additional sixty (60) days. The public will now have until June 13, 2014
to submit comments. Please continue to
submit your comments, questions and/or concerns regarding the BDCP.
Let your voice be heard on the BDCP that could be a disaster
for northern California rivers and the Delta by submiting your comments through FOR's Activism page.
Ron Stork, Sr. Policy Advocate
It’s been a crazy few weeks here in the state capital as the
big money crowd jostles for attention and cheap water.
News from DC and Bakersfield
The House of Representatives voted to seize large amounts of
water from the Delta and various California rivers. From where and from whom
might you ask, well, from other water users, the state’s dwindling reservoirs,
the environment, and perhaps water that exists only in the minds of the House
majority. The House bill (HR 3964) would also authorize huge new dams and
reservoirs without completed environmental review or any cost-sharing partners
lined up. Yes, Ronald Regan’s federal water-policy reforms would be gone. But
no matter; and pay no attention to the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, the Endangered
Species Act, state water law, court-approved settlements: just get the water to
the parched corporate farms of the southern San Joaquin Valley. Hmm...
Opposed by the Brown and Obama administrations and Senators
Boxer and Feinstein, the House legislation is only the start of what promises
to be a busy but perilous season in our nation’s capital. The Senate now has a counter
piece, and perhaps the House minority will as well, neither of which is cut
from the same cloth. However, if any legislation is to pass both bodies of
Congress, a compromise must occur. Given how ugly the House bill is, there’s
real concern that any chimera that emerges would be no great beauty either.
Bonds, bonds, and more bonds
The legislature has scheduled an $11 billion water bond for
the November ballot. It includes perhaps $3.8 billion for water storage,
something that has the proponents of deadbeat high-cost, low-yield dams
salivating with anticipation. For them, the only problem with this bond is that
is not big enough.
This spring the legislature will be bustling with activity
as the water buffalos jostle for attention in completing bonds with greater or
lesser degrees of public subsidies for water projects of varying merit. It
takes a two-thirds majority to get bonds on the ballot, only a simple majority
to delay one.
Friends of the River has tried to break through the din with
a few important principles: (1) providing public subsidies for deadbeat dams
for the wealthiest and most powerful water districts in the state has little
merit, (2) issuing a hunting license for taking more shots at the state’s
national and state wild & scenic rivers by offering the promise of funds
for dams and diversions on the state’s currently most protected waterways is
bad policy, and (3) finding a meaningful amount of water by just damming more
rivers in a state with 1,400 dams already astride its streams and rivers is
just an exercise in magical thinking.
These principles may seem like common sense, but they don’t
seem to be understood by many under either the Washington DC or Sacramento
capitol domes. We’ve got to change that.
On the Speaking Circuit
Well, occasionally one has to get out of the office. Last
week I spent the day at Capitol Weekly and UC Center’s "Conference on
Water," having the opportunity to be on the cleanup panel. It was needed.
The magical thinking under the capitol domes is not restricted to just there. I
tried to do my best to provide some critical thinking. I think I need to do
this more often.
You may be able to be the judge. The California Channel
plans to present an edited version of the day’s conference. So coming to a
local cable channel for your enjoyment will be speaker after speaker extolling
the benefits of new storage (well, not quite that bad), while generally not
naming where, or for whom, or paid by whom. I tried to provide something
I had a better time last week at the standing-room-only
forum on water put on by the Placer County League of Women voters. This time it
was a forum on the twin tunnels under the Delta. I did my best to recognize
that while DWR has been doing its best to construct rules for the big new
diversion under the Delta (well, a start anyway), that the House of
Representatives has just demonstrated the lack of respect it has for rules to
protect the environment and other legal users of water. The House majority is a
scary and undisciplined lot, apparently not realizing that part of selling the
tunnels means selling trust in the rules by which they are to be operated. If I
had to praise the House majority, it would be for their candor, though.
River Quest Youth Need You!
Jonathan McClelland, FOR Volunteer
iver Quest is FOR’s program for engaging and educating the
next generation of river activists for California. Each year we take 200 plus
youth from around the state on river for an incredible outdoor experience and
lessons that will remain with them their entire lives.
This year River Quest is expanding its scope from a simple
one-day trip with an emphasis on conservation by adding service learning
projects in their home watershed, such as creek clean-ups, riparian restoration
projects, and applying natural science curriculum in the school system. Of
course, we are still offering the river trips as part of the program, but they
will have a much greater impact when they are a part of a richer context.
This year we are rolling out two grass roots pilot programs.
One is on the Guadalupe River watershed in the San Jose area. The other is on
the Santa Rosa Creek watershed in Sonoma County. If you are interested in
getting involved in either of these projects, please contact Steve Frie at
firstname.lastname@example.org for the Guadalupe River, or Jonathan McClelland
email@example.com for Santa Rosa Creek. The greatest needs of both pilots
right now are to interface with local schools. It is much easier to achieve
traction when there are teachers, parents, and youth promoting the idea rather
than an outside entity. If that is not your niche but you would like to be
involved, by all means, contact us anyway! We are excited, committed, and
focused on developing this into a robust program that will be a leader in
developing a sane, balanced policy of water use and recognize the intrinsic
values of healthy watersheds as California makes the necessary adjustments for
21st century realities.
The third focus group in River Quest is developing the
information content necessary to incorporate river-centric science that can be
adapted for school curriculum and be readily accessible via the web. The
possibilities are almost limitless here, and we are fortunate to have a school
principal to keep us grounded in reality of what is acceptable and what is a
viable path for achieving our goal of a universal water-wise populace. It is SO
MUCH EASIER to create good habits than to break bad ones, so our best hope is
through our youth.
River Saving Tip: Follow FOR on Twiter (@CalRivers) to get
your water saving drought tips right to your smart phone or computer!
New American River Guide book!
Roger Groghan, Volunteer & River Guide
The American River Insider’s Guide to Recreation, Ecology,
and Cultural History of the North, Middle and South Forks, has just been
published by Protect American River Canyons (PARC). This edition is not just a
reprinting, but covers the changes that have occurred since the first edition.
For river runners, hikers mountain bikers and equestrians or anyone who enters
the canyons be the old timer or new comer will find the guide book an
Kayakers, paddlers and guide will find Tony Deriggi and Eric
Peach have revised the runs. Maps of the 70 miles of river within the Auburn
State Recreation Area with the new access locations and a description of the
history and geology passing by, the guide book an interpretive resource. The
new Confluence to China Bar and beyond to Rattlesnake Bar run has been
included, a result of the restored river at the proposed dam site. At the end
of the China Bar run there is constructed rapped with a path leading to the
top. Kayakers can play otter all
Trails are the most used resource in ASRA. 50 trails are described with maps and
photographs. There are 150 miles of trails that are divided into areas such
Knickerbocker or the North Fork. Loop hikes using multiple trails are
identified. Many of the trails are a result of the Gold Rush, this history and
the ecology is presented for each trail. Special attention is given to the 30
miles of trail of the Western State Run and the Tevis Cup that pass through
River history beginning with the Native Americans, including
the 1872 account by Stephen Powers, creations stories and a section on Lizzy
Enos one of the last living repository of traditional plant knowledge. The Gold
Rush is covered with stories of individual miner, profiles of mining companies
and a collection of songs sung by the miners. The history of the Chinese in the
gold field has been added.
The natural history chapter is completely new, edited by
Sierra College professor Joe Madeiros. The illustration of flora and fauna by
the Sierra Field Guide author John Muir Laws are in color.
The section on protection should be of interest anyone who
visits the canyons. The Auburn dam is still authorized. The history of the dam
beginning in 1967, to the present efforts of Congressman Tom McClintock to
resurrect the dam is the last chapter of the guidebook. PARC offers a series of
alternatives to the dam. There is a list of organizations that have an interest
in preservation of the canyons.
FOR has a limited number of the Insiders Guide to the American River on sale at our office for $24.95 - email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to get you copy!
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is NOT Closed!
Larry Clark, Special to the River Advocate
One of the best-kept secrets in Northern California is that
despite a bout with the state parks closure list, Malakoff Diggins survives and
is OPEN! Bring the kids out to the park and hike or ski trails throughout the
old Diggins or Upper Humbug Creek.
Spend an idyllic afternoon picnicking, fishing or lolling by
the ever-enchanting Blair Pond. Explore the 500 ft. Hiller Tunnel then check
out the giant water Monitors, and North Bloomfield’s fascinating Gold Rush
History. Bring a camera to capture that history and beauty. Park Campgrounds,
Miner’s Cabins, Museum, and Visitor’s Center will open in May, 2014. More info:
TAKE ACTION: Speak Out Against The Delta Tunnels!
Delta “Twin Tunnels” – A Doubled-Barreled Shotgun Aimed At North State Rivers
The long awaited draft Bay-Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP)
and its draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement
(EIR/EIS) are now available for review by the public. The government is soliciting
public input on the controversial plan and its proposal to build massive “twin
tunnels” intended to divert fresh water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay
Delta Estuary. Now is your opportunity to speak out against this environmental
travesty at upcoming public meetings and by sending an email opposing this
expensive and destructive water project.
For BDCP public meeting times and locations, and to send
your email opposing this disastrous project TODAY, click here.
February 26, 2014
Volume 4, Number 2
The Voice of California's Rivers
In this issue
Speak Out Against The Delta Tunnels!
Capital River Awards: May 14, 2014
What if Rivers Could Talk?
BDCP comment deadline extended 60 days
River Currents by Ron Stork
River Quest Youth Need You
River Saving Tip – Follow FOR on Twitter
New American River Guide Book
Malakoff Digging’s SP Open
Drive that wreck into the River - Friends of the River's Bank that is!
Friends of the River now accepts donations of cars, boats, trucks, jet skis and more! In a cooperative effort between Donation Line and FOR your vehicle can be donated to help save our rivers! You must have a clean title. Free Towing & No Hassles. Pick up ASAP.
Call 1-877-227-7487 extension 2811