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Delta KingSave 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? 
Tim Palmer, Truckee River ThumbnailThis 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 story. 
If you’d like to volunteer to speak for the river, or learn more about this grassroots effort, send an email to and we’ll work with you to find a way that you can help. 
Thank you for being a Friend of the River!

delta 2-2013BDCP 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 StorkRiver Currents
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
Federal Capitol BldgThe 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.
Drain - Water & MoneyBonds, 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.
e55On 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 different.
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.

teamworkRiver 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  for the Guadalupe River, or Jonathan McClelland  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!
PARC AR guidebookNew 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 informative delight.
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 afternoon.
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 ASRA.
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  for details on how to get you copy!

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is NOT Closed!
Larry Clark, Special to the River Advocate
father & daughter fishingOne 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.
malakoff treesSpend 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: 530-265-2740,

SalmonTAKE 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
Since 1973
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

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