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Delta smeltNEWS FLASH: BDCP Public Comment Deadline extended again.
Johnnie Carlson, River Advocate Editor
BDCP officials announced on Friday that they are extending the public comment period for the BDCP plan. We will have more on this story next week on our site, but in the meantime, here is your chance to get your comments in if you have not yet done so.  Get your comments in through FOR’s site today!

Moke Rafting 3 LR.jpg
FOR’s Mokelumne Wild & Scenic Bill Passes State Senate!
Steve Evans, Wild & Scenic Program Coordinator
Late Thursday afternoon SB 1199 passed the state Senate with one vote to spare! In a legislature and current political climate dominated by drought and proposals to build new dams and the twin tunnels under the Delta, this has been an uphill battle. The tireless work of Foothill Conservancy and you, our members, in taking action has proved we can still advance protection of our rivers despite the oppositions scare tactics.
State Senator Loni Hancock’s courage to introduce and fight to advance a bill to protect the Mokelumne River is amazing. She has no doubt been buoyed by the support from dozens of elected officials, Indian tribes, business owners, conservation and recreation organizations, and more than 12,000 individuals for Wild & Scenic Protection for the Mokelumne River.
It’s now on to the state Assembly, so stay tuned for updates and a new call to action soon!

Where did the water go?
Guy Saperstein, Capital River Awards Honoree & Corley Phillips, FOR Board Chair
The recent front-page article in the San Francisco Chronicle ("Drought penalties---cut use or pay up," May 18), is a good example of how distorted the discussion of water allocation has become. The article is about local communities who are considering imposing mandatory limits on water consumption, including penalties. Missing in the article---and missing in nearly all articles published in California newspapers---is any informed discussion about how water is actually used in California.
Individuals in California use very little water. Urban use—including commercial and industrial consumption—accounts for about 20% of water usage in California and personal consumption is just a fraction of that. So, there is only so much we as individuals can do by turning the water off while brushing your teeth or taking shorter showers.
Flood irrigationWho is using California's water? Approximately 80% of all the water used in California goes to agriculture, which might be OK if they used it well, but, in fact, they waste most of it.
The biggest agricultural crop consumer of water in California is alfalfa, which consumes nearly two trillion gallons of water each year and mainly is used to feed cows. OK, people need to eat, right? But most of California's alfalfa crop is exported to China, Japan and the United Arab Emirates to feed cows. So, in effect, we are exporting billions of gallons of water to China while telling people in Livermore and Pleasanton, who use minuscule amounts of water, not to use too much water brushing their teeth!
Drive down I-5 in the middle of summer in 100+ degree weather and you will see huge sprinklers spraying water in the middle of the day and fields being flooded, in the process losing huge amounts of water to evaporation. Very few crops and very little acreage is watered with drip irrigation in California compared to other arid regions of the world.
California Water UseThe extravagant waste of California water by California agriculture is the result of cheap water, water subsidized by state and federal water projects begun more than 50 years ago. When water is cheap and the state is willing to continue building expensive water infrastructure like viaducts and tunnels, there is little incentive for California agri-business to do anything but continue to feed California politicians.
An article from the Wall Street Journal written by water experts Peter Culp and Robert Glennon explain what happens in an industry which receives excessive subsidies:
In 2012, the drought-stricken Western United States will ship more than 50 billion gallons of water to China. This water will leave the country embedded in alfalfa---most of it grown in California---and is destined to feed Chinese cows. The strange situation illustrates what is wrong about how we think, or rather don't think, about water policy in the U.S.
This situation needs to change and California water needs to be managed more rationally. The starting point is providing Californians with accurate information about how water is used and abused by California agri-business, not continuing to focus on individual water usage.
Water PolicyGuy Saperstein is one of America’s most influential civil rights and environmental class action lawyers and the former President of The Sierra Club Foundation. "The Getaway Guide to the John Muir Trail," Guy's story of backpacking the 236-mile John Muir Trail with his youngest son, won the Gold Award for Best Guidebook in 2006 from the Society of American Travel Writers.
Corley Phillips is Chairman of the Board of Friends of the River, which for over 40 years has worked to preserve, protect, and restore California’s rivers and their watersheds.

Delta King
Capital River Awards makes a splash!
Eric Wesselman, Executive Director
FOR held its annual Capital River Awards on May 14 on the Sacramento River at the Delta King in Old Sacramento State Historic Park. This year we honored Representative Doris Matsui and noted civil rights attorney and long-time river champion Guy Saperstein. This event is a project of the FOR Board of Directors co-chaired by FOR Board Member Bob Cushman and his wife Faith Cushman. The Cushman’s along with over two dozen fellow Board members and volunteers work to both fundraise and put together a wonderful and inspiring evening by the river.
In addition to our honorees stirring speeches, State Senator Loni Hancock rallied the gathering around the need to ensure future protections for our rivers and vowed to fight on in her battle to gain protection for the Mokelumne River thru SB 1199.
Funds were pledged that night for a matching campaign for our summer membership appeal.  Monies raised through these efforts will help FOR roll out new grassroots organizing operations to both advance protections for our rivers and grow the army we need to fight the nearly dozen proposals to build new dams and expand existing ones.
FOR would like to sincerely thank all the volunteers who helped pull together the evening and the sponsors who made not only it possible but helped us build our war chest to protect our California rivers!
Waterfall Sponsor
David Sobon Auctions
Wild & Scenic Sponsor
Alison Harvey & Dave Loera
Bill & Robin Center/Camp Lotus 
Cascade Sponsors
Bob* & Faith Cushman
Harriet Moss
Howard Robinson
Jann Dorman*
Jeff Depew* & Trish Hayward
John Yost*
Patty Schifferle
Whitewater Sponsors
California Wildlife Foundation/California Oaks
Corley* & Patty Phillips
Doug Stadler
Granite Bay Flycasters
Ilene Starin & Will Lichtig
Jerry & Kris Cadagan
Jonathan & Terrie McClelland
Joe & Margrit Petrofsky
Marguerite Young*
Sue Ghilotti
Tuolumne River Outfitters
Tributary Sponsors
American River Recreation
American River Resort/Tom Van Noord & Dave Martinez
American Whitewater
American Whitewater Expeditions
Andy Krakoff & Jeannie Sternberg
BC Rimbeaux
Becca Lawton*
Bettina Redway & Michael Picker
California Canoe & Kayak/Keith Miller
Gordon Becker*
Janet Maineri & Louis Debret
Johnnie Carlson
Kevan Urquhart*
Kimberley Milligan
Lee Pope
Maravia Corporation
Mariah Adventure Connection
Marian Bender*
Marion Franck & Bob Lew
Monte & Kay Osborn
Mother Lode River Center
Pacific River Supply/Mike Martell
Paul Barth & Teresa Cheung
Richard Weiss*
River Rat Raft Rentals
Ron Wu
Scott Armstrong*/All Outdoors
Soluri Meserve, A Law Corporation
South Yuba River Citizens League
Susanne Enslow
Tony & Margie DeRiggi
Tributary Whitewater Tours
Vincent Nibler
Virginia & James Moose
Whitewater Connection
Whitewater Excitement
* Friends of the River Board Members

River Quest GroupRiver Quest Cleans up Santa Rosa
Jonathan McClelland, River Quest Organizing Committee Co-Chair
Friends of the River’s River Quest program partnered with the City of Santa Rosa and three local schools to help clean up a one-mile stretch of Santa Rosa Creek on May 10th. Well over 60 students and 20 adults helped clean an area of the creek maintained by the Sonoma County Water Agency.
The Creek & Stream Stewardship Manager for Santa Rosa, Alistair Bleifuss summed up the results best “At least 7 cubic yards total volume from the cleanup.  I measure trash collected by volume (a wet sweatshirt weighs much more than 1,000 cigarette butts which are more harmful to the aquatic system) but even that is not a great measure of our accomplishment.  I think the number of volunteers (I counted 55 at one point) is a good gauge.   What we can’t really measure is the lasting impact the event had on all of us, especially the students.  Hopefully, this one creek cleanup leads to more.  And ideally, a conscientious population who take us to the point where creek and river clean ups aren’t even needed.”
The event is part of a “pilot” effort  to get the youth FOR will take on river later in the year through the River Quest program involved with a cleanup or other river conservation activity prior to their day on river. FOR plans to integrate more in terms of education about the river prior to the youth going into to do the cleanup in addition to a conservation talk presented to the students and adults at the thank you BBQ at the end of the day.
Future pilots are planned for the Guadalupe Creek in the South Bay area and engaging youth groups in the on-river cleanup on the SF American later this summer. If you are interested in volunteering for River Quest please email us at We are in special need of educators and folks with video and website skills to help us build our on-line resources for youth and educators.

Get to Your River!: Raft the South Fork American with FOR this summer!
Stacy Alyse Wieser, Summer BBQ Outings Volunteer Trip Organizer
Join us on river this summer! Raft the South Fork American River this summer in June, July, or August with FOR on one of our three BBQ Weekends (see dates and ticket links below)! Raft Saturday and/or Sunday; camp Friday and/or Saturday nights; or meet us at the river for just the BBQ fundraiser on Saturday’s at 6pm!
This is an entirely guide and volunteer organized event; we ask that you consider renewing your membership or joining FOR. Join or renew by visiting FOR’s website at .  You can become a member as an individual or as a household.
The rafting portion of the trip is "shared cost," which means that the actual rafting expenses, i.e. transportation, food, are equally divided among the participants. Any proceeds from the BBQ are donated to FOR.
Camp Lotus does not allow pets.
  • Saturday Shared Cost (Breakfast, Lunch, Day use fee, Rafting & BLM fees) $53
  • Saturday Fundraiser BBQ Dinner $25
  • Sunday Shared Cost (Breakfast, Lunch, Day Use fee, Rafting & BLM fees) $53
  • Camping with rafting: $8 per night/per person
  • Camping with-out rafting: $12 per night/per person
  • Parking a car: $4 per day
NOTE: Camping, day use and parking fees  for Camp Lotus are to be paid to directly FOR.  Camping is $12 per night (includes $4 day use), day use is $4 per person and parking $4 per car. 

[object Object]River in the Spotlight: Arroyo Seco River
Steve Evans, Wild & Scenic Program Coordinator
The relatively little known Arroyo Seco River drains the eastside of the Ventana Mountains in California's scenic central Coast Range. The Arroyo Seco is one of the few tributaries of the Salinas River that sustains a small population of the threatened steelhead trout, a federally protected species that migrates all the way from the Pacific Ocean to spawn in the clean riffles and deep cold pools of the river. In recognition of this outstanding fishery, as well as its obvious scenic and recreational values, the Arroyo Seco River and its tributary, Tassajara Creek, have been determined eligible for National Wild & Scenic River status by the Forest Service.
Much of the river flows through an unprotected corridor between two separate units of the Ventana Wilderness. Several trailheads are located on the river, providing access to popular hiking trails leading into the Wilderness. The river corridor also includes the narrow and rugged Arroyo Seco-Indians road, which was closed by landslides during the 1997 flood and has yet to be rebuilt.
The lower Arroyo Seco River hosts a popular campground and picnic site known as "The Lakes." Here, the river flows through solid bedrock smoothed by water, tumbling over numerous cascades, and forming deep pools that invite swimming. Nearby trailheads lead up several tributary canyons, including Tassajara Creek, Rocky Creek, and Santa Lucia Creek.
The upper Arroyo Seco River also has two popular campgrounds that can be used as base camps to explore the river's source and several tributaries in the Ventana Wilderness. A hike along the upper Arroyo Seco Trail takes you past a spectacular sandstone formation known as "The Rocks" and up a scenic canyon with several cascades and pools. The best time for hikers to visit the Arroyo Seco River is in the Spring or Fall. Summer visits should focus on the river's numerous swimming holes.
Downstream of the National Forest boundary, the Arroyo Seco River flows through a gravelly floodplain that supports one of the largest native sycamore forests in central California. Unfortunately, this privately-owned section of the river is threatened by illegal and environmentally destructive gravel mining.
Visit FOR's page on the Arroyo Seco in our California River Pages to learn how to get there! 

50waysbuttonRiver Saving Tip: Be the Voice of Your River
Johnnie Carlson, Operations Director
By being the voice of your river you help others see the beauty and benefits of healthy, free, and flowing rivers. The people you share with will go on to share with others and the circle of friends for all our rivers will continue to grow. Here are a few things you can do:
  • ·         Teach your kids to be water conscious. Instilling conservation habits from a young age will help them become sustainable adults.
  • ·         Just because you aren’t covering the water bill, like at a hotel or friends house, still conserve water. It’s not just about the money; we need to use water wisely.
  • ·         Join Friends of the River - every member adds to the power and the voice of your river!
  • ·         Volunteer for FOR as tabler or outreach volunteer.
  • ·         Sign up to become a whitewater river guide with Friends of the River.
Learn more about the 50 Ways to Save Your River!
May 31, 2014
Volume 4, Number 5
The Voice of California's Rivers
Since 1973
In this issue

NEWS FLASH: BDCP Public Comment Deadline extend again.
FOR’s Mokelumne Wild & Scenic Bill Passes State Senate!
Where did the water go?
Capital River Awards makes a splash!
River Quest Cleans up Santa Rosa
Raft the South Fork American with FOR this summer

River in the Spotlight: Arroyo Seco River
River Saving Tip: Be the Voice of Your River


Drive that wreck into the riverbank - 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

The River Advocate is published by Friends of the River contact us at

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