NEWS 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!
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
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.
Who 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.
The 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.
Guy 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
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!
David Sobon Auctions
Wild & Scenic Sponsor
Alison Harvey & Dave Loera
Bill & Robin Center/Camp Lotus
Bob* & Faith Cushman
Jeff Depew* & Trish Hayward
California Wildlife Foundation/California Oaks
Corley* & Patty Phillips
Granite Bay Flycasters
Ilene Starin & Will Lichtig
Jerry & Kris Cadagan
Jonathan & Terrie McClelland
Joe & Margrit Petrofsky
Tuolumne River Outfitters
American River Recreation
American River Resort/Tom Van Noord & Dave Martinez
American Whitewater Expeditions
Andy Krakoff & Jeannie Sternberg
Bettina Redway & Michael Picker
California Canoe & Kayak/Keith
Janet Maineri & Louis Debret
Mariah Adventure Connection
Marion Franck & Bob Lew
Monte & Kay Osborn
Mother Lode River Center
Pacific River Supply/Mike Martell
Paul Barth & Teresa Cheung
River Rat Raft Rentals
Scott Armstrong*/All Outdoors
Soluri Meserve, A Law Corporation
South Yuba River Citizens League
Tony & Margie DeRiggi
Tributary Whitewater Tours
Virginia & James Moose
* Friends of the River Board Members
River 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
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
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 email@example.com.
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
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 http://www.friendsoftheriver.org . 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
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.
DATES & LINKS:
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.
River 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
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.
Friends of the River - every member adds to the power and the voice of
Volunteer for FOR as tabler or outreach volunteer.
Sign up to become a whitewater
river guide with Friends of the River.