The following Letter to the Editor was printed in the Stockton Record on July 21. To their credit, Stockton East just submitted the environmental documents to NMFS in order to move forward with next steps to publish the Draft Calaveras River Habitat Conservation Plan! – Jeremy
Stockton East actions hurt fish
Several weeks ago, Stockton East Water District and consultants from Fishbio promised to submit the environmental documents required for the long-overdue Calaveras River Habitat Conservation Plan. As of July 12, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the agency responsible for approving the Draft Calaveras River HCP, has yet to receive them.
The habitat conservation plan is important because it is a way for the public and agencies to work together in the conservation of endangered wildlife habitat. Without it, Stockton East may not apply for an incidental take permit, a protection against accidental harm of the steelhead population as a result of its operations.
For years, Stockton East has been allowed to take fish in the Calaveras River without having the proper permit. Recently, 43 steelhead trout (listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act) were found stranded in the Calaveras River. How much longer will Stockton East be allowed to leave threatened steelhead and other important fish in the Calaveras River high and dry?