November 2009

For Immediate Release

Contact(s) Jeremy Terhune, Defenders of Wildlife, (209) 922-8215


STOCKTON, Calif. (Nov. 26, 2009) – Friends of the Lower Calaveras River (FLCR) invites the public to explore wildlife along the banks of the Calaveras River on a free guided tour by Audubon bird expert Dave Wagner on Dec. 5, 2009.

Wagner, a member of the San Joaquin Audubon Society, will lead the hour-long walking tour from Pacific Bridge to the Pershing Ave. Bridge – highlighting the birds that live along this stretch of the Calaveras River, which is Spanish for river of skulls.

“We are energized by the potential of these river walks,” said James Marsh, an FLCR member, who is helping to setup the event. “As a result of gathering a few thoughts to share during this first walk, I was inspired to begin collecting and reading some books and materials relating not only to the history of the Calaveras River, but to the history of conservation efforts in our region in general.”

Jeremy Terhune with the Defenders of Wildlife said: “An important part of FLCR’s mission to increase public awareness about the important, but long neglected, waterway that runs through our community.”

“Our hope is that these monthly river walks will help our community see the importance of protecting the Calaveras River,” he said. “Once people see how much wildlife depends on the river, I believe they’ll take a bigger role in keeping it clean.”

This is FLCR’s first river walk, and they expect to turn out a crowd of around of 25 people. .

The FLCR members will meet on the second floor deck of the DeRosa University Center at University of the Pacific, rain or shine, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, comfortable shoes and come prepared to walk for an hour along the Calaveras River on University of Pacific’s campus.  

Jeremy Terhune will be available to translate for Spanish speakers.



Friends of the Lower Calaveras River was formed in 2007 by some 30 concerned citizens, who were disturbed by the deteriorating conditions on the Calaveras. Today, FLCR boasts more than 230 members and 11 partners from local conservation organizations, county and federal agencies. FLCR’s mission is to advocate for the sustainable management of the resources and conditions of the Lower Calaveras River.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.  With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit

I read with great interest Mayor Johnston’s and Revitalization Director Harzoff’s comments regarding possible improvements to the EBMUD easement through the city (The Record,November 23).

Having recently become active with The Friendsof the Lower Calaveras River–a local volunteer group looking at ways to educate residents about the LCR and ways to improve it–I began studying aerial maps of the Lower Calaveras with a view to enhancing urban habitats for wildlife.

I was looking for ways habitat islands might be linked by encouraging a variety of practices within our existing infrastructure that would create more native-like habitat corridors.

My casual investigations led me to other groups and organizations interested in and active in implementing similar goals. Simply by studying aerial views, I have come to understand there exist many largely untapped ways to create what wildlife restoration planners term “wildlife corridors” within existing city i nfrastructure.

EBMUD’s easement had already caught my eye as having great potential both as a parkland and as a potential parallel east-west corridor (complementing the Lower Calaveras River) through Stockton.

I would strongly urge the City to consider this as plans are proposed to “upgrade” and “improve” the EBMUD easement.

If at least some portions of it were restored with more drought tolerant native plantings and removal of invasive species it is very likely it could become more self-sustaining and thereby incur lower maintenance costs.

It could also then be expected to provide cover and resources to support wildlife, views of which would enhance enjoyment of the space.

It seems a great shame that we lament what may happen to our Delta while permitting resources like the Lower Calaveras and EBMUD easement to be managed in ways that may (or may not) be most advantageous to multiple purposes.

The Lower Calaveras and the EBMUD both pass within walking distance of Joh n Muir’s archive at UOP. I share Muir’s spiritual regard for natural places and the entire biota of the planet but I guess I’d call myself a Gifford Pinchot environmentalist in the sense that I know human needs must be considered as we look to preserve our remaining natural spaces.

If we can tend our existing urban landscapes with a clearer view to improving them for our fellow beings then I believe we have risen to both Muir and Pinchot’s ideals. At the same time we will be improving them for ourselves and for generations to come.

Thank you for the position you are taking on re-envisioning EBMUD’s property. Please continue to carefully re-think what sort of “parkland” it might become.


The effect of climate change on wildlife and their habitat looms as “the conservation challenge of our generation,” an official with a national wildlife group said Tuesday.

Climate change is affecting species from the Arctic north to the deserts of the Southwest, said Jamie Rappaport Clark, executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife.

“Climate change is affecting many of those species that are in the southern Rockies and in the desert environment where you see serious compromise of water, not only quality but quantity,” Clark said.

A four-day Defenders of Wildlife conference that runs through Wednesday in Denver is looking at the effect of environmental changes on wolves and other carnivores.

“I think all of us that are working in conservation see this as the conservation challenge of our generation, our time, frankly,” said Clark, who headed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for four years during the Clinton administration.

 By Peter Ottesen

Record Staff Writer

November 18, 2009

The number of Chinook salmon returning to spawn this autumn in Central Valley rivers is fluctuating wildly – from improved returns in the Feather, Mokelumne and American rivers to returns as poor as 60 percent below last year’s counts in Battle Creek, the most important spawning stream in the Sacramento River system.

Whether there will be an ocean sport fishing season for king salmon off the California coast is anyone’s guess, but it doesn’t look good. The ocean season has been closed for two consecutive years, as has the in river season in the Bay-Delta Estuary and the Sacramento River and its tributaries. The Sacramento River system produces about 85 percent of the Chinook salmon found in the state’s coastal ocean waters. It’s that important to the health of the resource.

Click here to read the full article at

By Kevin Parrish
Record Staff Writer
November 17, 2009


STOCKTON – A 49-mile canal carrying water around the Delta is the wrong solution for Southern California, and it is too expensive and “won’t ever get done,” State Sen. Lois Wolk said.

Wolk, D-Davis, is still steaming about the process that led to legislation Nov. 4 designed to reform state water policy. She told The Record’s editorial board Monday that, realistically, the efforts were a waste.

“It was awful, incredibly awful,” Wolk said. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Click here to read the full article at

By Alex Breitler

Record Staff Writer

November 18, 2009

California’s broad new water policy isn’t just about building new dams or canals. For the first time, urban water conservation is mandated by state law.

That law “requires” a 20-percent savings in the amount of urban water used per person by the year 2020. But critics argue that:

» The law does not require a reduction in the total amount of water used.

» The legislation does not really “require” conservation at all. If water districts fail to comply, they risk losing eligibility for state grants or loans; no direct fines or penalties are proposed…

Click here to read the full article at

Monday, November 9, 2009

The state will have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in interest each year that could go to education.


In a state as large and fractured as California, it is always cause for celebration when lawmakers can reach some form of agreement on an issue as divisive as water.

Water isn’t just a precious resource here. It is a theology.

Over the decades, various belief systems have formed around subjects such as dams, water exports, conservation and subsidies. Adherents of these theologies have fought so many battles that it is often touchy to gather them in the same room…

Click here to read the rest of this article in the Merced Sun Star

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