August 2011

By: Alex Breitler, Record

STOCKTON – County leaders on Tuesday condemned the concept of a national wildlife refuge in San Joaquin County, even before one has been formally proposed.

After hearing from farmers with a truckload of worries, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to oppose the expansion of the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge from Stanislaus County in the south to an area roughly west of Manteca.

The concept, announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in May, is for the federal government to buy land from willing sellers, then slowly re-establish the junglelike riparian forest that once buffered streams across the Central Valley.

Jeremy Terhune, coordinator of advocacy group Friends of the Lower Calaveras River, told supervisors that his group is “very excited” about the refuge.

“These birds were here thousands of years before anybody else was in this Valley, and 95 percent of the habitat in this Valley has been decimated,” Terhune said. “We need to work together with our federal agencies and come up with solutions.”

Terhune said a refuge could provide new opportunities for Stockton-area children who rarely get outdoors.

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By:  Nan Ballot, FLCR Steering Committee / Sierra Club

As I enjoy my daily walk on the pedestrian/bike path which follows the Calaveras River, I have become interested in the effect of or influence from a name, Calaveras, River of Skulls, named by an early Spanish explorer.

Could there be a force which determines the negative influences on this river which flows through Stockton?

Dams, diversions, fish weirs, agricultural runoff have left their prints in/on the waters of this river which did, until recent times, run pristine, originating from winter rains. Salmon and steelhead migrated up the river to spawn in gravel bottomed pools.

More recently, the hurricane known as Katrina has spawned an ecological disaster to what remains of this river. (more…)


When: Saturday, September 10

Time: 3-8 pm

Where: 3536 Rainier Ave, Stockton



The 4th annual Waldo Music Festival was  postponed this summer because of unseasonable storms. Well, we’ve rescheduled for Saturday, September 10. Time and location are the same, and we’ll have just as much fun as we would have had in June, only we won’t get wet!

The annual Waldo Music Festival honors the work of local naturalist Waldo Holt, and raises money for protection of wildlife habitat in San Joaquin County. Your $20 admission fee includes a full afternoon of music, food and drink, and the opportunity to participate in a silent auction of art and wine. Children are welcome, and are admitted free with parent or other adult.

Mark your calendars, tell your friends, and join us for the 4th Annual Waldo Music Festival Saturday, September 10, 3 – 8 pm at 3536 Rainier Avenue on the banks of the Calaveras River.

For more than a century, California has sought to separate floodplains from rivers.  An elaborate array of levees and dams usually confine, divert or capture winter floods, supporting agriculture on rich floodplain soils and unreliably protecting urban growth in flood-prone areas.

Nowhere is this approach more evident than the Central Valley.  One of the world’s most complex flood management systems—involving thousands of miles of levees, several bypasses, and a dozen large, multi-purpose dams—supports the Valley’s urban and agricultural economy.  This system, conceived more than a century ago, has proven inadequate to meet flood management needs today and in the future (Hanak et al., 2011).  In addition, this flood management system has severely degraded the quality of riverine and floodplain habitat, with a host of unintended economic and environmental consequences.

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Quality of life issues a priority

By: Jeremy Terhune, August 11, 2011


With all of the fires that need to be put out in Washington, bigger environmental organizations seem to be focusing their resources on single-issue campaigns and activism.

In California, not enough attention is given to the root of the problem:

Whole generations of youth (especially Latinos, who will someday represent more than 50 percent of the voting population in California) are so caught up not being “left behind” that they are being “left indoors,” and not building an understanding of the natural world surrounding them!

Meanwhile, volunteer groups like Friends of the Lower Calaveras River and are doing what they can to provide high-quality outdoors experiences to youths while operating on shoestring budgets.

Let’s spend less time talking about fancy, single-issue campaigns and start understanding environmental conservation issues for what they really are: quality of life issues!

When our youths experience how clean air, cool hiking trails and swimmable waterways bring prosperity and health to their communities, they will understand why being a good steward is just another facet of their daily lives.

As Van Jones observed, we are truly at a critical junction where environmental degradation and social injustice meet at the crossroads.

“We cannot solve our problems,” said Albert Einstein, “with the thinking we used when we created them.”

Let’s focus developing a generation of youth leaders who will understand the true meaning of improving the “quality of life” in the Central Valley for all who reside here – people, plants, and wildlife!

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On Thursday, August 18th, Friends of the Lower Calaveras River (FLCR) will host a special reception as the featured non-profit organization of The Abbey Trappist Pub!

As part of their mission to help organizations like FLCR thrive in our community, The Abbey will match up to $500.00 of donations given by the patrons of the pub during our reception.

Bring your family and friends to help FLCR raise funds for our Polar Bear Cleanup event!


When: Thursday, August 18, 2011

Time: 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Where: The Abbey Trappist Pub: 2353 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95204


Lean out of a boat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, grab a handful of plants or a net full of fish, and you’ll haul in a bunch of stuff that doesn’t belong there.

The Delta is considered North America’s most invaded estuary. About 200 foreign species have taken root here. A new one settles in about every nine months, usually when a cargo ship discharges ballast water or a homeowner dumps his aquarium in a ditch.

Ranging from Chinese clams and Atlantic fish to South American water weeds, they have crowded out native species in many areas. By some estimates, 95 percent of the Delta’s biomass, or the totality of its organisms, are not native.

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