October 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to limit the reach of the Endangered Species Act, turning away an appeal by three farms challenging the protection of a 2 1/2-inch long Northern California fish called the delta smelt.

The justices today left intact a federal appeals court decision that upheld the law as a valid use of Congress’s constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.

The rebuff marks the sixth time the nation’s highest court has refused to question the Endangered Species Act. The latest challenge to the law had the backing of property-rights advocates, a group of California water districts and trade organizations representing farms and small businesses.

Click here to read more at Bloomberg.com


The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) has unveiled a new report entitled, “Plastic Debris in the California Marine Ecosystem: A Summary of Current Research, Solution Efforts and Data Gaps.”

“The OPC has identified marine debris as a critical issue for California’s ocean resources. In 2007, the OPC passed a resolution aimed at reducing ocean and coastal debris and its impacts on ecosystems,” said Dr. Amber Mace, Executive Director, Ocean Protection Council. “That resolution identified the need to better understand the science of plastic marine debris in California.”

Click here to read more at Indybay.org

For a copy of the report and more information, go to: http://www.opc.ca.gov/council-documents/.

This update just in from Donnie Ratcliff, FWS AFRP:

One of the highest priority barriers to fish passage in the Lower Calaveras River has been modified just in time to provide open passage for this fall’s returning Chinook salmon and threatened Central Valley steelhead.

Budiselich Flashboard Dam is a relatively small diversion dam that has historically created a large problem for migratory fish trying to move in and out of the Calaveras River.

Fish Passage was improved by implementing a series of boulder weirs and a rock ramp fishway that will allow fish and other aquatic organisms to easily scale the five to seven foot drop created by the concrete dam base. The project was implemented by the Stockton East Water District (SEWD) and was collaboratively funded by SEWD, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Anadromous Fish Restoration and National Fish Passage Programs, and the California Department of Fish and Game.

Additional partners that have provided in-kind assistance and support for the project include the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, University of the Pacific, the Fishery Foundation of California, and the Friends of the Lower Calaveras River.  (more…)

Every Fall, the first rains scour the Calaveras River Watershed and wash oil, pesticide, and other pollutants into the river.

The result is always the same: multitudes of fish die off and float to the surface of the water.

This unfortunate event is usually observable from any of the bridges corssing over the river in Stockton. Last year, it was particlualy noticeable from the Pacfic Avenue and Pershing Avenue bridges.

To be sure, FLCR members will be ready with cameras and cell phones by their sides to help document this sad event.

Perhaps we can send a collage with pictures from over the years to our local policy makers in order to convince them that we need to do more to prevent an event that happens “like clockwork” year after year!