November 2012

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host two open house meetings to answer questions and receive public input on the proposed expansion of the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge.

The meeting nearest to Stockton will be held:

When: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Time: 4:00 – 7:00 PM
Where: Hampton Inn Suites, Lathrop, CA 
(103 East Louise Avenue, Lathrop, Calif)

The Fish and Wildlife Service is considering expanding the Refuge in two sections; north and south of the existing boundary along the San Joaquin River. The northern portion of the study area includes a 15-mile reach of the San Joaquin River from the existing boundary of the Refuge north to a point west of Manteca, in San Joaquin County.

The San Joaquin Farm Bureau has voiced their opposition to the expansion, without having balanced discussion about the proposal!  (If you have not read the proposal, click here to download a copy.)  (more…)

Expanding the world’s largest network of wildlife refuges into San Joaquin County would attract rare and beautiful migratory birds, open up new boating and fishing opportunities, and reduce flood risk in urban areas, federal officials say in a new report.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says enlarging the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge is a “unique” opportunity to restore a major corridor of wildlife habitat along the second largest stream in California, and triple the number of refuge visitors in the process.

Stockton conservationist Jeremy Terhune, head of the group Friends of the Lower Calaveras River, said he feels the good of the project outweighs any perceived bad. Now, with the proposal in hand, is the time to discuss expanding the refuge, he said.

“It means jobs,” Terhune said. “It means outdoor recreational opportunities. It means habitat for birds, which are having a hard enough time as it is. Everybody benefits.”


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October marked 20 years since the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, a water project aimed at restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, went into effect. After many years of damage caused by water diversions from the delta, Congress acted to fix some obvious problems. Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, and former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, a Democrat from New Jersey, deserve the credit for getting this law passed.

In California, water equals money, and agricultural operations in the San Joaquin Valley have seized it for their own purposes.

A key goal of this water project is to rebuild the state’s commercially valuable salmon fishery and the rest of the delta ecosystem. The act required water managers to double the average number of adult naturally reproducing salmon (as opposed to hatchery-raised fish) in Central Valley rivers. In spite of good intentions, the law hasn’t worked.
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Here’s a great video we posted last year of our River Detectives program with Dale sanders (AKA Dr. Dirt). We will be expanding the program and working with our young River Detectives to monitor the native grass planting next month (more to come).

It’s not everyday that trappers and animal lovers share the same view about federal wildlife management.

But it’s happening now with both sides calling for reform of a government agency called Wildlife Services. “It’s time to sit down, roll up the sleeves and take a look at how it can be reformed,” said Gene Harrington, director of government affairs for the National Pest Management Association.

“They are chasing a lot of pigeons in a lot of city halls across the country and I just don’t think that’s a priority for the federal government,” Harrington said.

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By: Kelly Catlett, Jeremy Terhune

The Federal government has spent nearly 10 years working with Stockton East Water District on protections for fish in the Calaveras River. The plan they are developing (called a Habitat Conservation Plan) will explain what effects Stockton East Water District’s operations have had on fish and what steps they will take to minimize or prevent harm to fish in the future. If done right, the Calaveras River Habitat Conservation Plan will ensure that fish will be protected better than they are today and allow Stockton East to continue legally delivering drinking water to homes and businesses in Stockton and irrigation water to farmers east of the city. In other words, the plan will improve the river for fish while still providing water to homes and businesses in Stockton. (more…)

The future of water for drinking and irrigation looks increasingly bleak throughout California and the world’s northern regions as the changing global climate shrinks mountain snowpacks and speeds early runoffs, Stanford researchers forecast.

Decreases in winter snowpacks are likely to be most noticeable during the next 30 years and will continue to shrink through the century, according to an analysis of future climate trends by a team of specialists led by Noah Diffenbaugh at Stanford’s Department of Environmental Earth System Science.
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