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.) 

Can’t make the meeting? Write a Letter to the Editor of the Stockton Record!Here are few things that the public should keep in mind as we review the Environmental Documents and hold meetings to discuss:

  • Boundary expansion does NOT mean any landowner is obligated to work with the USFWS if they don’t want to.
  • Boundary expansion opens opportunities for WILLING LANDOWNERS to enter into financial agreements with the USFWS – this can range from cooperative farming agreements on private land to easements and acquisitions.
  • It costs much less to keep common species common than to recover endangered species.  Boundary expansion would support the preservation of existing riparian habitat by providing financial incentives to conservation-minded landowners.
  • Riparian (river) water rights are not threatened by the proposed boundary expansion.
  • Boundary expansion will provide economic benefits to area farmers and landowners like increasing property values in the nearby area.  Denial of the boundary expansion is a refusal of economic opportunities for farmers. Click here to read a study.
  • Riverside wildlife populations are on the brink of extinction, and the USFWS Refuge staff have been successful in recovering endangered species, such as Canada Geese,  on federal lands without a single documented negative impact to adjacent landowners.
  • Farmers are stewards of the Central Valley’s environment.  By working with the USFWS to recover threatened and endangered species, future conflicts over land use and conservation can be avoided as recovered species can be removed from the endangered species list and from further regulation.
  • The tiny riparian songbirds targeted for recovery have never been linked to food-bourne illness or contamination of crops. Click here to read a study about e coli outbreaks in leafy vegetables in Monterey County.
  • The potential increase in population size of endangered species poses no additional burden on adjacent landowners.  Safe harbor agreements can and will be developed to protect landowners from any prosecution under the endangered species act.

We hope to see you there to assure that our elected officials and the Fish and Wildlife Service take a balanced approach when deciding whether expanding the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge into San Joaquin County is a good idea!