On May 7, 2015, representatives of state and federal agencies, along with three conservation groups, announced plans to “trap and haul” Spring-run Chinook salmon in trucks around dams to the North Yuba River above New Bullards Bar Dam, and also restore salmon and steelhead habitat in the lower Yuba River.
SYRCL is not a party to YSPI. We recognize that YSPI parties believe that a trap and haul project to the North Yuba River is the best achievable action for Yuba Salmon, and while we respect their professional opinion, we are not convinced. We request that all stakeholders work collaboratively on these priorities:
- Reconvene an inclusive process to develop mutually-agreeable plans for Yuba salmon. Broader participation is needed to define the priorities and terms for major salmon restoration actions in the Yuba watershed.
- Prioritize, fund and implement a Biological Goals & Objectives (BG&O) process. This BG&O process would establish a more robust rationale for actions to recover spring-run salmon and steelhead from risk of extinction, as well as how those actions could be evaluated for success. The BG&O process must be open to stakeholders and have clear, persistent and unbiased facilitation.
- Convene an independent scientific panel to develop an alternative fish passage plan that details how wild salmon and steelhead would swim to the upper Yuba River watershed. This volitional fish passage plan should include a full technical and biological analysis of fish passage options at Daguerre Point and Englebright Dams including both dam removal and design for a fish ladder over Englebright Dam. This process must be integrated with the Army Corps of Engineers Feasibility Study process now underway. This alternative analysis should be completed prior to making any further commitments to “trap and haul.”
- Prioritize the construction of on-the-ground salmon habitat improvement projects in the lower Yuba River first. The local water agency has pledged up to $100 million for salmon restoration; these funds should be entrusted to an independent agency to spend on new habitat improvements that scientists estimate could significantly increase the salmon population in the next ten years once completed. That is half the twenty years NMFS staff have estimated it will take them to get “trap and haul” up and running.
We look forward to the opportunity to work with all stakeholders to achieve our common goals for the salmon, for the Yuba River, and for our communities.
New pact to aid Yuba River salmon, Appeal-Democrat (5/8/15)