Executive Director Update

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December 7, 2010

Dear SYRCL Supporters,

Since launching our Yuba Salmon Now! campaign last month, it’s been an eventful few weeks for California’s wild salmon. In the news, there are reports of stronger runs of Chinook to the several hatcheries in the Sacramento basin; the preliminary fall-run Chinook counts on the Yuba also show an increase from last year. SYRCL’s fisheries biologist Gary Reedy is working with colleagues on the River Management Team of the lower Yuba River to verify and publish data on the Yuba’s run of wild salmon, as well as the hatchery strays, from 2010.

This week SYRCL filed our final Remedy Brief and Proposed Order (SEE BELOW) in federal court in advance of our February 22nd 2011 trail date before US District Court Judge Karlton. Initiated in 2006 to respond to what we consider an arbitrary and inadequate plan for the protection of the sturgeon, salmon and steelhead in the Yuba River threatened with extinction—and the failure of the US Army Corps of Engineers to sufficiently implement protective measure to minimize their “take” of threatened species due to their dams on the Yuba—we’re anxious to get in-the-river relief for the fish in the short term, and a new plan (known as a Biological Opinion) that calls for fish passage above Englebright Dam.

For their part, the Corps of Engineers last month implemented what is arguably the first mitigation measure for salmon since Englebright Dam was built 69 years ago. A requirement of the 2002 Biological Opinion (then carried over in a 2007 BiOp), the Corps has begun an initial program to replenish spawning gravels in the river reaches below Englebright Dam. Although the Sacramento Bee article didn’t offer this context, we’re fairly certain that even this modest measure would still be on the drawing board if it weren’t for our legal action.

So what you can you do to keep up the momentum? If you haven’t already, join those who’ve responded to our Yuba Salmon Now! appeal; in the first week we received nearly 100 petitions and raised $10,100 toward our goal of $50,000! Help us reach the goal by the end of the year, and a generous donor will match the funding to help us implement our strategy to restore Yuba Salmon Now, so that California’s wild salmon may thrive forever.

For wild salmon in the Wild & Scenic Yuba,

Jason Rainey
Executive Director
South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL)

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