In May, the SYRCL Board of Directors unanimously voted to express concerns with and opposition to the process underway to implement a “trap and haul” program to transport salmon to and from the North Yuba River in trucks for the next fifty years.
As reported earlier, SYRCL believes that the Yuba Salmon Partnership Initiative’s (YSPI) draft term sheet, which has been described by the parties as a settlement agreement between the Yuba County Water Agency (YCWA) and state and federal agencies entrusted to protect wild salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act, is premature when there are still so many unanswered questions about alternative ways to restore a self-sustaining wild salmon population in the Yuba River watershed.
While SYRCL commends collaborative efforts to help restore salmon and steelhead, the Board is very concerned by the YSPI’s closed-door process and rush to complete a settlement agreement by December 2015. The Board urges SYRCL members to carefully read YSPI’s draft term sheet and concept plan and communicate their concerns to staff. Please contact Andrew Collins-Anderson, River People Coordinator, at [email protected] with your comments and concerns.
SYRCL’s recent memo to the YSPI parties urged them “to pursue a plan to restore Yuba salmon that the watershed community might support, rather than focus on developing a settlement agreement that might bind us in conflict.” The memo listed SYRCL’s requests that the YSPI take four interim actions that would allow for collaborative resolution:
- Reconvene the more inclusive Yuba Salmon Forum to develop mutually-agreeable plan 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 process would establish a more robust, science-based rationale for actions to recover spring-run salmon and steelhead from risk of extinction. The BG&O process must be open to stakeholders and have clear, persistent and unbiased facilitation.
- Request that the Army Corps of Engineers conduct a Feasibility Study that thoroughly analyzes fish passage. The Corps’ $3 Million Feasibility Study needs to include a full engineering and biological analysis of both dam removal and design for dam modifications such as “notch and ladder.”
- Make a strong investment in the lower Yuba River now. There are several short-term actions that could be taken in the lower Yuba River that would have significant benefit to salmon and steelhead.
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