CSPA Klamath Salmon Alert and Striped Bass Advisory

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CSPA Klamath Salmon Alert and Striped Bass Advisory

Postby Richard » Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:55 am

From John Beuttler of the California Sport Fishing Protection Alliance (CSPA)

Klamath Salmon Alert
For the first time in fifty years, we have the opportunity to restore the runs of salmon and steelhead of the Klamath River. A number of agencies and groups including the California Hydropower Coalition (CSPA have worked very hard for many months to reach a settlement with PacificCorp who owns the hydro projects on the Klamath. A settlement that opens up the river above Iron Gate Dam is possible for the first time in nearly fifty years, but it is becoming clear that anglers must express their support for such an outcome and that opportunity has arrived.
The American Sportfishing Association has recently advised us that they believe anglers can weigh in and make a huge difference in the outcome. That national group has helped to weld together some dozen other national groups on this issue and they've pulled together a campaign to support the decommissioning of the four hydro dams on the upper river. Their request to CSPA and other fishing groups follows.
By decommissioning and removing the four most seaward dams on the Klamath River, it will be possible to restore the salmon populations which are now in a state of collapse. PacifiCorp, which owns the four dams, must renew their 50-year Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licenses. This presents an opportunity for California, Oregon, the federal government and other partners to reach a settlement that will restore more than 300 miles of this great river system while at the same time protecting PacifiCorp and its ratepayers.

At one time, the Klamath was the third most productive salmon fishery in the West, but now the Klamath Coho salmon is threatened and the Chinook salmon is subject to very severe harvest restrictions. To meet the requirements of environmental law, fish passage modifications will be required as a condition of (FERC License) renewal. Even with these expensive measures, the free run of the river will not be restored. A better solution would be a settlement in which PacifiCorp and both the states and the federal government can agree to decommission the dams, and restore a true American treasure.

Please write to Mr. Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (owner of PacificCorp) to let him know you would like to see these four dams removed.
ASA has made contacting Mr. Buffett easy if you log onto their website alert page at http://capwiz.com/asafish/issues/alert/?alertid=8980116 or http://capwiz.com/asafish/issues/alert/?alertid=8980026 and send an email. Just fill out the form with you name and address and push the send button! That said, I would urge you not to fall into the trap of thinking other people will be able to act on your behalf! You are a critical part of the equation! Please take action and help us make a difference!
Striped Bass Advisory

I wish I had better news on striped bass and an opportunity for you to get involved and make a difference, but despite CSPA's best efforts and that of other groups, the striped bass fishery continues its decline with oblivion not to far off in the distance. If you go to http://www.delta.dfg.ca.gov/data/townet/ You will find the results of the DFG's recent townet survey and the striped bass index since the 1960s.

This years survey on young of the year bass is the lowest in history and continues the trend of such low survival that there will not be a year class again this year! The fishery is composed of mostly young fish. It lacks the larger more fecund female fish that could return this resource to self-sustaining levels. It appears that we will need an average striped bass index between 40 to 60 if we want to restore the fishery to a healthy self-sustaining population.

Clearly, this fishery--like others in the estuary--is a victim of the water wars and excessive Delta water export. CSPA has been working closely with the NCCFFF and CSBA to obtain a striped bass management plan and strategy to restore this fishery to at least a shadow of its former self. Unfortunately, the DFG ran into huge fiscal problems under the Governor's 2004-5 budget and virtually terminated their striped bass program after falling some $20 million dollars down to their slashed budget.

Jim Crenshaw, CSPA's President, the chairman of Striped Bass Stamp Advisory Committee and the Bay-Delta Sportfishing Enhancement Stamp Advisory Committee is extremely concerned about the future of this fishery. Even though the striped bass stamp has more than $1 million in it, the committee has not met in more than a year! As you may know, the Bay-Delta Stamp Committee just received significant spending authority for the first time this July after two years of the stamp being in effect.
A summary of the recent DFG's surveys follows:
2006 TNS Striped Bass Index (8/18/2006)
The 2006 Summer Townet Survey index for striped bass is 0.5. This is the lowest index of record. Early information from the Summer Townet Survey indicated a stronger year class, but protracted spawning and the apparent mortality to several of the cohorts led to the low index.

2005 Summer Townet Survey (8/19/2005)
The 38.1-mm striped bass index for 2005 was 0.9. This is not much different than the 2004 index of 0.8. The 38.1-mm index is set when the mean fork length of striped bass is 38.1-mm, which typically occurs sometime in July. This year, the 38.1-mm mean length was reached on August 6.

2004 Summer Townet Survey (11/12/2004)
The 38.1-mm striped bass index for 2004 was 0.8. This is the lowest index in the 45 year history of the TNS. The 38.1-mm index is set when the mean fork length of striped bass is 38.1-mm, which typically occurs sometime in July. This year, the 38.1-mm mean length was reached on July 13.

2003 Summer Townet Survey (1/28/2004)
The 38.1-mm striped bass index for 2003 was 1.5.
The 38.1-mm index is set when the mean fork length of striped bass is 38.1-mm, which typically occurs sometime in July. This year, the 38.1-mm mean length was reached on July 28.
I've reviewed the Striped Bass Index back to the 1960s. It is safe to say that we had only one good year class in the last twenty years. This speaks clearly as to why CSPA's efforts to restore the Delta and its food web is so critical to bringing back striped bass.
 If you want to support our efforts to keep this fishery around for future generations, join CSPA. If you're a member, don't forget to renew!
John Beuttler, Conservation Director
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
CSPA is a non-profit public benefit organization dedicated to restoring fisheries and their habitat. We engage in variety of aquatic ecological issues to ensure our fisheries have habitat they need to be self sustaining and stay that way. You can support our conservation efforts by becoming a member.  Donations are tax-deductible, greatly needed and most appreciated. Send checks to CSPA at 1360 Neilson Street, Berkeley, CA 94702-1116. Membership starts a $25. If you are a member, then you know of the good work we do, so sign up a friend and help us restore our fisheries! Questions? Call me at 510-526-4049.

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