Dan Bacher's blog http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/blog/345 enWalton Family Foundation gives millions to ocean privatization efforts http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35794 <p>The Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), a national grassroots recreational fishing organization, on August 17 slammed the Walton Family Foundation's contribution of $36 million to ocean privatization efforts through "catch shares" programs and the creation of so-called "marine protected areas." </p> <p>The foundation, set up by the family who founded Wal-Mart, announced this week "its efforts to help fund the demise of both the recreational and commercial fishing industry while also working to ensure that the next generation of sportsmen will have less access to coastal fish stocks than at any point in U.S. history," according to a news release from RFA. </p> <p>In a August 16th news release from Wal-Mart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Walton Family Foundation announced "investments" totaling more than $71.8 million awarded to various environmental initiatives in 2010. The foundation handed over $36 million alone to Marine Conservation grantees including Ocean Conservancy, Conservation International Foundation, Marine Stewardship Council, World Wildlife Fund and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). </p> <p>The five top grantees were: Conservation International, $18,640,917; the Nature Conservancy,$9,305,449; Environmental Defense Fund<br /> $7,086,054; the Marine Stewardship Council, $4,500,000; and the Ocean Conservancy, $3,757,768 ((http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/walton-family-foundation-invests-718-million-in-environmental-initiatives-in-2010-127835788.html).</p><p><a href="/node/35794/index.html" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35794#commentsNewsEveryone on EarthEnvironmentNationalThu, 18 Aug 2011 18:04:42 +0000Dan Bacher35794 at http://sacramentofordemocracy.orgState and feds announce "aggressive schedule" for peripheral canal plan http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35792 <p>State and federal officials announced in a joint statement on Thursday, August 11 that they have reached "two significant milestones toward assuring a sustainable water supply for California and a healthy Delta ecosystem." </p> <p>Translation? The Brown and Obama administrations are aggressively forging ahead with one of the most widely-criticized environmental policies of the Arnold Schwarzenegger administration - the plan to build a peripheral canal to export more water to corporate agribusiness and southern California water agencies. </p> <p>The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the California Natural Resources Agency have agreed to a schedule for completing an effects analysis and a combined environmental impact statement/environmental impact report (EIR/EIS) as part of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) by June 2012. They also agreed to considering a "suite of alternatives," including a controversial peripheral canal or tunnel, for evaluation in identifying a proposed project. </p> <p>“This is an aggressive schedule that will allow us to move clearly forward with BDCP and take the guess work out of next steps,” said California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird. “Meeting the dual goals of ecosystem restoration and water supply reliability demand a deep commitment from all parties involved.”</p><p><a href="/node/35792/index.html" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35792#commentsNewsAll CaliforniansWaterCaliforniaWed, 17 Aug 2011 00:54:01 +0000Dan Bacher35792 at http://sacramentofordemocracy.orgPacific Voyagers Sail from New Zealand to Raise Ocean Awareness http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35788 <p>A group of Pacific Islanders called the "Pacific Voyagers" have traveled from New Zealand to California on "vaka moanas," boats of ancient Polynesian tradition, to renew their commitment to healthy ocean ecosystems for future generations. </p> <p>They will be landing at Del Monte Beach in Monterey at approximately noon on Friday, August 12th and will be greeted by representatives from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, according to Sanctuary spokesperson Deirdre Whalen. </p> <p>Ironically, while sanctuary officials will greet representatives of indigenous peoples of the Pacific Islands on their voyage, California officials still refuse to recognize the ocean gathering rights of California's indigenous nations. </p> <p>"Our Polynesian ancestors respected and cared for the sea," according to a statement from the Pacific Voyagers (http://www.pacificvoyagers.org/voyage). "As we follow in their wake on our journey, we carry with us Te Mana o Te Moana, The Spirit of the Seas, as we venture forth raising awareness to help heal our ocean. Like our forefathers had done thousands of years before us, we travel using traditional Vaka Moana, voyaging canoes." </p> <p>"Our mission is simple: Use the wisdom of our ancestors, combined with modern science, to propel us into a more sustainable future, help heal our injured ocean, raise awareness, and to revive our cultural traditions of voyaging. Demographically, our crews vary. We have come together from many islands, men and women, young and older, to sail our seven vaka as one," the group explained.</p><p><a href="/node/35788/index.html" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35788#commentsNewsEveryone on EarthEnvironmentCaliforniaFri, 12 Aug 2011 15:19:44 +0000Dan Bacher35788 at http://sacramentofordemocracy.orgStranded coho salmon in Scott River tributaries trigger rescues, investigation http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35773 <p>As happens every year, endangered coho salmon are being stranded in drying pools in the Scott River system, due to inaction by the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), NOAA Fisheries, the U.S. Forest Service and the California Water Resources Control Board.</p> <p>An independent investigation by Klamath Riverkeeper Erica Terence reveals that in spite of the DFG "rescuing" 1,500 coho out of disconnected pools up Kidder Creek, a Scott River tributary, on July 25 and 26, hundreds of juvenile coho salmon were still trapped in Patterson Creek.</p> <p>"At the rate the creek is drying up, those fish will be jerky by the end of today," Terence said in a note to DFG officials. "I suggest that in addition to rescuing what fish you can, your agency should open an investigation into nearby diversions and possible Fish and Game Code violations immediately."</p> <p>CDFG Game Warden Steve McDonald responded to Terence's note within days, supplying a report that all three surface diversions upstream of the dewatered reach with the photographed dying coho were shut off or were returning all the water they diverted back into the creek after using it, according to Terence.</p> <p>Although fish rescue in the Scott River fails to address the root causes of the dewatering such as irrigation dams, canals, ditches, groundwater pumping and soil deposition caused by irresponsible logging in the watershed, "it is a necessary tactic to prevent total extinction of the severely endangered Scott River coho population," Terence said.</p><p><a href="/node/35773/index.html" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35773#commentsNewsAll CaliforniansWaterNorthern CaliforniaThu, 04 Aug 2011 02:49:33 +0000Dan Bacher35773 at http://sacramentofordemocracy.orgSchwarzenegger museum should honor his true environmental legacy http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35772 <p>“Arnie’s World,” a museum focusing on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s life in bodybuilding, acting and politics, has opened at the house in the small Austrian town of Thal where he was born. </p> <p>A “soft” opening took place on July 30 to mark the ex-California Governor’s 64th birthday before a grand opening ceremony takes place later this year, the Austrian Times reported on July 29. </p> <p>“Peter Urdl – an old friend of Schwarzenegger's – explained he and his team wanted to give the former governor of California a chance to attend the occasion,” according to the Times. “Urdl said the date of the official ceremony depended on the action film hero’s schedule.” </p> <p>Museum managers said the exhibition will feature Schwarzenegger’s first set of dumbbells and a replica of his governor’s desk. “The 200-square-metre museum will also include the ‘Terminator star’s favourite pair of cowboy boots and many old photographs documenting the different stages of the famous Austrian’s life,” the Times explained. </p> <p>I believe that “Arnie’s World,” to reflect his true record as Governor, should add some exhibits showcasing the environmental legacy of the “Green Governor.” If there’s not enough space in the existing museum, perhaps a wing can be added to the house or a separate building could be built. Here are my suggestions for exhibits to add:</p><p><a href="/node/35772/index.html" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35772#commentsEditorialAll AmericansEnvironmentCaliforniaWed, 03 Aug 2011 16:05:04 +0000Dan Bacher35772 at http://sacramentofordemocracy.orgUN study says biodiversity loss unstoppable with protected areas alone http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35770 <p>by Dan Bacher </p> <p>While some governments and environmental NGOs have pushed controversial "marine protected areas" in the U.S. and throughout the world as the solution to "protecting" the ocean and maintaining biodiversity in marine ecosystems, a United Nations study released on July 28 said continued reliance on a strategy of setting aside land and marine territories as "protected areas" is "insufficient" to stem global biodiversity loss. </p> <p>The assessment offers a challenge to those who promote projects like Arnold Schwarzenegger's controversial Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative in California, a privately funded program that creates so-called marine protected areas that fail to protect California marine waters from oil spills and drilling, wave and wind energy projects, water pollution, habitat destruction, military testing and all other human impacts upon the ocean other than fishing and gathering. </p> <p>Despite impressively rapid growth of protected land and marine areas worldwide - today totalling over 100,000 in number and covering 17 million square kilometers of land and 2 million square kilometers of oceans - "biodiversity is in steep decline," according to a comprehensive assessment published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series.</p><p><a href="/node/35770/index.html" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35770#commentsNewsEveryone on EarthEnvironmentNationalSun, 31 Jul 2011 05:14:00 +0000Dan Bacher35770 at http://sacramentofordemocracy.orgThe Noyo News Is Back! http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35765 <p>The Noyo News Is Back! </p> <p>by Dan Bacher </p> <p>The Noyo News, published by independent journalist David Gurney, is again publishing news and commentary about Arnold Schwarzenegger's corrupt Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, ocean industrialization and other environmental issues. </p> <p>"We are happy to report that after some effort by web hosters, Google, and yours truly, the malware hack attack on Noyo News is now cleaned up and gone," said Gurney. "You may now once again visit the site with no worries." </p> <p>"The incident is being reported to proper authorities, who may be able to track the perpetrators by their inevitable electronic trail," emphasized Gurney. </p> <p>The MLPA "Initiative" creates a "network" of suspect "marine protected areas" that fail to protect the ocean from oil spills and drilling, water pollution, military testing, wave and wind energy projects, corporate aquaculture and all other uses of the ocean other than fishing and gathering. A big oil lobbyist, agribusiness hack, marina developer, real estate executive and other corporate operatives with numerous conflicts of interest oversaw the creation of these so-called "marine protected areas."</p><p><a href="/node/35765/index.html" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35765#commentsNewsAmericans with DisabilitiesEnvironmentCaliforniaWed, 27 Jul 2011 17:56:11 +0000Dan Bacher35765 at http://sacramentofordemocracy.orgDelta smelt numbers 'improve' as pumps kill millions of splittail http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35764 <p>Department of Fish and Game (DFG) officials announced on July 20 that young Delta smelt abundance this year roughly doubles that of last year, but noted that this is "but a small fraction of their historical abundance." </p> <p>"The improvement is likely due in large part to higher than usual flows from the San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers this year that resulted in better habitat conditions and water quality," according to a DFG news release. </p> <p>The announcement of "improved" Delta smelt numbers was issued as one of the greatest fish kills in California history continues to take place in the state and federal Delta pumps. </p> <p>A horrific total of 8,942,347 splittail, 35,435 chinook salmon, 385,392 striped bass, 49,812 largemouth bass, 67,383 bluegill, 66,403 white catfish, 20,178 channel catfish, 91,956 threadfin shad, 166,336 American shad, 1,642 steelhead and 51 Delta smelt were “salvaged” in the state and federal water export facilities from January 1 to July 21, 2011, according to DFG data.</p> <p>The overall loss of fish in and around the State Water Project and Central Valley Project facilities is believed to dwarf the actual salvage counts, according to "A Review of Delta Fish Population Losses from Pumping Operations in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta," prepared by Larry Walker Associates in January 2010 for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (http://www.srcsd.com/pdf/dd/fishlosses.pdf).</p><p><a href="http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35764" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35764#commentsNewsAll CaliforniansWaterCaliforniaWed, 27 Jul 2011 17:45:26 +0000Dan Bacher35764 at http://sacramentofordemocracy.orgFish and Game Commission refuses to recognize tribal gathering rights http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35750 <p>by Dan Bacher </p> <p>On June 29, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 4 to 1 at its meeting in Stockton to approve a "preferred alternative," an amended version of the "unified proposal" developed by fishing, environmental and tribal stakeholders to create a network of marine protected areas on the North Coast. </p> <p>Commissioners Richard Rogers, Michael Sutton, Jack Baylis and Jim Kellogg voted for the alternative, while Commissioner Daniel Richards voted against it. </p> <p>Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird, a strong supporter of Arnold Schwarzenegger's privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, claimed that the Commission decision was "a major victory in the effort to establish Marine Protected Areas on the north coast of California." He applauded the Commission for voting for an exception for area tribes to "continue hundreds of years of subsistence fishing."</p><p><a href="/node/35750/index.html" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35750#commentsNewsNative AmericansHuman RightsNorthern CaliforniaThu, 21 Jul 2011 15:53:09 +0000Dan Bacher35750 at http://sacramentofordemocracy.orgTribal Science Challenges MLPA Initiative Assumptions http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35743 <p>“With regard to local shoreline systems, where there is access, there are no ‘unfished’ systems,” said Mike Belchik, senior fisheries biologist from the Yurok Fisheries Program. “People have coexisted with these resources for many thousands of years; the appropriate conceptual organization foundation is that systems have been managed, and what is seen is the result of millennia of management.” </p> <p><strong>Tribal Science Challenges MLPA Initiative Assumptions </strong></p> <p>by Dan Bacher </p> <p>State officials and proponents of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative have continually claimed in press releases and testimony before the Fish and Game Commission that the initiative is “science-based.” </p> <p>However, the claims that that process is based on “science” ring hollow when one considers that the scientific perspective of tribal biologists was never included in the MLPA process since the initiative was privatized in 2004.</p> <p><a href="/node/35743/index.html" target="_blank">read more</a></p>http://sacramentofordemocracy.org/node/35743#commentsNewsAll AmericansNative AmericansNorthern CaliforniaSat, 16 Jul 2011 19:54:40 +0000Dan Bacher35743 at http://sacramentofordemocracy.org