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Dan Bacher's blog

Elected Officials Urge Closed-Door Delta Meetings Be Opened to Public

In response to news of closed-door meetings to discuss the future of the imperiled California Delta, Members of Congress and the California legislature on September 16 sent a letter urging California Resources Secretary Lester Snow and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to open the talks to the public and include Delta representation.

State Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis), who represents four of the five counties in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, pressed for transparency and openness in the meetings on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) being convened by the offices of the California Natural Resources Agency and the Department of the Interior.

Many Delta advocates view the BDCP as a thinly veiled plan by the Schwarzenegger administration to build a peripheral canal or tunnel and new dams to facilitate water exports from the Delta to southern corporate agribusness and southern California. They fear that the canal would likely lead to the extinction of collapsing populations of Delta smelt, longfin smelt, Central Valley salmon, Sacramento splittail, young striped bass and other species devastated by massive water exports in recent years.

Wolk, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and Congressional Representatives John Garamendi, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, George Miller and Mike Thompson officially requested that the meetings be more inclusive and transparent. State Senator Mark DeSaulnier and State Assembly Members Bill Berryhill, Joan Buchanan, Alyson Huber, Tom Torlakson and Mariko Yamada also signed the letter.

National Groups Support Unified MLPA Proposal for North Coast

National fishing and conservation groups recently announced their support for a single, community-supported marine protected area (MPA) proposal adopted by Tribal, fishing and environmental stakeholders for California’s North Coast as part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.

Jim Martin, West Coast Regional Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), on September 9 announced that the RFA has endorsed a resolution in support of the "Unified Array" for marine protected areas on California's North Coast Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative process.

The resolution has been submitted for the consideration of local governments, tribes and tribal communities, fishing associations and conservation groups. It asks the Governor's MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) to approve the network of MPAs approved by the local regional stakeholder group, including the need to allow traditional tribal gathering.

“Any approved MPA array design will need to allow traditional, non-commercial, gathering, subsistence, harvesting, ceremonial and stewardship activities by California Tribes and Tribal Communities,” the resolution reads.

"In other regions of the state, there were numerous proposals moved forward for the BRTF's consideration and they cherry-picked from these proposals to craft their own, to the great disadvantage of recreational anglers in those regions," said Martin. "We are very pleased with the work the stakeholders achieved in the north coast region, and urge all recreational fishermen to join us in support of their work."

Arnold's Ocean Conference Excludes Tribes and Fishermen

Arnold's Ocean Conference Excludes Tribes and Fishermen

by Dan Bacher

The California and the World Ocean Conference (CWO) 2010, organized by the California Ocean Protection Council, the California Natural Resources Agency, and the California Environmental Protection Agency, started on September 7 and concludes today at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco.

The event began Tuesday as union picketers surrounded the entrance and banged pots and pans in protest of the state agencies and their corporate allies for sponsoring the conference at the hotel, known for its anti-union policies.

The event, entitled "Our Changing Ocean: A Vision for the 21st Century," is a festival of corporate greenwashing, injustice and exclusion. Schwarzenegger used the event to greenwash his abysmal ocean policies, led by his widely-criticized Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative that creates marine protected areas (MPAs) that fail to protect the ocean from an environmental disaster like the BP Deepwater Horizon oil gusher or the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Governor Appoints Michael Sutsos to Fish and Game Commission

Governor Appoints Michael Sutsos to Fish and Game Commission

by Dan Bacher

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed Michael Sutsos, 56, of Sonoma, to the California Fish and Game Commission, according to today's news release from the Governor's Office.

Sutsos replaces Don Benninghoven, who was not confirmed as Commissioner this August by the State Senate, due to massive opposition by fishermen and conservationists to Benninghoven's strong support of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's controversial Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.

Last August, Schwarzenegger appointed Benninghoven to the Commission in a last minute effort to push through marine protected area (MPA) regulations on the North Coast that removed the Kashia Pomo Tribe and other Tribes from their traditional fishing and gathering areas. Fortunately, Tribal leaders and their lawyers, after a historic blessing ceremony was held off Stewarts Point (Danaka) on April 30, negotiated with the state to reopen a section of this new marine protected area to traditional Tribal and recreational use.

Unconfirmed fish kill in West Delta now under investigation

Unconfirmed fish kill in West Delta now under investigation

by Dan Bacher

Jerry Neuburger of the California Fisheries Network ( on September 8 received a series of alarming photos from "Bibi" showing a major fish kill at a canal in the West Delta region at the beginning of Labor Day weekend.

While the kill was initially reported at or near the Chevron property in Pittsburg, it was quickly found that Chevron has no plant in the area with the closest facility in Martinez, according to Neuburger.

“The person first reporting the kill has since contacted DFG and with the assistance of GoogleEarth, has pinpointed the reported location of the disaster," said Neuburger. "DFG personnel are currently in the field, investigating to determine the cause of the incident.”

The photos show hundreds of dead striped bass piled along the shore in scenes reminiscent of the Prospect Island Fish Kill in November 2007, when tens of thousands of stripers, Sacramento blackfish, Sacramento splittail, black bass, carp and other species perished in the largest fish kill ever documented on the California Delta.

Groups Sue State to Protect the Delta's Public Trust Resources

Groups Sue State to Protect the Delta's Public Trust Resources
by Dan Bacher

(September 7) The California Water Impact Network (C-WIN), the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) and AquAlliance filed a landmark public trust lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court to protect Delta fisheries and water quality from excessive Delta pumping.

The groups filed the suit against the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) for multiple violations of the laws protecting public trust resources of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

The causes of action are: 1) violation of the public trust, 2) unreasonable method of diversion, 3) unreasonable use of water, 4) violation of Porter-Cologne Act, 5) violation of the 1995 Water quality Control Plan narrative standard for fish and wildlife and 6) violation of SWRCB Decision 1641.

Arnold "Bohemian Grove" Schwarzenegger Calls for Transparency in Government!

by Dan Bacher

In the most absurd episode yet in the bad action flick that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has starred in since being elected Governor in 2003, the "Fish Terminator" on Saturday morning spouted off about the need for "transparent" government in his weekly radio address.

"Ever since I became Governor, I have pushed to make California government more transparent," Schwarzenegger claimed. "Now, I don’t have to tell you that this is a time of deep recession, all around the world."

"It is more critical than ever that government be held accountable for every dollar it spends, that it live within its means, and that it show total transparency at all levels: at the local level, the state level and the federal level," said Schwarzenegger.

Leading Scientists Call for Immediate Coho Salmon Protections in Marin

Leading Scientists Call for Immediate Coho Salmon Protections in Marin


For Immediate Release: September 7, 2010

For more information, please contact:
-Paola Bouley, SPAWN Conservation Director, 415.663.8590 ext 111, Paola@Tirn.Net
-Dr. Peter Moyle, Professor of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at U.C. Davis and Associate Director for the Center for Watershed Sciences, Phone: (530) 752-6355, Email:

Olema, CA- Leading aquatic scientists are publicly calling on Marin County Supervisors, for the 2nd time in 3 years, to take immediate action to protect critical habitat for the Bay Area’s last-remaining wild run of endangered coho salmon habitat, and end their delay tactics.

Secretary Locke Extends Disaster Declaration for California Salmon Fishermen

Media Contact
· Kevin Griffis 202-482-4883
· Jim Milbury 562-980-4006

Secretary Locke Extends Disaster Declaration for California Salmon Fishermen
September 2, 2010

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today an extension of the disaster for California salmon fishermen due to the low numbers of spawning Chinook salmon returning to the Sacramento River and the subsequent reduction in commercial fishery revenues. Today’s announcement continues the disaster declaration made in 2008 for the fishery.

“Low Chinook salmon returns to the Sacramento River predicted again this year are causing significant economic hardship to commercial fishermen and their families in California,” Locke said. “Many fishermen are finding it extremely difficult to make a living during the limited fishing season this year.”

Urgent Action Alert: Support Approval of Klamath TMDL

This is an urgent action alert from Craig Tucker, Klamath Coordinator for the Karuk Tribe, urging people to support approval of the Klamath TMDL by contacting the State Water Resources Control Board.


Urgent Action Alert: Support Approval of Klamath TMDL

Please support the approval of the Klamath TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) by the State Water Resources Control Board by contacting the Board by phone, fax and email.

The TDML is a limit on how much of different pollutants are allowed in a river. The water board will considers approving the Klamath TMDL on Tuesday September 7 at their meeting in Sacramento at the EPA building at 1001 I Street. The meeting is set from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Government Data Raises 'More Doubts About the Drought'

NEW RELEASE 1 September 2010
By: Patrick Porgans
Further Info: Contact Planetary Solutionaries at pp [at], 415-306-3317

Government Data Raises 'More Doubts About the Drought'

California Agriculture Cashing In at Record Breaking Highs

The Golden State’s agricultural earnings have reached historic highs during the so-called three-year drought.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture, (USDA), California’s cash receipts from crop and livestock sales, in billions of dollars, are as follows: 2009- $34.841; 2008- $38.407; 2007- $36.386; 2006- $31.426; 2005 - $32.4; 2004- $30.939; 2003- $28.232; 2002- $26.544; 2000 - $26.206; and 2000- $25.185.

California’s Governor Schwarzenegger, state water officials, 60 Minutes’ Leslie Stahl, and Fox Cable TV host Sean Hannity, were among those espousing their “Dust Bowl” drought rhetoric for the past three years, depicting images or fallow fields, orchards being ripped out and projections of the state’s agricultural industry going under. It appears their doomsday predictions were all wet.

Government data released yesterday by the USDA, does not support their draconian doom and gloom prophecies reminiscent of the “Great Drought – Dust Bowl” of the 1930’s, and their predictions that billions of dollars in lost revenues were imminent.

In fact, in 2008, the second year of what officials proclaimed may be the state’s “worst drought ever," agricultural “cash receipts” (revenues realized from all agricultural commodities produced in the Golden State) reached a record-breaking high of $38.4 billion (just recently revised from the initial 2008 estimate of $36.2 billion), up from the previous all-time high in 2007 of $36.4 billion.

MLPA Stakeholders Develop Single Proposal For North Coast

MLPA Stakeholders Adopt Single Proposal For North Coast

by Dan Bacher

Ocean Access Protection Fund Now Taking Online Contributions

by Dan Bacher

The recently formed Ocean Access Protection Fund (OAPF) announced on August 31 the launch of its online contribution program through, allowing this division of United Anglers of Southern California (UASC) to collect online contributions for legal challenges against Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative as well as future threats to recreational access to ocean and coastal waters.

The new site was designed to make it easy for individuals, fishing clubs and businesses to make secure contributions to the OAPF using major credit cards or Paypal. “Contributions to the OAPF will be used solely to support legal action against the MLPA and other policies that restrict recreational fishing access to California waters,” said Steve Fukuto, UASC president, in a press release.

While the OAPF is being spearheaded by UASC, Fukuto said it will be representing the interests of anglers, businesses and others frustrated with the MLPA implementation process across the Southern, Central and North Central California regions.

The OAPF was created to support legal causes of action against policies that do not recognize the conservation efforts of fishermen and impact recreational anglers’ access to the ocean, according to Fukuto. The MLPA Initiative, a process ridden with conflicts of interests, mission creep and the corruption of the democratic process, is the first project being undertaken by the organizers of the fund.

Salmon Water Now Releases the 'Bullies of Westlands' Video

September 2010 has been designated as “Salmon Month" by the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco. To celebrate salmon month, SalmonAid ( will be sponsoring a month-long series of exciting events, creating an opportunity to educate the public about what has gone so terribly wrong with California’s once bountiful salmon runs.

"Salmon Water Now could not let Salmon Month start without adding our two-cents to the educational process," said Bruce Tokars, the relentless producer of Salmon Water Now videos. "So we have a new video, actually, two new videos."

“Bullies of Westlands” is Salmon Water Now's answer to the reason that wild salmon in such dire shape. The video runs 20:44 minutes and is available on Vimeo uninterrupted and in two parts on YouTube.

"You knows a bully when you see one," said Tokars in introducing his latest video. "They use their strength and power to get their way or to influence an outcome."

Tokars said a bully can be a person, or an organization. "In California’s on-going struggle over water, the biggest bully of them all is the Westlands Water District on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. We believe that in the last couple of years, the once mighty runs of wild salmon have been decimated by the self-righteous bulling tactics of the Westlands Water District," he stated.

This Salmon Water Now video looks at the words and deeds of Westlands, the "Darth Vader" of California water politics, as they push for more and more water to be shipped south of the Delta to irrigate subsidized crops on selenium-laden soil that should have never been irrigated.

Times-Standard Supports Chesbro's Call for MLPA Delay

Times-Standard Supports Chesbro's Call for MLPA Delay

by Dan Bacher

In its "Roasts and Toasts" editorial today, the Eureka Times-Standard joined Indian Tribes, fishermen and environmentalists in supporting Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro's call for a six-month delay in Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's fast-track Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative on the North Coast.

The publication gave a Roast "To Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's administration, which has chosen to make marine reserves -- areas restricted or off limits to fishing and gathering -- a matter of legacy."

"If the Marine Life Protection Act is based on science it should not be subject to political timelines," according to the Times-Standard. "The MLPA was passed in 1999, and there will be no loss if it's not finished by the end of the gubernatorial term. It's irresponsible for the governor to make taking away peoples' right to fish and gather a notch on his belt -- a belt frayed by the precipitous decline in the state's condition during his tenure." (