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Bay MLPA process delayed until peripheral canal plan completed

In a joint statement, Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird and Director of Fish and Game Chuck Bonham announced today that implementation of so-called "marine protected areas" in San Francisco Bay will be delayed until the completion of "planning efforts" for the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta under the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).

The BDCP is a plan to build a peripheral canal or tunnel to export more Delta water to southern California and corporate agribusiness on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. A broad coalition of Delta residents, recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, Indian Tribes, family farmers, grassroots environmentalists and elected officials is opposing the peripheral canal's construction because it would hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species and take vast areas of Delta farmland out of production under the guise of habitat "restoration."

Report documents record Delta water exports and splittail 'salvage'

A report written by Geir Aasen of the California Department of Fish and Game documents the massive numbers of fish salvaged at the federal Central Valley Project's Tracy Fish Collection Facility (TFCF) and the State Water Project's Skinner Delta Fish Protective Facility (SDFPF) during the 2011 water year, as well as the record amounts of water exported to corporate agribusiness and southern California by the state and federal projects.

The report appeared in the Interagency Ecological Program for the San Francisco Estuary Newsletter, Fall/Winter 2012 edition. (

The State Water Project reported record high water exports, 4.90 billion cubic meters of water, the highest export rate recorded since 1981, the report stated. The federal Central Valley Project exported 3.13 billion cubic meters of water, an increase from exports in 2008-2011, but comparable to exports from 2002 to 2007.

Secretary Laird announces delay in release of peripheral canal plan

California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird announced Friday that the release of a controversial state-federal plan to build a peripheral canal or tunnel will be delayed.

In a May 3 letter to David Hayes, Deputy Secretary of the Interior, Laird said the state "will not be ready" to release public review drafts of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) and its environmental impact report/statement at the end of June, as originally expected.

Laird did not directly explain the reason for the delay, but said, "The fish and wildlife agencies are currently reviewing and responding to a substantially improved scientific analysis of habitat restoration, water flows, and other ecological measures to achieve regulatory standards of the federal Endangered Species Act and Natural Community Conservation Planning Act. As a result, we anticipate that we will soon be able to announce some significant adjustments in the overall program that will reflect our commitment to using the best science."

Laird noted that the delay "should not interfere in any way with our preparations for a public announcement of the key elements of a framework for the proposed project with the Governor and Secretary Salazar in mid-to-late July."

Scientific report shows HR 1837 is big threat to Central Valley salmon

In their response to a report released by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), two prominent Representatives from California slammed legislation that would eviscerate protections for Central Valley chinook salmon.

Reps. Grace F. Napolitano (D-Norwalk) and Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) responded on April 26 to the scientific review by the PFMC warning that H.R. 1837, the San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, would damage salmon populations and undermine the recreational and commercial fishing industries that rely on them.

The Council staff report, titled “A General Review of Potential Effects of H.R. 1837 the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley Water Reliability Act, on Central Valley Salmon Productivity and Salmon Fisheries In Ocean and Inland Waters,” blasted the legislation for the negative impact the legislation would have on Central Valley salmon fisheries.

“West Coast fisheries and coastal communities rely on a healthy level of salmon production from the Central Valley,” the report stated. “It appears that H.R. 1837’s provisions would have an adverse effect on Central Valley salmon habitat, total salmon production, fishery participants, and fishery economic benefits.”

EBMUD board votes 7-0 to drop Pardee Expansion from revised water plan

On Tuesday, April 24 in Oakland, the East Bay Municipal Utility District Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve a revised district Water Supply Management Plan 2040 that drops the controversial expansion of Pardee Reservoir.

The expansion would have destroyed at least a mile of the Mokelumne River, including a section eligible for National Wild and Scenic River designation.

The original WSMP 2040, adopted in October 2009, was successfully challenged in court by the Foothill Conservancy, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and Friends of the River. A resulting court order required EBMUD to conduct further environmental review and consider participating in the expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir in Contra Costa County.

The revised WSMP is a result of the revised environmental review. It includes a partnership with the Contra Costa Water District in the Los Vaqueros Expansion, expected to be completed later this year.

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average California Taxpayers $423 a Year, Each California Small Business $2,010

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average California Taxpayers $423 a Year, Each California Small Business $2,010

    With tax day approaching, a new study released by CALPIRG found that the average California taxpayer in 2011 would have to shoulder an extra $423 tax burden to make up for revenue lost from corporations and wealthy individuals shifting income to offshore tax havens. The report additionally found that to cover the cost of the corporate abuse of tax havens in 2011, small businesses in California would have to foot a bill of over $2,010 on average.

    Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals avoid paying an estimated $100 billion in taxes by shifting income to low or no tax offshore tax havens. Of that $100 billion, $60 billion in taxes are avoided specifically by corporations. A GAO study found that at least 83 of the top 100 publically traded corporations use offshore tax havens.

Brown reappoints Jim Kellogg to Fish and Game Commission

James Kellogg, 68, of Discovery Bay, has been reappointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the California Fish and Game Commission, where he has served since 2002 after being appointed by then Governor Gray Davis.

Kellogg has been an international representative for the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry since 1992, according to a news release from the Governor's Office.

Fishing groups reacted positively to his appointment. "Jim has exercised a steady hand in implementing good Fish and Game policies for the state for the past 10 years," said Dick Pool, president of Water for Fish. "We look forward to his continued leadership."

“It’s been great news that he’s been reappointed, “ said Jim Martin, West Coast Regional Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA). “He has always been a good friend of fishermen and his long experience as a Commissioner will provide continuity for decision making and institutional memory.”

BDCP analysis includes plan to remove stripers and black bass

The Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is not just a corporate agribusiness-backed plan to build the peripheral canal, a project that will likely hasten the extinction of Sacramento River winter run chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species.

The “Effects Analysis,” part of the BDCP draft planning documents released by the Department of Water Resources on February 29, also include plans to remove striped bass, along with largemouth and smallmouth bass and other alleged “predators.”

This “predator control” plan will remove these species allegedly to protect salmon, Delta and longfin smelt and other native fish – the same fish that the construction of the peripheral canal/tunnel will kill!

“They are coming down hard,” said Bobby Barrack of Back to Class Guide Service, referring to the plans by the water contractors to build the peripheral canal and eradicate striped bass. “Please take a peek at the Effects Analysis - It is time to speak out!”

Fishery Council adopts generous West Coast salmon seasons

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) at its meeting in Seattle on Thursday, April 5 adopted a set of generous ocean salmon seasons that provides both recreational and commercial fishing opportunities coastwide.

Recreational salmon fishing is scheduled to open on the California coast from Horse Mountain in Humboldt County to the U.S./Mexico border on Saturday, April 7.

"California and Oregon fishermen, in particular, will be benefit from higher-than‐usual salmon returns in the Sacramento and Klamath Rivers this year," according to statement from the PFMC. "The recommendation will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for approval by May 1, 2012."

“Everyone is pleased to see such a strong abundance of the major Sacramento River and Klamath River work‐horse stocks,” said Council Chairman Dan Wolford. “After achieving all the conservation goals for weak stocks in 2012, both recreational and commercial ocean salmon fishermen should enjoy a good season this summer.”

Brown received 'ocean champion' award at gala closed to press

On March 26, I received a news release from the Governor's office stating that "Governor Edmund G. Brown will attend a reception commemorating Ocean Day this evening sponsored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium where he will receive the 2012 Ocean Champion Award."

The event was held that evening at 6 p.m. at the Sutter Club in Sacramento.

However, the release noted, "This event is closed to the press."

I find it interesting that the press was barred from this event. Could this because the media might ask some embarrassing questions about why Governor Jerry Brown was receiving the 2012 'Ocean Champion' award when he has committed himself to continuing many of the abysmal environmental polices of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger?

David Gurney, independent journalist and Co-Chair of the Ocean Protection Coalition, noted that the Governor and the sponsors of the event employed the first and perhaps easiest way to “manage the news” - simply to deny reporters access to information or an event. (

Occupy activists protest clearcutting, corruption at Forestry Board meeting

During the battle to save the pristine salmon and steelhead habitat of Headwaters Forest in 1998, I received a phone call one morning from an environmental activist who told me that country legend Merle Haggard and actor Woody Harrelson would be appearing at the State Capitol for a noon time rally.

I drove from Elk Grove to the Capitol to check the event out. I arrived about a half hour early, so I went to a small circle of a dozen activists standing around and talking on the capitol lawn. I scanned the area around the capitol on the lookout for Haggard, Harrelson and the folks from the Environmental Protection Center of Garberville, the event’s organizers.

I was ready to ask the guy next to me, a short, laid back, bearded man, about when Haggard and Harrelson were supposed to appear when suddenly realized that he was Merle Haggard.

"Please to meet you, Merle," I said as I held out my hand and got a hard, firm shake from the country bard, known for the outspoken lyrics of "Okie from Muskogee," the "Fightin’ Side of Me,"and many, many other songs. Haggard explained to me that he was there to stop the logging of redwood and Douglas-fir forests on the North Coast by Pacific Lumber Company.

Feds add Bay-Delta longfin smelt to endangered species waiting list

The federal government on March 29 found that the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary population of longfin smelt, a cousin to the endangered Delta smelt, warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement that it is precluded at this time from adding the species to the Federal List of threatened and endangered species "by the need to address other higher priority listing actions," drawing criticism from environmental groups that believe immediate protection of the species is warranted.

In an alarming coincidence, "salvage" of longfin smelt at the South Delta export facilities of the state and federal water projects has accelerated over the past week, jumping to more than 1,200 "salvaged" fish from about 300 a week earlier.

The Service finding, made after a comprehensive review of the "best available scientific information" concerning the species and the threats it faces, means the longfin smelt DPS will be added to the list of candidates for ESA protection, where its status will be reviewed annually.

Blackwater to enforce 'Yosemites of the Sea'

Department of Fish and Game News Advisory: For Immediate Release, April Fool's Day (April 1), 2012

Media Contact: Joey Destructo, DFG Communications, 916-NOT-THER

Blackwater to enforce 'Yosemites of the Sea'

Department of Fish and Game Director Chuck Bonham on April 1 announced a new, no nonsense approach to dealing with those fishing without a license or sturgeon report card - and unveiled the beginning of a historic partnership between Blackwater (now Academi Corporation) and the DFG to enforce marine protected areas created under the landmark Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.

Click the you tube link below to view the video taken on a recent trip on San Pablo Bay by Gordon Hough, captain of the Morning Star, that shows you the new "get tough" policy in action:

While the penalties are severe for catching a sturgeon without obtaining a sturgeon card, anglers are advised that the penalties are even worse if you are caught fishing in one of the new marine protected areas, created under the visionary oversight of an oil industry lobbyist, that went into effect in Southern California waters on January 1.

Free Health Care Clinic Set For Weekend At Cal Expo

60 Minutes video

Free Health Care Clinic Set For Weekend At Cal Expo

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) -- People are already lining up at Cal Expo for a free health clinic that launches Friday.

    RAM California will offer free medical, dental and vision care to thousands of people this weekend. The event spans four days, Friday through Monday.

    Organizers expect to screen at least 1,000 people each day.

OccupySac Spotlights US Bank Foreclosure Fraud Practices


Contact: Rev. Ashiya Odeye, Executive Director, Justice Reform Coalition, 916 893-9793 cell therev – AT –

attention: daybook/assignment desk

    SACRAMENTO – US Bank – which Monday announced it would be leaving UC Davis because of protests by Occupy – is the target again Tuesday….this time in Sacramento as Occupy supports the fight to save a local farm from foreclosure and eviction.