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Northern California

Items that affect all of Northern California.

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.

Klamath Riverkeeper plans to sue Shasta River dam operator

In a major effort to restore coho salmon to the Shasta River, the Klamath Riverkeeper (KRK) is planning to sue the operator of a dam and reservoir on the major Klamath River tributary.

On March 12, the group filed a 60-day Notice of Intent to Sue the Montague Water Conservation District (MWCD) for ongoing operation of Dwinnell Dam and associated diversions in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Notice provides an opportunity for the District to propose measures to settle the claims before initiating a judicial proceeding, according to KRK Executive Director Erica Terence.

“Coho once numbered in the thousands in the Shasta River,” noted Terence. “Today fewer than 50 return most years. In 2009 only 9 endangered coho salmon (all male) returned to spawn in the Shasta River, according to the California Department of Fish and Game."

The coho collapse in the Shasta is part of an alarming decline of the once abundant fish throughout California. Only 1% of historic coho salmon populations remain in California’s waters, according to UC Davis fishery scientist Peter Moyle.

Occupy, social justice groups blockade entrance to Monsanto

Monsanto has closed its facility in Davis after 150 occupiers from throughout the state blocked the entrances to Monsanto's Davis facility on 1910 5th Street.

The occupiers reported they have "shut down" the corporate giant, which produces genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and is notorious for its inordinate influence over the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Obama administration. Police are now on the scene.

You can see the protest live at

The protest is part of a "Global Days of Action to Shut Down Monsanto" in dozens of U.S. cities and several countries. Occupy groups from Sacramento, Davis, Woodland and even Los Angeles are expected to participate, as well as labor, environmental, veterans and social justice groups.

"We are calling for a 'global class-action' against Monsanto," said Steven Payan, one of the Davis protest organizers. "We are joining the world in solidarity to demand a ban on all GMO foods and hold Monsanto accountable for its actions throughout history from Agent Orange to Deforestation to current and past deaths to preying on small farmers through a broken court system and also through International Free Trade Agreements."

Environmentalists say reserves should ban oil drilling, military testing

Grassroots environmentalists on California's North Coast are urging that the controversial "marine protected areas" being created under Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative include full, comprehensive protection - and not just create additional restrictions on fishing and gathering on a coast that has the strictest fishing regulations of any place on the planet.

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) announced that the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is now complete for the Marine Protected Area (MPA) proposals covering California’s North Coast Study Region. A 45-day public comment and review period will run through April 16.

"If you can take the time to send in comments on this EIR, please ask why the 'marine protected areas' negligently do NOTHING to protect the closed areas from oil drilling, wind and wave industrial projects, ocean mining, navy testing, fish farming, or any other human impacts on the ocean BESIDES throwing the people of California off of their water," said Ed Oberweiser and Elaine Charkowski, the newsletter editors for the Ocean Protection Coalition of Mendocino County. "These are located in areas that are of obvious commercial and economic interest to the very people who conjured up this version of the 1999 Marine Life Protection Act."

EBMUD to drop Pardee Reservoir expansion plan

EBMUD to drop Pardee Reservoir expansion plan

On Monday, December 5, the East Bay Municipal Utility District announced that the soon-to-be released revised draft environmental impact report for its long-range water plan recommends that the utility not include the controversial expansion of Pardee Reservoir.

The expansion would flood a free-flowing section of the Mokelumne River near Jackson, drowning the Middle Bar Reach and part of the Electra Run. Both river reaches are highly valued for their recreational, historic, and cultural significance.

The Foothill Conservancy and other Mokelumne River advocates are delighted by the news. “It’s a wise decision that everyone should feel good about,” said Foothill Conservancy Executive Director Chris Wright. “And it looks like a huge victory for the river. We have yet to see the EIR, but this announcement indicates that EBMUD agrees with us that there are better, less-destructive ways to meet its future water needs.

“The strong, unified community opposition in Amador and Calaveras made a real difference,” Wright said. “EBMUD claims it won’t do water projects without local community support, and it was clear that the Pardee expansion had virtually none.”

How UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi Brought Oppression Back To Greece’s Universities

Mark Ames: How UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi Brought Oppression Back To Greece’s Universities

Yves here. Reader sidelarge raised the issue yesterday in comments, of UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi’s role in abolition of university asylum in Greece. The story is even uglier than the link he provided suggests.

By Mark Ames, the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine. Cross posted from The eXiled

A friend of mine sent me this link claiming that UC Davis chancellor “Chemical” Linda Katehi, whose crackdown on peaceful university students shocked America, played a role in allowing Greece security forces to raid university campuses for the first time since the junta was overthrown in 1974. (H/T: Crooked Timber)

Occupy Sacramento's Day of the Living Dead

Shouting, "What Do We Want? Brains!," "Where do we want them? City Council!," over 200 "zombies" from Occupy Sacramento marched from Cesar Chavez Park through the streets of downtown Sacramento on the afternoon of Saturday, October 29.

Christina Kay and other Occupy Sacramento organizers also led the "zombies" in chants such as "Zombies, united, will never be divided!" as they protested "the Nightmare on Wall Street."

The Zombie Walk, headed by several "zombie banksters," stopped at Wells Fargo and other banks after proceeding through the downtown mall.

At Wells Fargo, one "zombie" man held up a skeleton puppet proclaiming, "Zombies were the 99%." A "zombie" woman also held up a sign saying, "Fatal Error - Capitalism Has Crashed - Install New System."

The afternoon walk was followed by another "Zombie Walk" at 8 pm. The walks took place on Day 23 of Occupy Sacramento, one of hundreds of occupations that have taken throughout the U.S., Europe and Mexico starting with Occupy Wall Street in New York City to protest Wall Street bailouts and the corruption of the political system by corporate money.

Anglers Asked to Step Up Efforts to Conserve California Sturgeon

California Department of Fish and Game News Release
October 28, 2011

Media Contacts:
Marty Gingras, DFG Bay Delta Region, (209) 948-3702
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

Anglers Asked to Step Up Efforts to Conserve California Sturgeon

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) asks anglers to use special techniques and extra vigilance to help conserve California's green and white sturgeon. Both species are caught by anglers in a popular sport fishery centered in the San Francisco Estuary, but anglers need to be aware of special regulations in place to protect the long-term health and growth of the species.

White sturgeon are a substantial management concern and green sturgeon are a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act.

"The state's anglers are on the front line of saving the ancient green sturgeon in our waters," said Marty Gingras, DFG Supervising Biologist. "Together we can grow their populations, save a threatened species and continue year-round sturgeon fishing in California."

San Diego judge upholds North Central Coast marine reserves

A California Superior Court in San Diego on October 17 ruled in favor of the California Fish and Game Commission’s decision to implement marine protected areas on the North Central Coast under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative – and against Coastside Fishing Club’s petition challenging the controversial marine reserves.

This decision was preceded by three court victories for the club, United Anglers of Southern California and Bob Fletcher. “This decision was disappointing, but not unexpected, since this decision supported the judge’s tentative ruling,” said Bob Fletcher, a plaintiff in the multi-tiered litigation.

Lawyers for the fishing groups argued that the state required a development permit from the Coastal Commission to create the reserves, but the judge in his tentative ruling said the permit wasn’t required, since it fell within an exemption under the Coastal Act.

Judge Ronald Prager wrote in the tentative ruling, “The designation of MPAs falls within an exemption in the Coastal Act for ‘establishment and control of wildlife and fishery programs.’ (Pub. Resources Code §30411(a).) Under this statute, the Coastal Commission is statutorily obligated to defer to Respondent where the MPA is concerned. Living marine resources fall within the definition of wildlife. Thus, no permit was required by statute.”

The Ultimate Irony of Arresting OccupySac Protesters in Cesar Chavez Park

Look at the background in the upper right on the screengrab ... The Tower Bridge

I don't know a lot about Cesar Chavez (too young) but what I do know is that he was a civil rights and labor rights organizer and leader. And for the City of Sacramento to turn against his tireless legacy of working and speaking for the common average person who has legitimate concerns and grievances over how this country, state, and city are run is the ultimate irony. To arrest people joining together to give voice to political speech against economic injustices would be unconscionable to those who founded this country --- and no, I don't mean the ones you're thinking of --- I mean these ones --- really

Judge issues tentative ruling on North Central Coast marine reserves

Representatives of the Coastside Fishing Club and United Anglers of Southern California and Bob Fletcher are awaiting the final decision of Judge Ronald Prager in San Diego Superior Court regarding their lawsuit contesting the legality of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative process on the North Central Coast.

During a hearing on the litigation on October 6, the judge issued a tentative ruling that appeared to rebuff the effort by the coalition of recreational fishing groups to overturn controversial marine protected area regulations on the region stretching from Pigeon Point in San Mateo County to Point Arena in Mendocino County.

Lawyers for the fishing groups argued that the state required a development permit from the Coastal Commission to create the reserves, but the judge said the permit wasn't required, since it fell within an exemption under the Coastal Act.

Prager wrote, "The designation of MPAs falls within an exemption in the Coastal Act for 'establishment and control of wildlife and fishery programs.' (Pub. Resources Code §30411(a).) Under this statute, the Coastal Commission is statutorily obligated to defer to Respondent where the MPA is concerned. Living marine resources fall within the definition of wildlife. Thus, no permit was required by statute."

Salmon fishermen defeat agribusiness attempt to close season

On his last day on the bench, retiring United States District Judge Oliver Wanger dismissed a lawsuit by San Joaquin Valley agribusiness interests that sought to shut down the West Coast’s 2011 commercial salmon season for Sacramento River chinook salmon.

Wanger based his October 3 Judgment on a 60-page ruling filed September 30, 2011 that rejected all of the challenges of the San Joaquin River Group Authority (SJRGA) to the salmon season. The SJRGA includes nearly 30 irrigation districts and water agencies in the San Joaquin Valley, as well as the City and County of San Francisco.

The SJRGA argued that the National Marine Fisheries Service and its related agencies violated their duty to protect Sacramento River fall run chinook salmon populations by allowing a full commercial season.

However, Judge Wanger concluded that “this is a case where the agency (National Marine Fisheries Service) ‘got it right’ and followed the law" (Memorandum filed September 30, 2011 at page 59.)

The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), a coalition of commercial fishing groups, successfully intervened to defend the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) 2011 salmon season management measures.

Delta gates will close for 10 days to help Mokelumne salmon

by Dan Bacher

The Golden Gate Salmon Association, Water for Fish and conservation groups won a big victory for the future of Central Valley chinook salmon populations with Thursday's announcement of a 10-day closure of the Delta cross channel gates that connect the Sacramento and Mokelumne rivers.

The Bureau will close the Cross Channel Gates on October 4, 2011 at approximately 10:00 am and will reopen the gates on October 14, 2011 at approximately 10:00 am for the Mokelumne River "salmon fish attraction experiment," according to Thuy Washburn, Chief Operations Manager at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

"During this closure, the salmon will be able to find their way to the main stem Mokelumne River," said Dick Pool, Secretary Treasurer of the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA) and Administrator of Water for Fish. "The river and hatchery will almost assuredly reach capacity."

Pool said this closure will result in six million fall run salmon smolts being able to migrate from the hatchery to the ocean, as well as between 2,000 and 4,000 adult salmon spawning naturally in the river.

Yurok Tribe Submits MLPA and Marine Resource Plan

North Coast Indian Tribes, along with conservationists, fishermen, and environmental justice advocates, have been vocal critics of the state of California's failure to acknowledge tribal gathering rig

Rock Band Cake Endorses Restore the Delta's Work!

by Dan Bacher

The Sacramento region's most popular alternative rock band, the legendary Cake, today officially announced its support of Restore the Delta's campaign to protect the estuary from state and federal plans to divert more water.

As a fan of Cake and its lead singer and songwriter, John McCrea, for years, I'm elated that the band is lending its name to the battle for the Delta's imperiled fisheries, farms and diverse communities!

"Although we are only a rock band, CAKE is very concerned about the health of the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast of both North and South America — the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta," the group stated on Restore the Delta's website.

"Having grown up and formed our band in Sacramento, CA, where the American and Sacramento Rivers meet, we have witnessed the slow destruction of once-thriving ecosystems and we know there needs to be grassroots commitment to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable. Without this kind of advocacy we believe it is highly likely that California will lose forever this amazing natural resource," the group stated.