News & Stories

  • Interior Secretary visits Point Arena this Friday

    November 7, 2013

    Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will be joined by Rep. Jared Huffman to tour the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands on California's North Coast this Friday, Nov. 8.

    A meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m., Friday. Secretary Jewell, Huffman, stakeholders and members of the public will discuss the community's vision for the continued protection of Point Arena Stornetta Public Lands, which is a significant recreational and wildlife habitat area that is administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

    The meeting will be held at Point Arena City Hall, 451 School St. Check-in for the public begins at 1:30 p.m.

    In addition to Jewell and Huffman, attendees are expected to include Neil Kornze, principal deputy director at the Bureau of Land Management, John Laird, State of California Secretary for Natural Resources, Leslie Dahlhoff, former Point Arena mayor, Assemblymember Wes Chesbro, and Nelson Pinola, tribal chair of Point Arena/Manchester Band of Pomo Indians.

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  • Scott River Water Trust releases water lease summary

    November 7, 2013

    By Scott River Water Trust Executive Direct Preston Harris, November 7, 2013

    The Scott River Water Trust has released its preliminary summary of water leases for 2013, marking the seventh year of keeping water in the river through the participation of irrigators.

    The water trust, the first of its kind in California, leases water flows from willing irrigators in order to keep flows in the tributaries and the mainstem high enough to accommodate adult spawning and juvenile survival of salmon and steelhead.

    Water users are financially compensated for these partial-season leases. According to the summary, the summer lease season saw nine leases in four streams, providing a total of 476.5 acre-feet of water. The summary estimates that the increased flows produced a habitat benefit for 11.9 stream miles in priority streams with cooler water for summer rearing of coho salmon and steelhead young.

    When autumn rains come late, as they did this year, added flows are needed after the irrigation season ends. The fall 2013 leases, for water with stockwater rights, are ongoing with a diversion serving multiple users that began Oct. 1 for 400-800 acre-feet of water to benefit 47 miles of spawning habitat in the mainstem Scott River below the diversions as well as upstream access.

    During the autumn months, the Scott River is used as a migration corridor or spawning habitat by Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead trout.

    Scott River Water Trust Executive Director Preston Harris said Wednesday, “The willingness of landowners to participate in the Water Trust is a testament to the continued restoration and enhancement efforts our community puts forth. The cooperation shown in this critically dry water year was remarkable. The Trust is truly thankful to the dozens of landowners who made this season a success.” 

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  • Scott River Chinook counts below average so far

    November 1, 2013

    By David Smith, SISKIYOU DAILY, November 1, 2013

    This year’s Chinook salmon counts are coming in above-average on the Shasta River, but the Scott River will likely come below average this year, according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife data through Oct. 20.

    Thus far, the Scott has had 1088 Chinook make their way to river mile 18, where the DFW’s video weir takes a visual count of the spawn-ready salmon.

    Last year’s weir total, according to the data, was 8144 by Nov. 29. The visual count is augmented by physical surveys for carcasses and spawning areas downstream from the weir, and that data will be added to this year’s data upon the run’s completion.

    While the numbers appear to starkly contrast with the Shasta run, Sari Sommarstrom of the Siskiyou County Resource Conservation District said Thursday that the Scott run typically starts later than the Shasta, and the Shasta’s weir is right at the mouth of the river.


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  • Slow Start To Salmon Spawn

    November 1, 2013

    By Lacey Jarrell, HERALD AND NEWS, November 1, 2013

    Fewer than half the salmon expected to enter the Klamath River in California this year have moved inland, but environmental scientist Sara Borok said water conditions are favorable and it’s still too early to gauge the final count.

    Only about 106,000 fish have made it into the Klamath and its tributaries, Borok, a scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said.

    “It’s not as many as last year, but it’s not poor,” she said. “The water is cool and clear, but low. That’s not uncommon for this time of year.”

    According to Borok, 323,000 salmon were recorded in 2012, making it the largest run since recording began in 1978. Scientists predict the 2013 run could be as large as 272,000; however, Borok said a number of factors influence Klamath salmon counts.

    Winter storms this year filled the mouth of the Klamath River with silt and kept fish from entering the river, she said. The added sediment also created sandbars along the mouth, which allowed more sport fishing and increased ocean harvests.

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  • Shasta Chinook counts higher than 38-year average

    October 30, 2013

    By David Smith, Sisikiyou Daily News, October 30, 2013

    As salmon journey to their spawning grounds in the Klamath River’s tributaries, preliminary counts are coming in higher than the 38-year average.

    The annual adult salmon escapement count occurs from about September to early January, according to Morgan Knechtle of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Knechtle and his team monitor the three weirs on Bogus Creek and the Shasta and Scott rivers, compiling data that will be used in the formulation of the following year’s ocean abundance and harvest allowance estimates.

    The weirs funnel the salmon through a small box containing a video camera, which is connected to a motion-activated digital video recorder that allows for a visual count of each fish that passes through on its way upstream. As of Oct. 21, the CDFW had counted approximately 7,346 Chinook, a number higher than the multi-year average but much smaller than last year’s 29,544.

    The numbers vary with different age cohorts, according to Knechtle, and numerous factors can play a role in determining how many adults return each year from ocean maturation.

    Five Coho have returned to the Shasta River this year, according to CDFW data, but the numbers are not used in harvest estimates due to the species’ endangered status. Knechtle said that by utilizing the various facets of salmon counting – from adult escapement to outbound juveniles – the CDFW is in a position to provide a broad look at the Klamath as a whole and provide fishermen, tribes and agencies with an outlook for the coming year.

    Along with estimates on ocean abundance and overages for harvest, the data can be used to pinpoint causes of shifts in run sizes, providing a look at whether numbers are being affected primarily by in-river changes or conditions outside the basin. Knechtle said he expects final Chinook data to be ready for the 2014 fisheries management cycle by February.

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