Major wetland restoration completed
November 11, 2013
The Times-Standard, November 11, 2013
Late in the night of Sept. 26, Humboldt Bay waters flowed freely into a tidal estuary and marsh at McDaniel Slough for the first time in decades. Under the bright glare of construction lights, a large Nehalem Marine Manufacturing excavator scooped the last bite out of an earthen levee and pulled up the failing tide gates. The event, timed to coincide with low tide, is a milestone in an effort to recreate connected, diverse wetland habitats stretching from upland forests, through streams, brackish tidal marshes, to the salt water of Humboldt Bay.
The McDaniel Slough Wetland Restoration and Enhancement Project is located on public land owned by the City of Arcata and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. It helps establish connected fisheries habitats that different species need to complete their reproductive and life cycles in both the freshwater of Janes Creek and the salt water of Humboldt Bay and the ocean.
The newly connected, self-sustaining tidal marsh is expected to develop quickly into a rich, vegetated marsh with a complex channel network. The project removed tide gates, deepened historic slough channels and removed failing or obsolete levees to restore 222 acres of former tidelands and 24.5 acres of freshwater wetlands.
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.
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.”
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.
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.