In the early morning hours of Saturday the House of Representatives approved the Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the federal government operating. Unfortunately, the CR included a number of anti-environmental amendments that have little or nothing to do with reducing the federal deficit, including:
Drying Up The San Joaquin River, Once Again – Rep. Devin Nunes' amendment to eliminate funding for the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, could result in the river, which recently enjoyed restored flows, being dewatered again.
Kiss Endangered Salmon and Delta Smelt Goodbye – Rep. Nunes' amendment prohibits federal agencies from implementing flow restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that protect endangered salmon and other native fish.
Ignorance Is Bliss – Rep. Tom McClintock’s amendment eliminates funding for the Klamath Dam Removal and Sedimentation Study. Supported by anglers, conservationists, and farmers, the study focuses on the removal of unneeded hydroelectric dams to reopen hundreds of miles of salmon spawning habitat in the Klamath River.
Polluted Water Is Good For You – A West Virginia Republican successfully pushed a amendment that stops the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which prohibits dumping of dredge and fill material in waters that would have an unacceptable impact on municipal water supplies and habitat.
No More Habitat For You – Funding to acquire habitat and recreation lands using the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was cut by 90%. Ironically, the LWCF is funded by oil royalties not by the taxpayers.
The battle now moves to the Senate, which is scheduled to consider the bill starting Feb. 28. Senate attempts to strip the anti-environmental amendments out of the CR and President Obama’s vow to veto the House version of the bill could lead to a shut down of the federal government, which runs out of money in early March. Stay tuned for more.
No turn-over of Auburn dam lands
At the urging of Rep. Tom McClintock, who is intent on reviving Auburn dam, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has decided to keep the Auburn dam project lands rather than support transferring them to another agency within the Department of the Interior such as the National Park Service or the Bureau of Land Management.
Reclamation's governing philosophy over these lands and rivers is that they are but caretakers over a landscape doomed to die under the Auburn Reservoir. Others, of course, hope for a different fate — and for a different caretaker.
The Tuolumne Relicensing has kicked off with the release of the Pre-Application Document (PAD). Interested citizens can look at the PAD to see what Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts are planning for the river for the next 30 years.
For news on public meetings or information on how to get involved, check out FOR’s hydropower reform page on our website.
2010 River Conservation Achievements
Deep Creek, and the Whitewater, San Gabriel, and Amargosa Rivers: FOR advanced our campaign to protect 3% of California’s rivers as Wild & Scenic by building significant and meaningful local support for these rivers in southern California.
Sacramento River: FOR supported the introduction of a bill to protect more than 20 miles of river and 18,000 acres of public lands.
All California Rivers: FOR participated in drafting new rules to protect rivers from the impacts of mining activities.
Mokelumne River: FOR continued the fight against the needless and wasteful expansion of Pardee Dam.
All California Rivers: FOR defended California's strong definition of renewable energy to defend our rivers and ensure utility companies propose truly renewable energy projects.
Cow Creek (Sacramento River tributary): FOR shepherded the removal of small dams that block access to steelhead habitat.
Merced and Tuolumne Rivers: FOR advocated for improved flows for salmon and steelhead and fish passage past hydroelectric dams.
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta: FOR worked with CA congress-members and senators to block attempts to increase water exports that would have led to its ecological collapse of this fragile estuary.
Sacramento, San Joaquin and Other Rivers: FOR derailed a major funding mechanism for new and enlarged dams on the Sacramento, San Joaquin and other Central Valley Rivers.
Central Valley Rivers: FOR delayed a new federal rule that would have needlessly required the cutting down of millions of riverbank trees.
Trinity, Sacramento, American, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin Rivers: FOR ensured the State Water Board will consider the needs of fish and wildlife and other public trust resources when it renews water rights for the federal Central Valley Project.
San Joaquin River: For the first time in 60 years, the San Joaquin River flowed its entire length all year long.
The San Joaquin River is the second longest river in California, but it drains the largest watershed area (32,000 square miles) in the state. Fed by the melting snow of the High Sierra, the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin originates in the incredibly scenic Ansel Adams Wilderness and passes by Devil's Postpile, a national monument, as it flows west out of the mountain range and into the San Joaquin Valley. To visit our San Joaquin River page click here. Enjoy!
River Saving Tip Flush a little less each time
There is a very simple no-cost way you can flush a little less water down the drain each time you use your toilet. Start by lifting the top off your toilet's water tank, check out the room you have and select from your recycling an appropriate size plastic bottle with a cap. Fill the bottle about halfway with pebbles (to keep the bottle from floating) and then top off with water, place the cap on and put it in your tank. Place the bottle so it does not block any of the mechanisms or openings inside. Start with a smaller bottle and work your way up - you do not want a bottle so big that you have to flush twice - and you can always make adjustments. This works best with standard flow varieties of toilets. Newer low-flow toilets already reduce water use dramatically but even some of these newer models can still use this tip to save even more.
Using a typical 16 oz bottle, you can save a gallon a day per person. If everyone in California used 16 ounces less per flush, we could save enough water to supply the annual needs of over 160,000 people!
Visit Your River
Spring Is The Best Time To Visit The Scenic San Joaquin Gorge
The San Joaquin River flows through a spectacular gorge encompassing more than 6,000 acres of public land the Sierra foothills northeast of Fresno. An extensive trail system provides access to the Gorge for hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, hunters, and wildlife/wildflower aficionados. One of the few publicly owned recreation areas in the lower foothills of Fresno and Madera Counties, the Gorge also boasts two campgrounds and is used as an outdoor environmental education classroom.
More than 14 miles of trails provides access to the Gorge and its surrounding uplands. Trailhead corrals are also available for equestrians. Two small campgrounds, one for groups, provide ideal base camps to explore the area. The Gorge is also rich in Native American culture. Acorn grinding holes are common in bedrock outcrops, a reminder of the Dumna and Kechayi Native Americans who called this place home. Click here to visit FOR's San Joaquin River Page for more information and directions.
Want to do something exciting and fulfilling - become a river advocate and guide for Friends of the River's Volunteer Outreach Program. For 35 years FOR has sponsored trainings at the basic and advanced levels. Basic training teaches you how to be a competent and safe Class III Whitewater Paddle Guide while teaching you to be an effective advocate and activist as well. Classes include seminars on conservation issues, river hydraulics, safety and rescue information, trip organization, and much more. Our training program is offered to FOR members at cost. In return, you make a commitment to volunteer to help save the majestic rivers of the California. Click here to learn more or apply today!
PHOTO: Cranes at the Cosumnes River Preserve, Lon Yarbrough, Share the Road Productions
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