Month: May 2022

Commentary: Balanced Approach to Water Needed for Farms, Fish

By Justin Fredrickson, Ag Alert, California Farm Bureau, May 4, 2022

(SACRAMENTO) – Project operators recently explained unprecedented emergency plans for cold-water temperature management to support endangered salmon below Shasta Dam, the federal Central Valley Project’s largest reservoir. Based on what they told the California State Water Resources Control Board, the effort is pulling out all stops imaginable.

The goal is to get at least a few nests of Central Valley winter-run chinook salmon eggs to hatch, while still leaving something in the reservoir at the end of this summer, should dry conditions continue next year. But conditions this year are so abnormally dry, and feasible flows below the dam will be so low, it’s not clear what will happen.

Amid blast furnace heat during the peak of summer, this process seeks to maintain water temperatures as cold as a beer in the ice chest of an angler casting his lure from the shore.

Such cooling is possible in most years, thanks to the elaborate machinations of armies of planners, project operators and biologists. Carefully managed releases of very cold water from rain and melting snow, generally provided courtesy of Mother Nature, are critical drivers. But in bone-dry droughts, such as the historic one we are now experiencing, this whole enterprise becomes much more difficult.

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Soaring Soon – Condors to be Reintroduced to Northern California

By Juliet Grable, Redwoods (Spring-Summer 2020)

(HOOPA) – Condors once commanded the skies from British Columbia to Baja California until the 19th and 20th centuries, when the giant vultures fell victims to shooting, egg collecting, habitat degradation, and the intentional lacing of carcasses with poison to reduce predator numbers. Poisoning from ingestion of lead ammunition in carcasses was also a major contributor to the decline. The federally endangered bird had dwindled to just 22 individuals in 1982. Since 1992, when the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) began reintroducing captive-bred condors to the wild, the agency and its partners have grown the population to more than 518 birds, with 337 of them flying free.

Before too long, visitors to Redwood National and State Parks may spy the condors, which have been missing from the area for more than 100 years.

Overlapping portions of the park is the ancestral territory of the Yurok Tribe, which is leading the effort to reintroduce the California condor to the Pacific Northwest. The National Park Service and USFWS are partners in the project. The condor figures prominently in the Yurok Tribe’s World Renewal ceremonies, where Yuroks pray and fast to balance the world.

“It’s our understanding of the world that if any component is missing, the system is unbalanced; it’s unable to right itself,” said Tiana Williams-Claussen, Director of the Yurok Tribe Wildlife Department. “That’s actually why we’re here as Yurok people, to help manage the landscape in a balanced way.”

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Sierra County Visited by California’s Natural Resources Agency Secretary, Wade Crowfoot

By Duncan A. Kennedy

SIERRA CITY – Saturday, April 30th, saw Sacramento big-shot Wade Crowfoot, Director of California’s Natural Resource Agency, traveling to Sierra City for a special meet-and-greet hosted by Sierra Pines Resort. The event was set-up and moderated by District Two Supervisor candidate Sandy Sanders, a longtime friend of Crowfoot.

Crowfoot is a native of northern Michigan who moved to California in the mid-1990s. His formal education consists of a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (University of Wisconsin – Madison, 1996) and a Master of Public Policy (London School of Economics, 2004). Crowfoot has previously worked as West Coast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund and as a senior environmental advisor for Gavin Newsom during his tenure as Mayor of San Francisco. Wade met Sanders on a men’s soccer team around two decades ago; according to Sanders, “Crowfoot and [Rob] Bonta [currently California’s Attorney General] were our two best players.”

Crowfoot began with of primer on the history of fire in the West and how putting all fires out by “10 AM the next day” rule was the wrong approach, both from an ecological and fire safety standpoint. According to Crowfoot, “we now know the notion of healthy forests as untouched to be absolutely wrong,” a stance defying modern conservationist dogma but backed heavily by scientific research in fire ecology and Native American oral histories on land and fire use.

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Art & Music Sponsorships Now Available

Press Release from Sierra County Arts Council

SIERRA CITY – Sierra County Arts Council is pleased to offer Art and Music Sponsorships (AMS) 2022. The Sierra County Arts Council is always seeking opportunities to bring more cultural events and programs to our geographically isolated communities. We do not enjoy the same volunteer base and funding resources as our urban neighbors. The AMS program is designed to make the greatest use of our resources and to collaborate with local organizations to bring more art and music to all parts of Sierra County. We introduced the AMS program in 2016 and since then have funded music for events for local organizations across Sierra County including the Loyalton Rotary, local library summer reading programs, the Forest City Historical Society, Downieville Lions, local community improvement groups, the Sierra County Historical Society, local fire departments, and many other organizations.

B. J. Jordan, Executive Director of the Sierra County Arts Council, has been busy working with art advocacy groups across the state to promote funding for the arts, particularly in the rural frontier of Sierra County. As a result, we have seen an increase in funding to our local arts council through the California Arts Council. The Arts Council has also applied for and received funding for Covid Relief grants. As a result of these efforts, the Arts Council has bolstered the Art & Music Sponsorship program and expanded it to include individual artists and their projects.

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Timberfest Returns

By Duncan A. Kennedy

LOYALTON – For the first time since 2000, Sierra Timberfest will be returning to Loyalton this Saturday, May 14th.

This event, a fixture of Loyalton life every year during the 1990s. Timberfest was originally organized as a protest to the slow strangulation of the timber industry by federal injunctions and environmental regulations, but it also served as a way to keep a sense of community going while the town reeled from the declining employment in the timber industry.

The original Timberfest featured a truck parade, logging show, street fair, and a rib cookoff (the inspiration for the birth of the annual Sierra County tradition seen every March – the Great Yuba Pass Chili Cook-Off).

Sadly, after nearly ten years of annual celebration, Timberfest went away the same year the Sierra Pacific Industries opted to close their Loyalton mill, an event sending the town into a downward spiral from which they have still yet to fully recover.

However, now, twenty-two years later, the event has returned thanks to the sponsorship of the Eastern Sierra Valley Chamber of Commerce and CTL Forest Management (the new owners of the Loyalton Sawmill and the Golden West Saloon and Hotel) and the tireless work of community organizers such as Supervisor Terry LeBlanc.

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