Sunday, March 23, 2008

SARSAS Presentation to Auburn City Council

SARSAS Presentation to Auburn City Council
February 11, 2008

Mayor Nesbitt and Members of the Council:

We applaud all of you for your current Healthy Waterways Campaign. We want to assist in that campaign. We have started an organization called SARSAS (SAVE AUBURN RAVINE SALMON AND STEELHEAD) we want to describe for you. We are here to provide information on SARSAS but are not here to ask you for anything other than your time and verbal support for SARSAS. We will return at another time to ask for help. This talk is strictly informative.

SARSAS’ goal is to return Salmon and Steelhead to the entire course of the Auburn Ravine (AR). SARSAS is a part of the Dry Creek Conservancy, a non-profit, non-governmental organization, and our goal is to modify the twelve man-made barriers on the Auburn Ravine and the six or more beaver dams, making them passable for fishes. This undertaking will take much time, effort, coordination and money, but it will have a permanent, lasting effect on the quality of our lives in this area. We have an opportunity to create something no other town in California has: an anadromous fish run with salmon spawning in the center of the city.

Since I was born in Ophir and spent my childhood exploring the AR, I have an intimate knowledge of the AR. My personal goal is to bring salmon to the center of Auburn so they can spawn in Auburn School Park Preserve, providing another attractive facet to our aleady beautiful town for residents, tourists and sightseers. I first saw the incredible beauty of a city with a salmon stream flowing through its center in Juneau, Alaska, and got the idea to reproduce that beauty in Auburn.

Here are some of our qualifications for this job. For twenty-seven summers I coordinated all Interpretive Programs for the Sierra District of the California Department of Parks and Recreation as a State Park Ranger. At Del Oro High School we won twelve Cross Country and Track and Field Championships in six years of coaching and, as an aside, I coached Sheriff Ed Bonner to the California State Track and Field Championships twice. Valerie and I coached the Del Oro Academic Decathlon Team to three consecutive California Academic Decathlon State Championships, the only competitive high school team in the history of our area to do so. We raised thousands of dollars to support our Academic Decathlon Team and to arrange for American and foreign exchange students to study here and abroad while we were advisors for the international American Field Service. We have had extensive/intensive consensus building experience while Valerie was President and I was a negotiator for our local chapter of the California Teachers Association. We have wide experience fundraising and consensus building.

We are currently working with several individuals and agencies to realize SARSAS’ goal. Locally, we are working with Supervisor Robert Weygandt and Loren Clark and Edmund Sullivan from Placer Legacy to get started. We met with Janice Forbes who is now supporting SARSAS. We have spoken with property owners along the AR such as Alex Ferreira, Julie Briones, David Bergquist, and John Rabe, who has given us access to his property for students to do fish studies. We have contacted Placer Union High School District Superintendent Bart O'Brien, who is helping us establish contacts with teachers to include units in the science curriculum at our local high schools on Aquatic Life and Stream Restoration.

Placer Legacy is working with NID to modify the Hemphill Dam below Gold Hill. Ron Nelson, NID General Manager, plans to continue working with SARSAS to modify other dams and gauging stations.

We plan to create a SARSAS Foundation to collect monies to help make the Auburn Ravine passable, but CABY (COSUMNES, AMERICAN, BEAR AND YUBA) and other organizations such as already have monies available for grants to work on several of the barriers. Placer Legacy has compiled the Auburn Ravine/Coon Creek Eco-System Resources Plan ( We are currently working on a plan to systematically make each barrier in the AR navigable for fish.

The greatest stream/fish restoration ever is Fossil Creek in Arizona. Everyone worked together. We want to make the Restoration of the Auburn Ravine the model for the State of California. Actions achieve goals but actions are preceded by a dream: Robert F. Kennedy said, “Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say ‘Why not?’" We have heard much about sharing the dream. We are asking you folks to share the dream. Together we can make SARSAS the model fish restoration IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA AND ENJOY ALL THE ACCLAIM ATTENDANT THEREWITH. We love state championships.

Our plan will get fishes to the Wise Powerhouse although currently the water flow/habitation in the Auburn Ravine between the Powerhouse and Auburn Park Preserve is not adequate to support salmon. We would like the City Council to think about addressing at some future date the lack of water flow/habitat and consider contacting NID to possibly secure additional water from the Drum-Spaulding waterway, and also the improvement of water quality in that section of the Auburn Ravine, which you are already probably doing with your Healthy Waterways Campaign. I urge you to think of ways to help us get salmon and steelhead from the Wise Powerhouse to the center of Auburn.

We have the knowledge, expertise and financial ability to make this dream a reality if we work collaboratively. We just must commit ourselves to returning salmon and steelhead runs all the way to Auburn. With your Healthy Waterways Campaign, we can improve water quality and water flow to get fishes up the Auburn Ravine. Now is the time to act, and SARSAS is volunteering to lead that action.

Thank you for your time and courtesy. We will be delighted to answer your questions now.

Jack L. Sanchez
3675 Larkin Lane
Auburn, CA 95602
530 888 0281

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