Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bringing Home the Salmon

Bringing Home the Salmon

SARSAS (Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead) has been hard at work making the dream become a reality. Many activities have been accomplished and many more are planned.

First, Dry Creek Conservancy of Roseville decided SARSAS was not a good fit so SARSAS is now in the process of becoming its own 501C3, tax exempt non-profit organization so money and in-kind donation will be tax deductible. The process with take some time, but eventually SARSAS will be an independent non-profit. SARSAS is now licensed to do business in Placer County.

Second, Ron Nelson, General Manager of Nevada Irrigation District (NID) and five of his department heads and NID Board member John Drew, Edmund Sullivan of Placer Legacy, and I traveled to the Lincoln Gaging Station (LGS), the Hemphill Dam (HD) and the biggest dam on the Auburn Ravine, the Gold Hill Diversion Dam (GDD), which is sixty feet wide, fifteen feet high and extends completely across the Ravine. NID and Placer Legacy are currently working, with the funding already in place, to make the Gaging Station and the Hemphill Dam passable for fishes. We discussed how each barrier can be retrofitted. The focus on retrofitting will currently be on the LGS and HD; the Gold Hill Dam will be retrofitted after these two are finished because of the magnitude of the project.

Most of the barriers on the Auburn Ravine are under the jurisdiction of NID, and Ron Nelson shares the dream of making the Ravine passable for fishes. His primary concern is supplying water for commercial and residential consumers, but he also shares our mutual passion to make the Ravine passable for fishes. Without Ron’s support, our task would be an impossibility.

Science teacher Greg Robinson of Placer High with members of the Placer Fly Fishing Club painted Do Not Dump signs on several of the street drains in Auburn to make people aware that what goes into their sewers eventually ends in the Auburn Ravine. Mr. Robinson and his students took part in Mike Holmes and the Auburn City Council’s Healthy Waterways Program. Making people aware of the connection of what they dump into drains and the health of fishes is a very important step in getting fish to Auburn.
Third, Linda Lareau, the Earth Mother of the Auburn Ravine, of Courthouse Coffee has joined with SARSAS in sponsoring a Wine Tasting Gala at Courthouse Coffee, Lincoln Way, from 6 pm to 9 pm on Friday, May 23. Wine tasting is $10 for the evening. Attending is a way everyone can support SARSAS and ask questions and volunteer.
Linda is daily taking volunteer signups at Courthouse Coffee and accepting donations to SARSAS.
Fourth, on May 8, 2008, SARSAS is scheduled for its regular meeting with Placer County Supervisor Robert Weygandt and Placer Legacy to work on collaborative ways to work with other agencies and non-profits to bring the salmon into Auburn School Park Preserve, where, the plan is, to have them spawn. When that dream is realized, the City of Auburn will be the only city in the state of California to have salmon spawning in the heart of the city.
Last, SARSAS is working with PUHSD Senior Project teachers Anne Duda at Del Oro, Greg Robinson at Placer, Jennifer Scarborough/Susan Teasly at Foresthill High and Kay Fegette at Chana to get the word out to next year’s seniors to possibly do their Senior Projects on a topic related to returning salmon and steelhead to the entire length of the Auburn Ravine.

First the dream, then comes the strategy.

Questions may be directed to Jack and Valerie Sanchez at or 530 888 0281

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