Monday, November 9, 2009

Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead (SARSAS) Update, Nov 5, 2009

Many accomplishments have been made recently. The Healthy Auburn Ravine Workshop in Lincoln was a success with many local attendees learning what to do to help return salmon and steelhead to the Auburn Ravine. We had a documented sighting of a salmon in the Auburn Ravine on Monday, March 23, 2009, by three reliable people, Richard Harris and Lisa Thompson, UCBerkeley and Edmund Sullivan, Placer Legacy, looking for sites on the Auburn Ravine to take attendees to during our May 2 workshop in Lincoln. They spotted a Chinook salmon from the Fowler Bridge a few miles upstream from Lincoln. This sighting is a defining moment for SARSAS because no salmon has recently been spotted above Lincoln. Two fishermen reported to Board Member John Rabe they sighted two large salmon below the Hemphill Dam upstream from Lincoln. If one salmon is sighted, how many more were not seen … ten, fifty or a hundred?

All flashboard dams downstream from Lincoln are now in compliance with NOAA regulations for upstream fish passage. What the next great push will be is getting screens installed on all diversions canals that takes water our of the Ravine for irrigation. Unless screens are installed, salmon smolt and steelhead returning to the ocean to grow up will be entrained into rice fields and pastures and die without ever returning even to the ocean. So SARSAS is now working with landowners and especially with General Manager Brad Arnold of the South Sutter Water District which operates five diversion dams to get screening in place. Once the diversions are screened, then the Ravine will be guaranteed a viable anadromous fish run.

To get fish above the city of Lincoln, SARSAS is working with Placer Legacy and NID to create fish passage around the Lincoln Gaging Station, half mile downstream of Highway 65 in the center of Lincoln, the Hemphill Dam, adjacent to the Turkey Creek Gold Course two miles upstream from Lincoln and finally the Gold Hill Diversion Dam, a mile upstream from Gold Hill Road in Newcastle. Once fish can pass these barriers, they can swim to Wise Powerhouse, one mile from the city of Auburn and then the real work begins to get the salmon to Auburn School Park Preserve, behind Auburn City Hall to spawn.
NOAA Special Agent Don Tanner continues his low key, collaborative approach to working with landowner to secure fish passage by compliance with regulations that provide passage for the fishes to get to spawning gravels and are able to return to the Pacific form up to five years on maturing before they return to the Ravine to spawn, die and start the cycle all over again.

Board member Stan Nader has been methodically connecting us with the local fathers in Lincoln and plans are underway for a SARSAS-Lincoln Salmon Festival to be held in Lincoln on October 23, 2010, at McBean Park on the Auburn Ravine. We have made countless beneficial connections and have talked with many groups in the Lincoln area, all of whom are supportive of SARSAS. Plans are in the germinal stage for a Salmon Festival in Auburn. Both will include the Native American sacred and religious ceremony Calling Back the Salmon conducted by Bill Jacobson, who was taught the ceremony by Pacific Northwest tribes.
SARSAS has finalized an Alliance with the Washoe Tribes of Nevada and California to mutually work to return anadromous fish to the Auburn Ravine. SARSAS is pleased that Darrel Cruz and the Washoes, headquartered in Gardnerville, NV, have joined us in our work on the Auburn Ravine.
Unfortunately, there has been another sewage spill into the Auburn Ravine in the city of Auburn on November 3. The city of Auburn responded quickly to stop the leak and clean up the sewage.

SARSAS Grant Writer Cathie DuChene has secured a five thousand dollar grant from the Tides Foundation to help return salmon and steelhead to the entire length of the Auburn Ravine, the SARSAS mission. Scott Johnson, SARSAS Event Coordinator, has secured grants of about fifteen hundred dollars for educational outreach.

This weekend the Pescatore Winery and Vineyards on Ridge Road in Newcastle is hosting a Wild Salmon and Tri-tip Fundraising Dinner on Friday and Saturday, November 6 and 7, 2009. The tickets are all sold.

The outpouring of community support such as Ken Clark offering the equipment of his excavating company is solidifying the realization of the SARSAS mission. If the entire communities of Lincoln and Auburn support SARSAS’ effort, the salmon in the Ravine will quickly become a reality.
You can help return salmon and steelhead to the Auburn Ravine by sending donations to SARSAS, PO Box 4269, Auburn, California, or by volunteering to write grants, operate a SARSAS booth at local festivals, represent SARSAS at other functions, coordinate an activity, monitor a section of the Auburn Ravine, perform water quality tests, speak to service and other clubs on behalf of SARSAS, do clerical work or research on fishes, find a way to contribute what you do best, write for SARSAS, all by calling 530 888 0281.Many accomplishments have been made recently. The Healthy Auburn Ravine Workshop in Lincoln was a success with many local attendees learning what to do to help return salmon.

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