Sunday, March 21, 2010

SARSAS Spring 2010 Update

Posted March 21, 2010

Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead (SARSAS) Update

Jack L. Sanchez, President
PO Bx 4269
Auburn, CA95604
530 888 0281

SARSAS General Meetings, which are open to the public, are held the fourth Monday of every month at the Domes, 175 Fulweiler in Auburn at 10am and are limited to one hour. SARSAS believes that many people sitting at the same table WORKING COLLABORATIVELY in the best way to accomplish the SARSAS mission which is to return salmon and steelhead to the entire thirty-three mile length of the Auburn Ravine.

SARSAS’ next fundraising dinner will be held at Rubino’s Italian American Cuisine Restaurant at 5015 Pacific Street in Rocklin on Monday, June 7, at 5:30 pm. Wine tasting and a raffle will be included. Contact SARSAS Event Coordinator Greg Nelson at 916-663-4914 for details. Then, the Second Annual SARSAS-Pescatore Winery Wild Salmon and Tri-Tips Dinner is scheduled for two evenings: Friday and Saturday, September 24-25 at Pescatore Vineyard and Winery, 7055 Ridge Road in Newcastle. Contact owner Dave Wegner at 916-663-1422 for details.

Many good things have taken place recently. To repeat, we had a documented sighting of a salmon in the Auburn Ravine on Monday, March 23, 2009, by three reliable people: Richard Harris, Lisa Thompson, a UC Berkeley Fish Biologist, and Edmund Sullivan, Placer Legacy. While looking for spawning sites, 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 in a long time. Additionally, two fishermen reported to Board Member John Rabe they had sighted two large salmon below the Hemphill Dam upstream from Lincoln at the Turkey Creek Golf Course. 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. That means from November 15 through April 15, all dams are removed so fish can swim upstream to spawning grounds. The next great push will be getting screens installed on all diversions that take water out of the Ravine for irrigation. Unless screens are installed, salmon smolt and steelhead returning to the ocean to grow up for three to five years, 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. Ron Ott, SARSAS Board Member and one of the nation’s great authorities on fish passage, is currently working with SARSAS Grant Writer Cathie DuChene, to design, plan and fund fish screenings for the Pleasant Grove Diversion Canal a few miles downstream of Lincoln, which diverts at least fifty percent of the water in the Auburn Ravine for irrigation, and the dozen or so pumps that take water for irrigation and are perilous to fishes. Once the Pleasant Grove Canal and the pumps are screened, then the Ravine will be guaranteed a viable anadromous fish run to the City of Lincoln.
SARSAS’ current focus is to raise money to install these fish screens.

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. Ron Nelson, General Manager of NID, had planned to have these retrofitted for fish passage last summer but funding dried up. He is currently working for a fall 2010 target date. Once fish can pass these barriers, they can swim to the Gold Hill Diversion Dam, an NID Diversion Dam upstream from Gold Hill Road. This is the largest dam and diversion on the Auburn Ravine and has not yet been addressed for fish passage. Once Gold Hill Dam is retrofitted, fish can swim upstream through Ophir, up the Ophir Cataract, a half mile upstream from the Lozanos Bridge to Wise Powerhouse. Once salmon and steelhead reach Wise Powerhouse, one mile from the city of Auburn and 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 working with landowners to secure fish passage by comply with regulations that provide passage for the fishes to get to spawning gravels and are able to return to the Pacific. Don is currently working on identifying the owners of the pumping stations on the Cross Canal, the last four miles of the Auburn Ravine before it empties into the Sacramento River at the City of Verona.

SARSAS Board member and former Lincoln City Councilman and Lincoln School Board member Stan Nader has been methodically connecting us with the local fathers in Lincoln and plans are underway for a SARSAS-Lincoln Calling Back the Salmon Celebration to be held in Lincoln all day on Saturday, October 23, 2010, at McBean Park on the Auburn Ravine. Stan is the CBTSC Chairperson and if you would like to be a part of the Celebration call Stan at home at 916-645-1149 or his cell at 916-300-4335. The Celebration 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. Ty Gorre is working with Bill on the Ceremony.

Businesses can sponsor the Celebration by donating amounts from $25 to $2,500 with listings of the company logos and other benefits listed on the brochure on the

Speaking of Native Americans, 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 Washoe, headquartered in Gardnerville, NV, have joined us in our work on the Auburn Ravine.

The City of Auburn is still being penalized for its discharge from the Auburn Wastewater Treatment Plant into the Auburn Ravine, and Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln has been granted the right to triple its discharge into Orchard Creek, a tributary of the Auburn Ravine, but the decision by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board is being appealed to the State Water Board.

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 has secured grants of about fifteen hundred dollars for educational outreach to children in our local schools. And $1,000 has been donated by PC Supervisors Jim Holmes and Robert Weygandt for educational outreach.
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 return of salmon and steelhead 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, CA 95604, 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, or just find a way to contribute what you do best to SARSAS, all by calling 530-888-0281.

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