Monday, March 14, 2011

A Selected Bibliography on Auburn Ravine and Western Placer County Streams, Presented to Maria Rea, Howard Brown, Brian Ellrott of NOAA on 1 8 10


American Fisheries Society, 1/20/04, Jim Steele Pres., Cal-Neva Chapter; a letter to Ms. Sammie Cervantes, USBR.

American River Pump Station Project FEIR/FEIS, June 2002, including Executive Summary, Appendices C and D. SCH No. 1999062089.

Auburn Ravine Aquatic Habitat and Biological Resources, Literature Review and Resource Assessment, by Randy Bailey, October 2003, for Sierra Business Council and Placer County Planning Department.

Auburn Ravine Coon Creek Ecosystem Restoration Plan, Placer County, 4/30/02 Public Review Draft. (contact Placer County Planning Department)

Auburn Tunnel Outlet Modification Public Draft, Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration, April 2009, prepared for Placer County Water Agency.

Auburn Wastewater Facility Plan FEIR March 1997, SCH No. 95082040.

Auburn Wastewater Treatment Plant Stream Study, August 1996, by CH2MHILL.

Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Plan, Bill Kier Associates, January 1999.
(Battle Creek-related Documents available via Google search.)

Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project DEIS/DEIR, July 2003.

Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project, Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act Report, June 2005.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan/BDCP…Handout #2, see below, Salmonids: Central Valley Chinook Salmon ESUs, Central Valley Steelhead, Conservation Themes and Stressors, Impact Mechanisms, and Conservation Measure Concepts, BDCP Conservation Strategy Work Group Working Draft.

CDFG 6/28/99 Comments on the Proposed Critical Habitat Designation for California Steelhead listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

CDFG Summary of 2004 and 2005 fish community surveys in Auburn Ravine and Coon Creek (Placer County), 1/4/08 e-mail from J. Navicky.

California State University, Dr. David Vanicek, 11/9/84, Auburn Ravine Fishery Survey.

Central Valley Steelhead, by Dennis R. McEwan in Brown, RL ed., 2001, Contributions to the Biology of Central Valley Salmonids, CDFG Fish Bull No. 179. Vol 1:1-43.
(Available via Google search.)

Drake letter to PCWA of 3/13/89.

Effect of fluctuating flow and temperature on cover type selection and behaviour by juvenile brown trout in artificial flumes,” by T. Vehanen, et al., Journal of Fish biology (2000) 56, 923-937.

Federation of Fly Fishers/FFF Native Fish Policy, by Richard Williams, December 6, 2001, in FLYFISHER, Spring 2002.

Foothills Water Network, Response to PAD Questionnaire-2, Focus on Western Placer Creeks, 8/27/07. (see PG&E PAD reference below)

Genetics of Central Valley O. mykiss populations: drainage and watershed scale analyses, by Jennifer Nielsen, et al. in San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science, Vol. 3, Iss. 2, Art. 3, September 2005.

Genetic Population Structure” by Nils Ryman in NOAA TM 30.

Goal, Policy and Strategy Recommendations for Stream Management in Placer County, October 1991, prepared for Placer County Flood Control…District.

Goodall Recollections…statement of 5/26/91.

Hydropower Flow Fluctuations and Salmonids: A Review of the Biological Effects, Mechanical Causes, and Options for Mitigation,” by Mark Hunter, September 1992. State of Washington Department of Fisheries, Technical Report No. 119.

Lincoln Creek Week Agenda, 4/21/07.

Lincoln Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion to 2.4 MGD, DEIR, December 1998, SCN 98102027. Auburn Ravine Fishery Survey.

Lincoln Wastewater Treatment and Reclamation Facility DEIR, September 1999, SCH No. 98122071.

Meador, Michael in the American Fisheries Society Journal--Fisheries 1996; 21:18-23, Water Transfer Projects and the Role of Fisheries Biologists, and 1992; 17:17-22, Inter-basin Water Transfer: Ecological Concerns.

Monitoring, Assessment, And Research on Central Valley Steelhead: Status of Knowledge, Review of Existing Programs, And Assessment of Needs, by the CalFed Interagency Ecological Program/IEP Steelhead Project WorkTeam, March 1999.

NOAA Public Draft Central Valley Recovery Plan and Related Documents, October 2009.

NOAA Technical Memo 30/TM 30, “Genetic Effects of Straying of Non-Native Hatchery Fish into Natural Populations,” W. Stewart Grant, editor.

Pacific Gas & Electric Company Drum-Spaulding Project, FERC Project 2310, Relicensing Pre-Application Document (PAD), April 2008.

Placer County Planning Dept., Natural Resources, Biological Studies and Documents—some documents available at the site below. e.g. Aquatic Resources, Salmonid Spawning Habitat Surveys for Placer County Streams, etc.

Salmonid Spawning Habitat Surveys for Placer County Streams 3/24/04, by Jones & Stokes for Placer County Planning Dept. (see above)

Salmonids: Central Valley Chinook Salmon ESUs, Central Valley Steelhead, Conservation Themes and Stressors, Impact Mechanisms, and Conservation Measure Concepts, Bay Delta Conservation Plan, Conservation Strategy Work Group Working Draft, Handout #2, 3/26/07.
(Available on-line via Google search.)

Sarkisian letter to CDFG dated 6/6/90.

Scientific Approaches for Evaluating Hydroelectric Project Effects, Prepared for Hydropower Reform Coalition by Stillwater Sciences, et al., July 27, 2006.

Streams of Western Placer County: Aquatic Habitat and Biological Review, Literature Review and Resource Assessment, December 2003, by R. Bailey for Sierra Business Council and Placer County Planning Department.

The Mines Group: “Auburn Ravine Gaging Station Site Selection and Fish Passage Modifications Conceptual Design Report.” Prepared for Placer County Planning Department. Project No. 04-35-01. June 8, 2005.
Van Riper letter to PCWA of 3/11/89.

Range of pharmaceuticals in fish across US


Fish caught near wastewater treatment plants serving five major U.S. cities had residues of pharmaceuticals in them, including medicines used to treat high cholesterol, allergies, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder and depression, researchers reported Wednesday.

Findings from this first nationwide study of human drugs in fish tissue have prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to significantly expand similar ongoing research to more than 150 different locations.

"The average person hopefully will see this type of a study and see the importance of us thinking about water that we use every day, where does it come from, where does it go to? We need to understand this is a limited resource and we need to learn a lot more about our impacts on it," said study co-author Bryan Brooks, a Baylor University researcher and professor who has published more than a dozen studies related to pharmaceuticals in the environment.

A person would have to eat hundreds of thousands of fish dinners to get even a single therapeutic dose, Brooks said. But researchers including Brooks have found that even extremely diluted concentrations of pharmaceutical residues can harm fish, frogs and other aquatic species because of their constant exposure to contaminated water.

The research was published online Wednesday by the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and also was presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Salt Lake City.

Brooks and his colleague Kevin Chambliss tested fish caught in rivers where wastewater treatment plants release treated sewage in Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Orlando, Fla. For comparison, they also tested fish from New Mexico's pristine Gila River Wilderness Area, an area isolated from human sources of pollution.

Earlier research has confirmed that fish absorb medicines because the rivers they live in are contaminated with traces of drugs that are not removed in sewage treatment plants. Much of the contamination comes from the unmetabolized residues of pharmaceuticals that people have taken and excreted; unused medications dumped down the drain also contribute to the problem.

The researchers, whose work was funded by a $150,000 EPA grant, tested fish for 24 different pharmaceuticals, as well as 12 chemicals found in personal care products.

They found trace concentrations of seven drugs and two soap scent chemicals in fish at all five of the urban river sites. The amounts varied, but some of the fish had combinations of many of the compounds in their livers.

The researchers didn't detect anything in the reference fish caught in rural New Mexico.

In an ongoing investigation, The Associated Press has reported trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals have been detected in drinking water provided to at least 46 million Americans.

The EPA has called for additional studies about the impact on humans of long-term consumption of minute amounts of medicines in their drinking water, especially in unknown combinations. Limited laboratory studies have shown that human cells failed to grow or took unusual shapes when exposed to combinations of some pharmaceuticals found in drinking water.

"This pilot study is one important way that EPA is increasing its scientific knowledge about the occurrence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment," said EPA spokeswoman Suzanne Rudzinski. She said the completed and expanded EPA sampling for pharmaceuticals and other compounds in fish and surface water is part of the agency's National Rivers and Stream Assessment.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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AUBURN RAVINE A Community Effort to Restore one small Sierra Foothills stream that may hold the answer to the future of northern California’s

by Greg Vinci

When just a toddler Jack Sanchez’s mother would take him to the banks of the creek, a mere fifty feet down slope from his boyhood home in the Auburn Ravine, where he would occupy himself by tossing small pebbles into the creek that bordered his parents property in the Sierra foothills. As Jack grew older pebble tossing progressed into exploring the abundant wildlife in and along the creek and eventually he and his buddies would spend summer afternoons sneaking from pool to pool with a spinning rod and a can of worms. Jack spent many hours just sitting on a rock next to the creek, observing the fish in the pool below his house. He observed that each fall, among the school of small Rainbows a few large dark forms would appear seemingly out of nowhere. As the autumn wore on, more and more of these mystery fish would at times be observed and when Jack finally caught one he noted that once out of water the dark hued fish were also Rainbows but much larger and bore a bright chrome hue that could only be present on fish that had at one time been to the sea. Anadromous Steelhead had arrived in the Auburn Ravine. Located along Interstate 80 at the 1000 ft. elevation, Auburn Ravine begins just up the hill from the City of Auburn, California, and flows for about thirty miles to its confluence with the Sacramento River at Verona. Back in the days of the Gold Rush, when it was then known as North fork Dry Diggins, it held the distinction as being one of the very first gold strikes to be established after the initial discovery at Coloma, CA, in 1848. The placer mining method of gold extraction that was utilized on the creek, resulted in an ecological disaster that devastated the creek’s aquatic life. Skip ahead 160 years; placer mining no longer exists, and very little evidence of the damage that placer gold mining caused can be seen.

It’s been over fifty years since Jack discovered his first Steelhead in Auburn Ravine, and during that span of time Jack became acquainted with many others who lived along the creek and who shared similar experiences, and mutual concern that fewer and fewer Steelhead and Salmon were observed in the creek each year. That concern was the catalyst that inspired the Ophir Property Owners Inc. and the Auburn Ravine Preservation Committee to begin searching for ways to protect the AR’s habitat for resident fish and migrating Steelhead and Salmon. They were able to work with the DFG in the early 90s to initiate studies of the potential of the AR to support Steelhead and Salmon spawning. SARSAS, which is an acronym for Save Auburn Ravine Salmon And Steelhead, came about in the first part of the new century, and began formulating a plan to convince the stakeholders which were primarily water districts, to help in their efforts. Many of them had heard stories from old timers about fishing for twenty inch Steelhead and large Chinook Salmon. Some of the members like Jack Sanchez, who had regularly fished the ravine as youngsters, had been witness to the predictable runs of Steelhead that existed there prior to the nineteen sixties. They knew that if they were going to convince the many stakeholders along the stream such as Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Nevada Irrigation District (NID) and the South Sutter Water District (SSWD) to name a few, they would need to gather all of the scientific research that had been done over the years to plead their case. They found for example that the California Dept. of Fish & Game had completed several aquatic surveys in 2004 and 2005 that corroborated the anecdotal evidence of the old timers. Interestingly, they found that 34% of the fish in the AR were Rainbow Trout/Steelhead. The balance of the fish were split between Sacramento Sucker, Lamprey, Sculpin, and Hitch, all of which are indigenous. Non-indigenous fish such as, Green Sunfish, Pumpkinseed, Redear (sic), Sunfish, Red Shiner and Spotted Bass were also found. On one stretch near Ophir, an amazing 7,985 Rainbows (some of which may have been Steelhead) were found per mile. They also identified several issues that were impeding the spawning migrations of Salmon and Steelhead in the AR such as dams (some seasonal and some permanent) that blocked passage of anadromous fish, eratic water flows in the creek caused by irrigation and power needs, and bank erosion that created siltation in the spawning gravels. With this information in hand, they began contacting the stakeholders to see what level of cooperation could be forthcoming.

Since efforts to get stakeholder cooperation in the early nineteen nineties had met with little success, they were fully prepared to hear the word “no” when they contacted the water districts. This time around they were amazed that they received encouragement from all of the agencies that they contacted. Everyone wanted to help, but of course the bureaucracies of each organization needed to be navigated, and money had to be found.

High on their list, was finding a way to assure reasonable minimum flows. The Wise Powerhouse owned by PG&E supplies some of the water to the AR which is transported through ditches and tunnels from storage at higher elevations to the powerhouse which then provides small amount to NID via the creek. There had been several times during the late summer or early fall that the spigot had been turned off so to speak causing many of the land owners along the stream to gather dying fish in the shallows and transport them to the deeper pools that remained. Though some of the AR water comes from springs located along its course in the dry months, much of its flow during that period is dependent on water releases by the various water agencies in the area. NID uses the creek to transport water from higher elevation impoundments to its agricultural customers in the valley below during the summer months and if the stream dries up, chances are that NID had a maintenance project that required turning off the valve. One would think that trying to get a water district to change its policy would be like trying to beat a dead Salmon, but Jack Sanchez says that working with Ron Nelson, NID’s general manager, resulted in restoring the water flow, and it has remained stable during the summer months ever since. Getting the other water district stakeholders was important too. For example the Placer County Water District (PCWD) pumps up to 100 cfs per second at various times of the year and PG&E provides up to 80 cfs to NID via the ravine. As you can see, everyone needs to be on the same page.

They also needed to get the cooperation of federal agencies involved in the restoration of Steelhead and Salmon habitat in the central valley. Such cooperation could provide a possible source of federal funding for any future construction projects such as fish ladders. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had drafted a Central Valley Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan that had placed the Auburn Ravine relatively low on the priority list. Armed with the DFG fish survey from 2004 & 2005 plus several other studies that had been compiled since the nineteen eighties, they approached NOAA and were able to convince them of the AR’s viability as a potential spawning waterway for Steelhead and Salmon. Since then they have been very cooperative and their special agent Don Tanner has worked alongside DFG warden Mark Jeter each year to meet with agricultural interests along the creek to make sure that any man made barriers are removed during the spawning migration period between October 15th and April 15th.

(Having a stable flow of water is only part of the equation which allows the fish to travel to the spawning area in the upper reaches of the stream the goal of SARSAS will be partially unfulfilled as will the full potential of the stream.) REWRITE Threee of the twelve dams and diversions along the AR are owned and controlled by NID (Hemphill diversion/dam, Hwy 65 Lincoln Gauging Station Dam, and Auburn Ravine #1 Gold Hill diversion/dam). The other nine dams in the valley portion of the stream are diversion projects owned and controlled by the South Sutter Water District (SSWD), private owners and one private duck club. Several are what are known as flashboard dams that back up the ravine at certain times of the year to divert water into canals that transport it for irrigation. Such diversions also divert fry and smolt in canals where the die in fields as they attempt to return to the estuaries and Pacific Ocean where they will grow to adults. NID has agreed to build a fish ladder on the Lincoln Gauging Station in the Fall of 2011 and is working on a plan to either install a fish ladder and fish screen on the HH Canal or to completely remove the Hemphill Dam. No plans for retrofitting the Gold Hill Diversion Dams have been made. Ron Nelson his wants to retrofit the first two successfully before NID addresses the Gold Hill Dam which will need a large fish ladder and a big fish screen. The SSWD owns two permanent dams and diversions and 23 pumps in the lower valley section of the ravine. SSWD has applied to the Family Water Alliance for $300,000 to put a fish screen on the Pleasant Grove Canal behind the Aitken Ranch Dam to allow fish passage and screen the diversion. PG&E has offered up to $45,000.00 in matching funds to place fish screens on nine privately owned the pumps. Finally, most of the dams are up for re-licensing by FERC, which is an opportunity for the public to ask that the dams be managed for wildlife preservation as a requirement for the renewal of the license. The wheels of progress are moving slowly, but they are moving forward, nonetheless.

The story of the successful steps that have been undertaken to get the project this far on the Auburn Ravine can be a blueprint for conservation organizations up and down the west slope of the Sierras where Salmon and Steelhead have historically spawned. Keeping in mind that it is pretty much an accepted fact that hatchery fish do not survive as well in the environment as do naturally spawned fish, the maintenance and improvement of spawning habitat that will result in more wild fish is very important to the survival of the resource. By doing simple math the potential of the Sierra’s west slope creeks to save this important fisheries resource is huge. There are roughly seven hundred thirty-eight streams on the west slope that comprise the Feather River, Yuba River, American River, and San Joaquin River water sheds to name a few. Keeping in mind that one female Chinook Salmon carries about 3000 eggs, (and on average 3% survive to fry stage and ultimately return to spawn) so if only one female successfully spawns in each of the seven hundred streams of the central valley the consequential 2,100,000. eggs will result in 63,000 wild adult Salmon returning to the valley’s waterways each year. So you can see that the restoration of west slope creeks have the potential to provide the means to save one of California’s most valuable wildlife resources. The same equation can be applied to Steelhead who have been affected by the same problems with degradation of habitat and the introduction of hatchery fish.
It took twenty years of effort by concerned individuals, starting with the Property Owners Association of Ophir, the Auburn Ravine Preservation Association and finally SARSAS, to get this far, and it will be only a short time when Steelhead and Salmon can make an unimpeded journey to the spawning gravel of the upper Auburn Ravine. If conservation groups throughout the valley take the same course as SARSAS, the dismal runs of Salmon and Steelhead that we’ve witnessed over the last few years will be a thing of the past(see The SARSAS Plan for Saving Salmon and Steelhead in the Pacific Marine Fishery at

Send donations to SARSAS, PO Box 4269,Auburn, CA 95604.

Colin Purdy: (916)358-2832 CEL (530)333-7749
Mike Healey (916)358-4334
Robert Vincik (916)358-2933

NOAA (National Marine Fisheries Service-special agent)
Donald Tanner (916)930-3658 CEL (916)871-4862

Dan Cox

Otis Bay Environmental
Chad Gurly

US Bureau of Reclamation
John Hanon

The SARSAS 300 Club - 300 People each Donating $300 in 2011

If you would like to donate money to support the SARSAS effort, you might consider becoming part of the 2011 300 Club. Our goal is to encourage 300 people to sign up to donate $300 during the year. Have your bank send $25 each month, $50 for six months, or a one time donation of $300 or whatever combination is easiest for you, and

send your tax deductible donation to

SARSAS, PO Box 4269, Auburn, CA95604. The SARSAS tax exempt number is 80-0291680.

Your donation will help SARSAS operate during 2011 and, if we make the 300 donations goal, will go toward funding at least two fish screens on the Auburn Ravine to help returning salmon and steelhead survive their voyages back to the Pacific Ocean where they can spend three to five years maturing before returning to the Auburn Ravine.

If you know of large donors or estates to donate, call Jack at 530 888 0281.

One of the goals of SARSAS is to make Auburn, CA, a rare town in California with salmon spawning within the city limits at Auburn School Park and Ashford Park.

2010 Was a Very Good Year for SARSAS

Through SARSAS’ collaborative efforts with many organizations and agencies, salmon were able to travel about twenty miles up the Auburn Ravine and were sighted in some numbers in Auburn Ravine Park in the City of Lincoln, where they were stopped by NID’s Lincoln Gauging Station. The word from NID is this barrier will be fitted with a fish ladder in the Fall of 2011 allowing salmon to swim upstream about two miles to NID’s Hemphill Dam. When it and NID’s Gold Hill Diversion Dam are retrofitted with fish ladders and screens, anadromous fishes will be able to reach Wise Powerhouse, one mile downstream from the City of Auburn. So the year 2010 saw great progress being made in salmon returning to the Auburn Ravine.
Special thanks should go to NOAA Special Agent Don Tanner for bringing nine flashboard dams downstream from Lincoln in compliance with NOAA regulations of dams being removed from the Auburn Ravine for October 15 to April 15 to accommodate the Fall Chinook Run. Brad Arnold of South Sutter Water District has applied for funds for a fish screen on the Pleasant Grove Canal, which will prevent salmon returning to the Pacific Ocean from being entrained in rice fields and pastures.
Much work remains to be done. SARSAS is an all-volunteer organization and makes progress only by the efforts of those who volunteer to do the work. SARSAS needs volunteers for river patrol, tree planting, project managers, water testing, flow testing, photographers, grant writers, event coordinators, teachers to spread the SARSAS message to young people, and people who write well and would like to become grant writers. SARSAS needs people who have worked with fish in their professional life or in fish passage related fields who would like to continue their efforts to benefit our community.
SARSAS is currently working on an application for fish screens for 23 pumps downstream of Lincoln and 4 fish screens. This application is in the millions of dollars and, if successful, will provide many jobs and dollars to our communities. Returning anadromous fishes to the Auburn Ravine, not only benefits fish, but also benefits our economy by providing jobs and tourist dollars.
We need volunteers in the Lincoln area to help with the various projects necessary to upgrade the Auburn Ravine in Auburn Ravine Park and McBean Park. A Lincoln group is currently being formed with Lincoln City Councilman Stan Nader and the City of Lincoln for this upgrading of Auburn Ravine.
In addition, we need visionaries in the Auburn area to help plan how to get the salmon the last mile from Wise Powerhouse to the two parks in Auburn, Auburn School Park and Ashford Park to prepare for spawning in these two parks. Between Wise Powerhouse and the City of Auburn, Auburn Ravine flows under Wise Road, twice under Ophir Road, under Highway 80 w here the two forks of the Auburn Ravine come together. The North Fork of Auburn Ravine flows under Highway 49 near Highway 80, under Elm Street and Palm Avenue up to Ashford Park. North Rich Ravine, the south fork of Auburn Ravine, flows under Old Town Auburn, daylights near the Claude Chana Statue next to the Firehouse and Creekside Café in Old Town Auburn, flows through the Jury Parking lot, behind Courthouse Coffee, under Auburn-Folsom Road to Auburn School Park. In addition to more water, at least half a dozen fish ladders need to be funded and installed and then Lincoln and Auburn will have salmon spawning in the town centers, attracting tourists with big pocketbooks and many jobs for workers to do the installations.
If you wish to get involved with SARSAS, call Jack Sanchez at 530 888 0281 or email him at jlsanchez39@gmail and join the fun.