CSPA Fall 2021 Newsletter: Wildfire strikes our favorite fishing spots, CA Clean Water Act update, and defending the Tuolumne and Yuba Rivers

Published 10/29/2021  |  California Sportfishing Protection Alliance

The Fall 2021 Edition of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance Newsletter is out now. Below is the introduction to the newsletter by Bill Jennings, CSPA’s Executive Director.

From the Desk of Bill Jennings

I hope each of you have had an opportunity to wet a line during this second drought year. Fisheries have grievously suffered, as they did during the critical drought years of 2014 and 2015. California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures. But there is still so
much to protect and enjoy.

August 2021 was the driest and hottest August on record, and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record. Excessive water deliveries to settlement and exchange water contractors have depleted State and Federal Project reservoirs to historic low levels of storage. Another drought year will bring California into uncharted territory, and that appears to be likely, given another La Nina.

In the Central Valley, flow and water quality is a continuum. What happens in the estuary affects flow and water quality in the high Sierras. Water storage in the rim reservoirs directly affects both Delta flow/water quality and Sierra storage reservoirs. CSPA labors in the trenches of the regulatory and legal processes, and sometimes we get a little wonky in our posts. But it’s all focused on securing adequate flow and water quality, from the Sierras through the estuary.

For example, following an extensive administrative proceeding, CSPA is preparing twin lawsuits over the weakening of standards and violation of those weakened standards regarding the 2021 Sacramento River Temperature Management Plan and the weakening and violations of flow/water quality standards in the Delta. These lawsuits represent an effort to ensure that future management of California’s water projects protects fisheries, even in dry years.

Most of us at CSPA fish, and our fishing like everyone else’s has suffered during the drought. We begin this newsletter with “Protecting Places Near and Dear” by Chris Shutes on a few of his fishing experiences over the year. Following that is an extensive article “CSPA Is Working Hard to Restore & Defend the Clean Water Act in California” by Cindy Charles regarding our efforts to restore and defend the Clean Water Act in California. This article is subdivided into sections on EPA’s efforts to revise Section 401 of the Act, our efforts fighting waivers of 401 Water Quality Certifications, and our intervention to support certification decisions on Tuolumne River hydropower projects. We then feature another article, “CSPA & Allies Granted Intervention in Court Case to Support Certification Decision on Tuolumne River Hydropower Projects” by Cindy on our federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation over excessive groundwater pumping by Sacramento River Water Districts. We conclude with an article by Chris and Cindy about the fight for flows and habitat restoration on the Yuba River.

I believe we can reasonably say that CSPA’s involvement has made California fisheries and water quality considerably better. In addition to our Main Website that periodically chronicles our efforts, please check out our Fisheries Blog that features weekly posts on diverse aspects of California’s fisheries.

We don’t accept funds from sources that would limit our efforts to protect fisheries. So we rely on your donations and memberships. Thank you for your continuing support. Cheers!