PFMC Announces Request for Proposals to Modify Pacific Coast Groundfish EFH
The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has announced a Request For Proposals to modify Pacific Coast Groundfish essential fish habitat (EFH). Proposals must be received by the Council no later than July 31, 2013. This Request for Proposals and several documents to be used to support proposals to modify Pacific Coast Groundfish EFH are posted at:
Habitat Conservation Division Presentation at the Mike Thompson Fish Ladder
Calpine and NMFS Engineering partnered to design a pool and chute fish ladder on Big Sulphur Creek that will pass adult and juvenile steelhead throughout the year. HCD staff delivered the center presentation at the ribbon-cutting ceremony this month. The project was more than six years in the making from conception to reality, but migrating steelhead trout finally have a specially designed ladder to help them make it to the upper reaches of Big Sulfur Creek to spawn. The recently completed fish passage improvement project was dedicated Feb. 19, 2009, by Calpine Corporation (NYSE:CPN) to U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson, First Congressional District of California, for his leadership and commitment to protecting California’s natural resources.
The Big Sulfur Creek fish ladder, a joint venture between Calpine, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), now provides unobstructed, year-around access to the largest suitable spawning and rearing habitat on Big Sulfur Creek above the confluence with Squaw Creek.
Steelhead trout spawn from December through April in coarse gravel areas of small streams and tributaries where cool, well-oxygenated water is available year-round. Big Sulfur Creek is one of the largest tributaries to the Russian River in Sonoma County. However, much of Big Sulfur Creek above Squaw Creek is naturally unsuitable for spawning and rearing, placing a premium on those few areas that are. (Contact David White at 707-575-6810)
Healdsburg Wild Steelhead Festival
SWR’s HCD organized an outreach opportunity at the Healdsburg Wild Steelhead Festival for the weekend of February 7-8, 2009. Members of the Santa Rosa office in both HCD and PRD manned an information booth, discussed fishery issues and handed out educational products to the crowd of 1,000+ people. NMFS SWR also provided rubber, paintable fish for children to decorate at an activity booth that was very popular. See the festival webpage for more details and pictures at http://healdsburgsteelheadfest.org/default.aspx Overall, the annual festival was a success for promoting the agency and educating people about steelhead trout and NMFS’ role in their recovery. (Contact Joe Dillon at 707-575-6093)
Converting Gravel Mines to Habitat
On January 21, Habitat Conservation staff organized a symposium to discuss “Ecological Opportunities for Reclamation of Floodplain Gravel Pits Along the Russian River”. Experts (from Oregon State University, University of California, SWR Science Center, and Belize) in fish behavior and habitat presented science and perspectives along with experts in fluvial geomorphology. An invited group (55) of local and regional experts in science, management, and industry then discussed the merits and problems of reconnecting rivers with adjacent floodplain pits. Current practice is to isolate pits from the river. The Russian River pits offer cold water sources and potential for salmon rearing habitat that is all but eliminated in the watershed by development. The symposium concluded that there is low risk of the pits capturing the river and that salmon populations would likely benefit by reconnecting the river. The symposium also provides guidance to the design of future pits and their reclamation. The proceedings and findings of the symposium will be reported in March 2009 under contract to Swanson Hydrology + Geomorphology. (Contact Dr. Brian Cluer at 707-575-6061)
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