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Peregrine Event re Water Rights Petition

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  • Kate Marianchild
    Peregrine Audubon Addresses Fish and Frogs in Water Rights Petition People who care about fish and frogs, as well as anyone who might be thinking about
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 5, 2005
      Peregrine Audubon Addresses Fish
      and Frogs in Water Rights Petition

      People who care about fish and frogs, as well as anyone who might be
      thinking about diverting water from county streams, will want to attend
      Peregrine Audubon's presentation about its "North Coast Water Rights
      Petition" on Thursday, September 15, 7 p.m. at the Ukiah City Council
      Chambers (300 Seminary Ave, Ukiah). Come to this sure-to-be-lively
      meeting and learn about Peregrine's courageous action that began as a
      David and Goliath effort. This Petition is likely to change water
      policy in the state of California.

      The North Coast Water Rights Petition is an administrative device that
      calls several state and federal regulatory agencies and five county
      governments to account for failure to effectively regulate diversions
      of water and storage of water in ponds and reservoirs. The result,
      according to Peregrine, is unhealthy streams that have too little water
      and, consequently, too few salmon, salamanders, birds, and other
      water-loving life forms. The agencies named are the State Water
      Resources Control Board, California Department of Fish and Game, State
      Lands Commission, and the governments of Napa, Mendocino, Sonoma,
      Marin, and Humboldt.

      The Petition also points out that people who apply for permits are
      forced into a cumbersome and lengthy process that can take many years
      to complete. As a result many people give up on the process and put in
      illegal dams. The Petition proposes the development of guidelines that
      assure timely, coordinated, and effective regulation of water
      diversions in coastal streams from Marin County northwards to the
      Mattole River, including the Russian River watershed, as well as those
      streams in Napa County that are tributaries to San Pablo Bay (central
      coast streams). The Petition requires the State Water Board to adopt
      principles and guidelines for maintaining instream flows in central
      coast streams by January 1, 2007.

      When Peregrine Audubon began working on the Petition in 2002 they
      wondered if they were big enough to make a difference in this
      monumental problem. Feeling like David going up against Goliath, they
      asked their membership for financial support, and began drafting the
      Petition with the help of lawyers from the National Heritage Institute
      in San Francisco. In 2004, several thousand dollars and many hours
      later, they learned that California Trout Unlimited (TU) was interested
      in the same issues. TU, working at its national level, contributed
      extensive political experience and the two organizations joined forces.
      After many meetings and drafts, they filed the Petition jointly in fall
      of 2004.

      "The bottom line is protecting the number of returning wild salmon and
      steelhead," says Park Steiner, fisheries consultant. "As one of the
      highest members on the instream food chain, fish are an indicator by
      which we judge the health of our waterways." According to Chuck Vaughn,
      a member of Peregrine Audubon and a biologist at Hopland Research and
      Extension Center, studies show that riparian (streamside) habitats
      support the greatest diversity of breeding birds in California and
      provide very important migration corridors. Waterless streams cannot
      serve such functions.

      So far the State of California has responded by holding a public
      workshop in Sacramento last March to which all interested parties were
      invited. Peregrine's September 15 presentation will include discussion
      of current stream conditions in Mendocino County, the content of the
      Water Rights Petition, the proceedings following the workshop in
      Sacramento, and more. Presenters will include Peregrine Audubon members
      and Chuck Bonham, director of California Trout Unlimited.

      Please note that for the 2005-2006 season, almost all of Peregrine's
      speaker and slideshow meetings will be held at the Ukiah City Council
      Chambers (300 Seminary Avenue) on the third Thursday of the month at 7
      p.m. The exceptions will be the December and May meetings. October's
      presentation will feature a slide presentation on the lives of raptors
      (birds of prey) by Alida Morzenti, back by popular demand.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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