WELCOME TO MTFFMTFF is a fly fishing club in Marin County, CA. Since 2004, we have been bringing together fly anglers to share knowledge, experience, and good times. We host monthly meetings, fishing trips, casting clinics, and social dinners and events. Our members span all skill levels from beginner to veteran. We offer membership to anyone interested in fly fishing regardless of the skill level. Prospective members are welcome to attend our monthly meetings, meet current members, and learn more about us. If you would like more information please email email@example.com.
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Club Merchandise Available!
Due to a special arrangement with a maker of name brand sunblock apparel, the club has a limited inventory of great fishing shirts with the new Mt Tam Flyfishers logo front and back. They are good looking and functional--show your proud Mt Tam Flyfishers membership in our 2nd decade of everything fly fishing! Credit card only, exchanges and returns are manual. Limited inventory for now, but if demand develops, we will have more! Members enjoy more than 50% savings, but you have to sign in to get our club discount.
The Silent, Stunning Disaster off California's Coast
In just a few years, a warm water sea urchin has destroyed 90% of California's kelp forest. This disaster is just as if the forested Sacramento and McCloud Rivers were clear cut to their banks in 5 years. Yet hardly anyone is aware of this. Click on this short video, compliments of the Nature Conservancy.
Iron Gate Dam, one of four hydroelectric dams slated for removal on the Klamath River. | Michael Wier, CalTrout.
After more than a decade of painstaking negotiations — of deals made and broken, of well-laid plans crumbling under the weight of conflicting goals, corporate greed and bureaucratic inertia — the largest river restoration project in American history is once again moving forward, and stakeholders are optimistic.
“We are really getting close,” said Amy Cordalis, a Yurok Tribal fisherwoman and attorney who serves on the board of the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC). “It’s kind of that sprint at the end of a run, that little kick, and that’s it. Our contractors are ready to go; the permits are coming in line; so it is time. It’s time for these dams to be removed.”
At a press briefing this past Friday, Cordalis and other key stakeholders offered an update on the remaining regulatory hurdles in the decades-long effort to remove four hydroelectric dams on the lower Klamath River.
The target date to begin dam removal is now early 2023, according to KRRC CEO Marc Bransom. His organization, which was formed explicitly to take over the federal licenses for the dams and oversee their removal, has seen significant progress over the past year, he said.
In the summer of 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) threw a wrench in the works by approving only a partial license transfer to KRRC, requiring utility company PacifiCorp to remain a co-licensee.
When the company hinted that it might walk away from the historic dam removal agreement, elected officials and activists from the Yurok Tribe (and elsewhere) launched a pressure campaign aimed at PacifiCorp parent company Berkshire Hathaway and its billionaire leader, Warren Buffet. These efforts proved fruitful, eventually leading to a new pathway forward thanks to contingency funding and shared liability, with California and Oregon stepping in to assume PacifiCorp’s role in the decommissioning process.
This past June, FERC finally approved KRRC’s license transfer application. Shortly thereafter, the agency announced that it would begin work on the scoping document under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
“They’ve indicated to us that we should expect to see a draft of the Environmental Impact Statement sometime in the early part of 2022,” Bransom said. The federal agency’s timeline would see the Final Environmental Impact Statement the following fall, but Bransom said that’s not soon enough. In order to meet the 2023 target date to begin dam removal, all necessary permits and approvals need to be in place “no later than late spring or the middle of 2022,” he said.
“We’re adequately funded. We’re raring to go,” he added. “We’re just waiting for these final authorizations to come through.”
Cordalis, whose family is from the community of Requa, near the mouth of the Klamath, said there’s no time to waste. The Klamath River used to be the third-largest salmon-producing river in the continental United States, and current salmon runs are a mere one percent to three percent the size of those historic runs.
“If we don’t take drastic measures on the Klamath River [and] throughout the Klamath basin — to change our management practices, to heal the river, to support ecological environmental restoration — those salmon will go extinct in our lifetimes,” Cordalis said. “And there’s no other way around it. Dam removal is critical and absolutely necessary to healing the river.”
In recent years, 80-90 percent of out-migrating baby salmon have died after contracting a parasite known as Ceratomyxa shasta or C. shasta, which appear in poor water conditions such as low flows and high temperatures, she explained.
These same conditions lead to toxic cyanobacteria, aka blue-green algae.
“Some of our elders are refusing to eat fish from the river when the toxic blue-green algae are active,” Cordalis said. “My own grandma would refuse to eat fish because she’s worried that toxic blue-green algae is going to make her sick also.”
Kelley Delpit, a second-generation cattle rancher in the upper Klamath basin, said agricultural interests on the river dovetail with those of ecologists and tribes.
“I won’t speak for everybody, but it really does come down to ‘What’s good for fish is good for farms,’” said Delpit, who serves as Klamath Basin manager for the nonprofit Sustainable Northwest.
And it’s not just about fish in the Klamath. Glen Spain, member of KRRC board and Pacific Northwest regional director at the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, said fishermen up and down the coast, from Monterey to the California-Oregon border, are bound by ”weak-stock management constraints,” which means that when stocks are critically low in the Klamath, as they are this year, it can close the salmon fishery along 600 miles of northern California coastline.
“It costs our communities their economic survival in a lot of ways because it constrains us from all harvests, including harvests from the California Central Valley,” Spain said. “When those runs are good and the Klamath’s are poor, we can’t catch any of them because they’re intermingled. That’s called ‘weak stock management.’ It’s not only required by law, but it’s required by the laws of biology.”
It’s the proper way to manage the fisheries, he said, but it also means fishermen are motivated to see the Klamath return to health.
If you take care of the fish, the fishing will take care of itself,” agreed Brian Johnson, California director for Trout Unlimited and vice-president of KRRC. “The opportunity, bang for the buck on the Klamath, starting with the dam removal program, is as good as it gets anywhere in the country.”
Johnson noted that many people are under the misunderstanding that these dams store water for irrigation or municipal supplies. Others think they serve a flood safety purpose. But none of that is true. Their sole function has been production of electricity.
When they come down, he added, there are likely to be short-term impacts to water quality from construction activities and the release of built-up sediment behind the dams, bu the material has been studied extensively and none of it is toxic. More analysis can be expected during FERC’s environmental review process.
Craig Tucker, a natural resources policy consultant who has worked extensively on the dam removal effort with the Karuk Tribe, Sustainable Northwest and others, said the environmental review process has been extensive.
“We’ve gone above and beyond the basic legal requirements for the science, the research, the justification, really every step of the way,” he said. “We think our technical record on Klamath dam removal is robust. It may be one of the largest dockets in the history of FERC.”
Cordalis said the Klamath river is currently on life support and dam removal is critical for restoration. “One of the things that I always say is, ‘I want my great grandma’s river back,’” she said. That is to say, the river as it was before the dams.
Raise Shasta Dam? A Bad Idea That Sounds Good
The issue of raising Shasta Dam has recirculated, and once again CalTrout remains fervently opposed to raising Shasta Dam and we need your help to stop it. This project is a bad idea for fish, water, and people.
Construction of this water storage project in California would permanently alter the McCloud River, a designated California Wild and Scenic River, violate state law, and destroy Native American sacred sites. Because this project would be both economically and environmentally harmful, we ask our members to tell the Bureau of Reclamation to oppose raising Shasta Dam.
Please send a letter today to the Bureau of Reclamation and tell them you oppose this plan. The comment period closes on September 21st.
Let’s debunk the arguments in favor:
“By raising the 600-foot-tall Shasta Dam by 3% or an additional 18.5 feet, the proposed project would increase water storage capacity in the Shasta Lake reservoir by 634,000 acre-feet or more than 200 billion gallons”
Our response: The actual yield of additional water from an enlarged reservoir is uncertain. As proposed, the 18.5 foot raise would cost $1.3 billion and increase storage by 13%. But that is only under years when the reservoir actually fills. The potential storage doesn’t justify the exorbitant cost AND 100% of that cost will be paid by federal taxpayers.
“The dedicated environmental storage from the dam raise would improve water quality in the Sacramento River below the dam by lowering water temperatures for anadromous fish survival, such as Chinook salmon and other fish that migrate from the ocean to rivers to spawn.”
Our response: We don’t buy it. The United States Fish and Wildlife has strongly questioned the Bureau’s claim. The USFWS also noted that “improving the dam’s existing temperature control device, restoring downstream spawning gravel, increasing access to historic floodplain habitat, improving fish passage on tributaries, increasing minimum flows, and screening water diversions all increase salmon survival more than the dam raise.” We agree!
“This is a strategic project that is smart, cost-effective and an environmentally sound investment for California.”
Our response: Existing public information on the project suspiciously omits a clear description of how newly available water would be allocated, sold, and ultimately delivered throughout the state. Why should taxpayers cover the $1.3 billion-dollar expense when the project (1) primarily benefits wealthy water districts in Fresno (2) generates average deliveries of just 51,300 acre-feet, and (3) only delivers water on average 1 out of every 5 years.
The Fight Against Pebble Mine Continues
Here's an excellent short video from the Native Peoples' point of view.
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