Editorial: Why are fish missing from new San Gabriel National Monument Plan?


 

Beautiful color on this trout, which was released, unharmed, back to the water. (Jim Burns)

Beautiful color on this trout, which was released, unharmed, back to the water. (Jim Burns)

By John Tobin

Guest Contributor

 

Less than an hour’s drive from here, up in those dry and dusty San Gabriel Mountains, are three rare and precious wild trout streams, the West, North and East forks of the San Gabriel River.

Under arbors of alder, sycamore and oak, they run clear and cold all year long, despite drought, and harbor wild rainbow trout. Some of the rainbows are direct descendants of steelhead trout, which went to and from the sea for eons before the dams were built.

The streams are also home to some threatened and endangered creatures, including the Santa Ana speckled dace, that exists only in the Los Angeles basin. These flows are always under pressure, and not just from the lack of water. They frequently suffer from overuse by crowds of visitors, some of whom trash them and others who damage them with illegal gold mining and with what the forest service calls “recreational dam building.”

The forest service has long been hard pressed to protect them: not enough money, and not enough staff.

The many people who know and love these streams were naturally excited when President Obama designated the National Monument in the fall of 2014, anticipating that plans and resources would be developed to better protect these waters. And so the fishers, the hikers and the mountain bikers, together with professional fishery experts, weighed in during the requisite public comment period to tell the forest service what they thought should be done for these streams in the new San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan.

At the end of that process, the forest service produced a summary of the comments and an outline of the issues and concerns they determined should be the focus of the plan. Sadly, the outline for their management plan does not include any focus on these streams.

Consequently, in accordance with the forest service’s planning policies, all of the stream-specific comments and recommendations that were submitted by the public were ignored. They will not have an influence on the management plan for the national monument.

If this concerns you, let the forest service know:

Contact Justin Seastrand, Environmental Coordinator, Angeles National Forest, at jseastrand@fs.fed.us, or Superintendent Jeffrey Vail, at JVail@fs.fed.us.

Don’t have to wait for the next public comment period later this winter or spring, when part of the environmental assessment will be published. It may be too late by then.

John Tobin is the conservation chair for the Pasadena Casting Club.

Quick mends: Never mind the carp, here come the goldfish!


(Images courtesy of Beauty Motivation)

(Images courtesy of Beauty Motivation)

If you have any shots of goldfish you’ve caught in the river, please send them in. Also, we may be the only river in the country in which hobbyists also take fish home to see what they grow up to be! Come on, you know who you are!

From the story:

“Giant goldfish are becoming a problem in Minnesota lakes, and wildlife officials are warning fish owners who no longer want to care for their pets not to flush them down the toilet or dispose of them in lakes, ponds or waterways.”

 

See you on the river, Jim Burns

 

Goldfish1

The Drake shoots for ultimate catch and release cover


IMG_0983 2

Could this cover from The Drake’s winter, 2015, effort be the ultimate beauty shot? (Courtesy The Drake)

When this image confronted me through its plastic-wrap encasing in the mail, all I could do was marvel — and possibly feel a bit dismayed. Undoubtedly, this is the ultimate 21st Century hero shot, in which the angler completely disappears in favor of the fish, and, apparently, the fish never leaves the water. Conversely, it takes two to create this image : fly fisher and media wrangler. (Maybe better three, including the fish), not the “me, myself and I” team most of us fish.

Gone are steps most useful in careful catch and release: no dipping net and hands in water; no reviving the fish before release, in favor of total angler immersion.

Gordon M. Wickstrom, the author of “The History of Fishing for Trout with Artificial Flies in Britain and America: A Chronology of Five Hundred Years, 1496 to 2000,”  wrote about six periods in fly fishing for the Orvis News blog in 2011. He pegged catch and release to 1960-2008, his Trout Unlimited Period, and reminded us of “Lee Wulff’s famous 1939 statement that ‘game fish are too valuable to be caught only once’ that became the basis for the catch and release movement that took hold over the last two decades of the 20th Century.”

The Drake cover reminded me of an art history prof I took once upon a time who said that American painter Albert Bierstadt’s depiction of human beings in his later-1800s landscapes represented people dwarfed by the habitat in which they traveled and were no longer the center of the story. Epic nature took center stage.Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 10.28.18 AM

There’s much evidence that catch and release fishing tends to keep native fish populations healthy, especially in high-pressure areas. Who knows People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) might even grudgingly endorse this image. The organization is vehemently opposed to sport fishing.

It’s a sure bet that until GoPro invents an underwater camera on a selfie stick, not many of us will be repeating this beauty shot anytime soon. For most, the trophy mentality is still there and we document our hunt with a photo instead of going to the taxidermist or the dinner table with our catch. We are, after all, still fishers fishing, but there may come a time when we join the ancient Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu by fishing along a stream with just the pole and no line. That may be the next step after Tenkara removed the reel.

Jokes aside, it is impossible to fly fish without becoming acutely aware of the environment in which you ply your passion. After all, this blog began after years of wondering what the hell was happening to the Southern California no-kill areas I’d come to love. When the fish is the star — not the gear, or the outfit, or even the destination, I see hope.

Back to the resonating words of Wickstrom:

“In closing, allow me to play the prophet: I think that, in this New Period of angling, we are part of an important cultural shift toward a deeper humanity and mercy of the good Earth. We may find ourselves living quite differently, living better with less, with a greater delicacy, clarity, balance and honestly. Fishing a fly on a clear, cold stream may well serve as a working model and inspiration for what we want. It shows forth qualities — environmental, psychological, social, economic and political — that we need to incorporate into the future.”

See you on the water, Jim Burns

 

Major conservation organization awards philanthropist


 

Bacon

Louis Bacon (Courtesy TRCP)

(Press release) Philanthropist Louis Bacon, Sen. Martin Heinrich, and Sen. James Risch will be recognized at eighth annual awards dinner in April 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is proud to announce the recipients of our eighth annual Capital Conservation Awards, to be presented on April 27, 2016, to three honorees building a legacy of support for fish and wildlife on Capitol Hill and across the country.

The TRCP’s 2016 Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award will go to Louis Bacon, a conservation philanthropist and founder of The Moore Charitable Foundation, Inc. As the president of MCF and chairman of its affiliate foundations, Bacon has spent more than two decades conserving threatened habitat, protecting open spaces, and safeguarding clean water through the support of more than 200 local, national, and international organizations. He was also instrumental in the founding of the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international organization of over 260 Waterkeeper organizations working across six continents to protect rivers, lakes, and coastal waterways.

Bacon has authorized conservation easements on more than 210,600 acres throughout the United States—including a parcel which is the largest such donation received by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a critical step in the establishment of the Sangre de Cristo Conservation Area as the nation’s 558th unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Combined with additional donations authorized by Bacon of conservation easements on Tercio and Red River Ranches, these donations help form a landscape-scale conservation effort of 800,000 acres of protected lands stretching from Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado to northern New Mexico.

Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) will be presented with the 2016 James D. Range Conservation Award—named after TRCP’s co-founder and conservation visionary—for their dedication to protecting what sportsmen value from both sides of the aisle in Congress.

An avid sportsman, Sen. Heinrich has championed conservation funding, clean water protections, and the expansion of recreational access to America’s public lands. He is the principal Democratic co-sponsor of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act, which would reauthorize key conservation programs and protect public access to hunting and fishing, and has staunchly opposed the transfer of national public lands to individual Western states.

Sen. Risch is a leader of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and has co-sponsored legislation designed to reauthorize key conservation programs, put an end to fire borrowing, and promote renewable energy on public lands. As governor of Idaho, Risch worked with local government, tribes, conservation groups, and sportsmen to author a strong state roadless rule that protects national forests.

The TRCP’s gala event in April will bring together policy-makers, conservation advocates, and outdoor industry leaders at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

Fly fishers wanted for TV commercial


FLY FISHERS WANTED
CASTING TV COMMERCIAL FOR MAJOR TECH COMPANY!

We are for REAL FLY FISHERS (men and women, ages 20s to early 30s) to be cast in a television commercial for a major technology company.

Because this is a national commercial with residuals means the potential for HUGE PAY!

Open to both union and non-union, but you must be a REAL FLY FISHER with real experience fly fishing!!

You must be located in the Greater LA area.

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT IS THIS TUESDAY, Jan 12th, so please submit IMMEDIATELY!

Auditions: through Jan 12th (Tuesday!)
Callbacks: None- booking from tape
Shoot: Jan 20th-26th, 2016

TO SUBMIT:
Be sure to mention you heard about this from Jeff Gund at INFOLIST.com for priority consideration, and email ALL the information requested below IMMEDIATELY to:
info.goodpeoplecasting@gmail.com
Be sure to include:
1. Your name (first and last)
2. Contact phone number and email
3. A brief paragraph describing your experience as fly fisher (feel free to brag!)
4 Recent photos of yourself (jpg format please)
5. Recent photo(s) of you fishing (jpg format please)
6. Be sure to mention you heard about this from Jeff Gund at INFOLIST.com for priority consideration!

Quick mends: Army Corps to erect barriers, cut vegetation in Glendale Narrows


VIEW from the Glendale/Hyperion Bridge in 1937. (Courtesy LA Public Library)

VIEW from the Glendale/Hyperion Bridge in 1937.
(Courtesy LA Public Library)

UPDATE: 

The barriers are going up now on east sidea of river. I was in the north Atwater park area and they are working their way south from Colorado Blvd. They have have made it to the park. Lights were being turned on and it didnt look like they were stopping for the night. Forget about any river access in that area!

 

I found this recent story that I saw on TV news as well as read in the L.A. Times pretty confusing. From the story:

“We’re hoping for the best, but we’re going to continue to prepare for the worst,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “… If [the river] floods, there is risk of significant damage, not to mention real and immediate danger to Angelenos.”

If you’ve been down to Glendale Narrows, you know that the river encasement is already high, 20 feet, according to the U.S. Army Corps Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study so what could a temporary four-foot-high barrier accomplish that isn’t already there? And for $4.5 million?

But the more vexing part of this emergency solution is “removing debris.” If the Corps removes the islands and plant life that dot the area, you can kiss the only structure fish have goodbye. It’s also a very healthy bird habitat. The NBC story indicates this is already taking place. Here’s the 2013 draft redesign plan for that area:

(U.S. Army Corps)

(U.S. Army Corps)

Existing Channel Features – The existing trapezoidal channel within the sub-reach varies from grouted rock to concrete paved channel, is 310 feet wide from the top of bank and 20 feet high from the invert.

Preliminary Channel Design – As seen in Figure 4.12, ” Cross-Section 5, Los Feliz Boulevard to Glendale Freeway,” the proposed design would construct four concrete terraced planters in the left/east bank of the channel slope. The right/west bank of the trapezoidal bank would be replaced by a 22-foot-high vertical retaining wall with subdrainage under the invert slab, which would meet the existing top of bank. Two riprap toedowns would be constructed below the channel bottom and bank. The first riprap toedown would be constructed on the right/west bank and the second that would include bank protection, would be located on the left/east bank. Two 16-foot-wide asphalt concrete maintenance roads would be constructed on the land of the retaining walls on the top of bank. The existing cobble/soft bottom would be protected in place and expanded 27 feet towards the proposed right/west bank of the channel.

See you on the river, Jim Burns