Category: News

Boulder clusters could make a difference for urban fish

Flow
(Courtesy Bureau of Reclamation.)

If you fish and the above look like prime spots to cast your dry fly, you’ve got a good eye. The incredible part is that these images don’t come from a fast-flowing stream in Montana, but are lab representations of what could happen in the LA River to slow the water flow in certain areas, providing structure and habitat.

Currently, most of the river runs with an even flow, purposely created by engineers to move water out to the ocean. Flood control, not habitat, was the U.S. Army Corps original consideration after widespread destructive flooding in Los Angeles during the 1930s.

In all, the Bureau of Reclamation plans to test 12 designs alternatives that would “increase the size and roughness of a low-flow channel that would fit within the larger concrete flood control channel.” Features could include:
— a meandering low-flow channel with pools and riffles
— flow detectors
— a multi-threaded channel
— backwater areas
— boulder clusters (like the one pictured)
— mid-channel islands with alternating bank-attached bars

It’s all part of an innovative approach that may lead to a design within confined urban streams to create suitable depth and velocity conditions for native fish to thrive.

“The study only looks at hydraulics while recognizing that other biological factors, such as water temperature and cover are important,” said the Bureau of Reclamation Lead Investigator Nathan Holste by email.

Saying “hello” to native rainbows and “goodbye” to invasive carp is a stretch, but this is a welcome step in the right direction to return aquatic habit to our waters.

The Council for Watershed Health, in partnership with Holste, and several other project partners submitted a grant application to the Wildlife Conservation Board to fund a LA River Fish Passage Study, according to CWH Executive Director Eileen Alduenda, and are hopeful of receiving the additional funds to continue the study.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

First big test of housing vs. LA River restoration

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At the Bowtie State Park: “Appreciate hard times, someday they’ll just be another chapter in your success story.” (Jim Burns)

From the Los Angeles Times:

Los Angeles’s twin challenges of building more housing while restoring its namesake waterway are clashing along a shady 11-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River between downtown and the hills of Griffith Park.

On a 7-acre parcel in that stretch, a developer wants to build the riverfront’s first major development, Casitas Lofts, a 419-unit mix of mostly upscale apartments, offices and restaurants bordering neighborhoods on the east side of the river, Glassell Park and Atwater Village.

But opponents — including many nearby residents, the influential nonprofit Friends of the Los Angeles River and the Natural Resources Defense Council — contend the development would disrupt habitat restoration efforts, trigger gentrification and erode the area’s allure.

Yurok Tribe declares personhood for Klamath River

klamath
The Klamath River now has the legal status of personhood. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

From High Country News: This summer, the Yurok Tribe declared rights of personhood for the Klamath River — likely the first to do so for a river in North America. A concept previously restricted to humans (and corporations), “rights of personhood” means, most simply, that an individual or entity has rights, and they’re now being extended to nonhumans. The Yurok’s resolution, passed by the tribal council in May, comes during another difficult season for the Klamath; over the past few years, low water flows have caused high rates of disease in salmon, and cancelled fishing seasons.

Check out new Mountains Conservancy survey tool (it’s cool)

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Hello Community Partners/Friends,

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is soliciting feedback for their ongoing efforts around the Upper LA River & Tributaries plan. They have released a bilingual survey tool for community organizations and residents alike to fill out. This tool offers the ability to view layers such as: the literature review and compilation, identified opportunity sites and design areas, and is also an opportunity for you to provide feedback. Please visit the link below and complete the survey and share with your neighbors/constituents/community members.

https://gis.tetratech.com/mrca_ulart/
The survey will be available until Sept. 5.

Please submit any questions regarding the survey tool to river@smmc.ca.gov.

Sincere regards,

Fernando

Fernando R. Morales
Senior Field Deputy, West/Metro LA
O: 310.231.1170
C: 213.379.2807

One step closer to restoring the Klamath River

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Iron Gate Dam on the Klamath River. (Courtesy of Thomas B. Dunklin)

From Trout Unlimited’s Sam Davidson:

 Thursday, May 9, delivered more good news on the Klamath River restoration front.

PacifiCorp, the utility that owns the four old hydropower dams slated for removal under the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), announced it has entered into a site access agreement with Kiewit Infrastructure West Company “to allow the firm to conduct initial surveying and other work connected to planned removal of four dams on the Klamath River.”

The site access agreement follows an announcement by the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) on April 25, 2019 that it had signed an initial contract with Kiewit to perform preliminary services that include design, planning and permitting support to carry out dam removal.

Brian J. Johnson, director of Trout Unlimited’s California Program and TU’s
representative in the settlement agreement process, said “The site access agreement and the KRRC’s contract with Kiewit represent two major steps forward for restoration of the Klamath River, and the momentum for removing the four old fish-blocking dams has never been stronger. Moving forward with the KHSA is good for fishing, tribal communities, and ratepayers.”

Johnson noted that the Klamath River, historically, has been the third most productive river for salmon and steelhead on the West Coast and that the dam removal effort is supplemented by work TU and other parties are doing in the upper Klamath Basin to restore water quality and aquatic and riparian habitat, and to improve water security.

Removal of the dams would occur as soon as 2021 upon approval of the agreement by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

PacifiCorp issued a joint press release with the Yurok and Karuk Tribes on the signing of the site access agreement. The two tribes are parties to the amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement and applauded the hiring of Kiewit as general contractor for dam removal and the firm’s site access agreement with PacifiCorp as key steps in fulfilling the terms of the KHSA.

“PacifiCorp remains fully committed to successful implementation of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, which will result in removal of the lower four Klamath River dams coupled with customer protections,” said Scott Bolton, senior vice president for Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp that serves electricity customers in Oregon, California, and Washington.

Bolton added, “The agreement provides a better outcome for our customers compared to the unknown costs and risk of relicensing the dams. PacifiCorp appreciates the expertise Kiewit brings to this endeavor and the continued hard work of our settlement partners as we move to fully implement this important agreement.”

Earth Day news, so far in 2019

planet earth
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The good: The first phase of an ordinance which bans restaurants in the city of Los Angeles from automatically offering their customers disposable plastic straws unless they specifically request them takes effect today. (CBS-LA)

The bad: The prospect of extinction may seem unduly pessimistic to some, but the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach announced recently that it had acquired 1,200 delta smelt from a UC Davis research hatchery. (Los Angeles Times)

The ugly: Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach could soon be underwater, as rising sea levels caused by climate change overtake its white sand beaches and bustling streets, AP reports:

  • Honolulu will start experiencing frequent flooding within the next 15 to 20 years, officials predict.
  • State lawmakers are considering spending millions for a coastline protection program aimed at defending the city from regular tidal inundations. (Axios)

 

See you on the river, Jim Burns

A ‘concrete’ way of eradicating Asian carp?

BassOmatic
Bassmaster asks: “Will carp-crete prove as
popular as the classic Bass-O-Matic” in the old
“Saturday Night Live” skit by Dan Aykroyd?

(Reposted from The Rural Blog)

The use of market forces to fight Asian carp may be taking a hard turn. By turning the fish into concrete.

For several years, companies in the mid-Mississippi River valley have been buying and processing the fish, largely for the Chinese market. To expand the market and get more anglers interested in fishing for them, civil engineer James Nobles developed a way to use by-products from processing as an ingredient in concrete.

“The main thing is to make (carp-crete) profitable for the fishermen so we can bring more people in to catch these fish and get them out of this lake,” said Western Kentucky marina operator Wayne Breedlove, who hosted a pour of “carp-crete” this week, covered by Laurel Black of The Paducah Sun. “It’s getting to the point where it’s dangerous for these boaters.”

“Asian carp pose a threat to the $1.2 billion fishing and recreational boating industries in Western Kentucky, and are wreaking similar havoc in Tennessee,” Black notes. “The carp consume forage that popular species, like bass, rely on to survive, and one species is known to jump out of the water when startled, potentially causing injury to boaters. If carp-crete proves successful, it would help make catching Asian carp more lucrative for commercial fishermen. Commercial harvesting is the best way to manage the Asian carp population, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.”

Breedlove told Black that cost has proven to be carp-crete’s only drawback so far. “The carp ash for the carp-crete was produced in Southern Illinois, which is also testing the product,” she reports.