The Current Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 28


Busy Day in the Capitol

It was expected to be a sweltering day on the State's Capitol, not unusual for late August. But today, Tuesday, August 29, things were already heating up on the Capitol Lawn before 9 am. It was a big day for CalTrout, kicking off with the signing of the Central Valley Salmon Habitat Partnership (CVSHP) charter. California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird along with a broad group of stakeholders gathered to officially launch the Partnership. The CVSHP includes state and federal water and wildlife agencies, farmers and water suppliers, fishermen, and conservationists working together to restore and protect vital salmon habitats.

Central Valley rivers and their tributaries have been, historically, the third-most productive region for salmon on the West Coast. However, native salmon runs and steelhead populations have declined drastically here. Today, two of the four distinct runs of Central Valley Chinook salmon, as well as steelhead, are listed as threatened or endangered.

These fish migrate between inland rivers and streams and the ocean for different parts of their lives. In the process, they face many challenges including blocked access to spawning grounds; a lack of cold water at critical times of year; and a dramatic reduction in habitat . Quality habitat is vital for providing food and shelter for young salmon to grow and for adult salmon to spawn. The Partnership will use its combined expertise to improve salmon habitat and support widespread recovery of Central Valley salmon and steelhead.

The Partnership’s first order of business will be to identify, find funding for, and execute the best opportunities to improve salmon habitat. The group is modeled after the highly successful Central Valley Joint Venture through which a similar group of stakeholders has been working for decades to recover native and migratory bird populations. Partnership members provide expertise on a broad range of issues, from scientific study to securing permits for habitat restoration.

“The successful recovery of any threatened species requires cooperation from many parties. I’m confident that the remarkable range of stakeholders working together in this Partnership bodes well for the future of salmon and steelhead in the Central Valley.”

- Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird