This is a personal letter. I was raised in the Pacific Northwest. My hometown of Bellingham Washington was homeport for many boats that routinely did the Alaska Salmon run. My neighbors were fishermen. Being raised with abundant salmon, that were part of a way of life, having toured spawning grounds from childhood, and had every manner of abundant salmon prepared in our home as part of seasonal festivities, the notion that salmon may pass away in my lifetime is huge. What does this mean for us, as a people if we let this happen? Can you have a healthy river system without native species? These are big questions, and they break down into manageable actions.
I urge you to authorize the study for salmon habitat and repopulation on the Yuba River. I recognize the tremendous sensitivity to water supply in these drought conditions and seek inclusive processes that allow for responsible governing, water supply and the preservation and restoration of resources, which includes native species.
Salmon numbers have dropped from 1 million 100 years ago to just a few thousand today. In 2002, almost 70,000 salmon died in front of the Native Americans due to water control issues. The decline of salmon should startle us into action, but has it?
Salmon is and always will be a personal issue for me. Life is personal. Habitat is personal. Quality of life includes the species that were here thousands of years before us. If we do not provide habitat for threatened species, what lays ahead for children, our grandchildren and us?
The Yuba River is Nevada County’s water source, running from the Sierra to the Valley. Please take steps to restore the Yuba as a vital fishery, protecting habitat, water and the future for threatened species.
Authorize the initial study proposed by John Garamendi for fish passage and accommodations. As governing agencies, be prepared to act to include salmon and fisheries in water resource planning with the immediacy that is appropriate to the drastic need.
The Yuba River is an essential part of my home. Protecting fisheries is protecting water resources and our critical life source. Thank you for taking appropriate action.