The Granite Bay Flycasters donated $10,000 to Placer County recently for a cause the group supports enthusiastically: increasing the population of steelhead trout and Chinook salmon in Auburn Ravine.
The fly-fishing group presented the donation to the Placer County Board of Supervisors at a meeting in Auburn May 27.
The group joined a growing list of public agencies and nonprofit organizations working together to make it easier for fish to migrate up and down Auburn Ravine.
The main goal is to modify two concrete barriers in the stream: Hemphill Dam and a Nevada Irrigation District gauging station located in the city of Lincoln. The stretch of Auburn Ravine above the two barriers is an important fish spawning ground and an area where young fish mature before migrating back to the ocean.
During the May 27 board meeting, Supervisor Robert Weygandt, a devoted fly fisherman, emphasized that public-private partnerships often are effective at dealing with complex issues with many interested parties.
“This is a great example of that,” he said, thanking the Granite Bay Flycasters for its generosity. “When I was a kid, almost all of the small streams that flow into the Sacramento drainage had at least fall-run Chinook salmon. The county has been involved in attempting to restore these fisheries to what they used to be and what I think they can be.”
Several members of the fly-fishing group were on hand for the ceremony. It has more than 230 members.
The $10,000 was donated to Placer County’s award-winning Placer Legacy Open Space and Agricultural Conservation Program.
The donation will become part of the matching funds needed for Placer County to spend a $339,645 state grant through Proposition 50, the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act of 2002.
Placer County has contributed $260,000 in matching funds.
The county’s partners on the project include NID, the California Department of Fish and Game, Dry Creek Conservancy and American Basin Council of Watersheds.
Other partners are NOAA Fisheries, Lincoln High School, the Bella Vista Foundation, Northern California Council Federation of Fly Fishers, Gold Country Fly Fishers and private landowners.
Part of the funding will be used for a second part of the project: removing Red Sesbania from local streams. Also known as Scarlet Wisteria or Rattlebush, the plant is a woody shrub that forms dense stands along streams, replacing native plants that provide important forage and cover for wildlife in riparian areas.
The county’s funding partners for that part of the project include the cities of Roseville and Sacramento, Sacramento County and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency. The project will be managed by the flood control agency and the Placer County Resource Conservation District.
The Auburn Ravine fish-passage work and Red Sesbania removal are part of an American River Basin Watershed Restoration Project.
Placer Legacy’s goals include:
· Retaining important scenic and historical areas;
· Providing public recreational opportunities;
· Helping maintain agriculture as a viable part of the county economy;
· Preserving the diversity of animal and plant species, and protecting endangered and other special-status species; and
· Creating buffers so urban areas remain separate, distinct communities.