Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Water Wednesday | #7 Building a nest for salmon

Salmon and other anadromous fish are picky when it comes to reproduction.  They need just the right combination of water depth, temperature, current and river bottom conditions.  On the American River, just below the Nimbus Dam, the Bureau of Reclamation are giving them some help.

Using rock sorters and earth movers, loads of small pebbles are dumped into the river and then smoothed into ridges.  Salmon make their nests - or 'reds'- in shallow pebbly areas off the main channel.  The river is so low that the construction crews can easily stage equipment and sort rocks on the banks.  The work will continue until the end of August, with tree planting to follow.  Learn more by reading the Bureau of Reclamation press release.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stornetta Public Lands

The breathtaking beauty of the Stornetta Public Lands

     A few months ago I took a trip up to the newly created Stornetta Public Lands in Mendocino County.  My family is From Ukiah, county seat of Mendocino, and I don't need much of an excuse to visit the coast.  

Rebecca Hale, a local farmer, chases off a troublesome horse with a low caliber pellet gun.
The executive order that created the new monument has been billed as a universal good for the land, the people and the local economy (The New York Times recently ranked it the #3 place to visit in 2014).  However, some wonder if a local constituency has been overlooked.

Isaac Rios in front of the Garcia River
Isaac Rios is a Pomo Indian, a group indigenous to this remote stretch of the Mendocino Coast.  The Stornetta Public Lands are of ceremonial importance to the Pomo people.  Restriction on structures and fires have long prevented the Pomo from performing rites and ceremonies on the lands, restrictions which will continue now that the area is officially open to the public.  Is there a way to allow public access and a rite of return to ceremonial practices for indigenous groups?

An aging surfboard borders Rebecca Hale's garden.