steelhead are back & paddler annoys me…

Good Morning Barbara,

San Lorenzo River steelhead

I am getting back to you with an update about the other San Lorenzo River residents: the fish population. You’ll be excited to hear that the river housed the highest amount of steelhead in June 2016 since the current survey protocol was started in 2008. Many steelhead left after June and through the summer and so the steelhead count in July and August was very low but rebounded somewhat in late September. I was pretty thrilled to find out that NOAA instruments detected the Lagoon tagged steelhead as they passed upstream of the Henry Cowell State Park from late June through November. The growth rate of recaptured steelhead fluctuated from moderate to quite high. The abundance of the steelhead in the San Lorenzo River is fabulous news and might be partially due to more rain, slightly lower water temperatures and in general better water quality than during the summer/fall of 2015. Personally I also think the hard work and efforts of the Watershed Staff played a part in the steelhead recovery outcome.

Main Beach.png
Main Beach circa 1955

I had to smile as I read that the OSPREY spirit was with me as I am diving around in the 2015 Interim Management Plan (IMP). Since I want us to know what is coming down the pipeline for our San Lorenzo River, I am back with more IMP info.: I learned the purpose of the TEMPORARY OUTLET CHANNEL(TOC) flood device: it’s to draw down the water level to 3.0 to 4.0 ft. when the 5 ft gage level signals flooding potential for the neighborhood and Boardwalk basement. Prior to developing a final TOC plan various components are evaluated, such location, width and height of the outlet breach, outflow discharge, current lagoon water quality conditions, fish presence and effect of channel on habitats. The TOC can be activated six times during the Lagoon season. Each channel takes a day to construct and will run diagonally to the beach to assure a controlled, slow draining spillway. In order to avoid an uncontrolled lagoon draining, sand piles will be placed adjacent to the inlet for immediate fill-in of the channel. Once the desired water elevation of 3.0 to 4.0 feet is reached, the outlet channel gets closed. I’ll keep you posted if all my surfacing questions get answered as I continue reading…You might be interested in the IMP feedback, which shows how multi layered the river mouth issue is. An environmentalist stated that flooding problems in the neighborhood and Boardwalk basement stem from building in the floodplain in the first place. Furthermore he points out that the sand moves East and questions that widening of Main Beach is caused by the jetties since the Main Beach is West of the jetties. What have you heard about the Harbor construction impact on the coastline?

Main Beach now

The other day I got reinforced again in my river paddle opposition as I watched a paddler enamored with his recreational enjoyment chase the migratory birds off the water. He arrived through the river mouth, which tried to spit him back out to the Ocean, paddled at a speedy clip up river, aimed right at a COMMON GOLDENEYE flock without slowing down, flushed them off the water, proceeded next towards a BUFFLEHEAD group, flushed them as well.

panicked C.Goldeneye escape

He turned around, told some people on the Trestle bridge how satisfying his experience had been and left via river mouth. I have to tell you that I was aching to ask him, if he had noticed the nervous, agitated behavior of the water birds as he approached and if he did, was he concerned about their obvious unease due to his presence? Was he aware that birds feed more before incoming storm to store up for not feeding during storms? I would have loved to ask him if he felt that his recreational satisfaction outweighed the birds feeding needs, which assures their survival? I returned almost 2 hours later and am sorry to report the COMMON GOLDENEYE and BUFFLEHEAD flocks hadn’t returned…

pleasure versus survival…

Yes, I decided to be one of the Sierra Club Executive Committee Candidates I think this organization will be very busy in the upcoming 4 years. Thank you for voting by Jan. 4th.

I am sending you magic Merry Season wishes, jane


2 thoughts on “steelhead are back & paddler annoys me…

  1. Many thanks for the report, all the details, and your observation of the all too common impacts of recreation on wildlife. I urge you and any others to take movies of such disturbances and to submit that documentation to the US Fish and Wildlife as well as the California Department of Fish and Game. With enough documentation of impacts, the agency owning the land can be found in violation of wildlife protection laws…the people doing the disturbances are secondary- the ownership agency is responsible for controlling the recreation impacts and can be found liable.

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