setting it straight…

Good Morning Barbara and Fellow River Meanderers,

As you can see: there are no photos in this post, because the apple giant crashed my iPhoto. Consequently this post is different, because I decided to tidy up loose ends and loop back to previously promised info. So wish me luck to get iPhoto back up and yes! in the meantime I’ll be biting my nails.

I want you, our readers, to know that your post comments matter a lot. Your feedback, update information add a lively dimension to our reporting. They are a wonderful way of connecting with you and let other readers share your scoop like these 2 inputs for this post:
As it turns out that I was wrong, when I wishfully wrote: “This is pretty exciting because it indicates that this fish returned to spawn upstream.” in my post ‘steelhead,snakes, migratory arrivals….’ Our fish expert reader pointed out that “ The 363mm re-captured steelhead was not an adult yet. It has been growing since it was first captured. It may have spent time in the lagoon/estuary and even in the Bay since then. Juveniles may grow quite large in the estuary/lagoon, where food is abundant. Most adult steelhead return from the ocean in late fall through spring to spawn, usually at 500 – 600 mm FL or larger. They go upstream as far as they can into their natal streams to spawn.”
Also my excitement ‘about Bayta’s rare San Francisco Garter Snake find‘ received her caution revision: “I consulted with a local naturalist, who he said it could have been a common garter snake that has a red form. Technically I guess the San Francisco garter snake is a sub-species of the common garter snake and are actually genetically identical but have some separation of territories. It’s not impossible it was a SF garter but they do not usually live south of San Mateo. The only way to tell them apart is the size of face plates … I guess the scales.”
I was talking with my birding friend from FT. Bragg about our annual Santa Cruz County bird count that took place last Saturday. She told me that the BRANDT CORMORANTS parents in her area didn’t feed their fledglings. None of the offspring survived and the birders have no explanation for that occurrence. What really stunned me was that this year no BRANDT CORMORANTS have been reported in our County. Of course I wonder if these 2 incidences are related? And what a difference a year makes: 6 PINE SISKINS were spotted this year while 370 were counted last year. Where are those cute little birds?
The Santa Cruz Water Rights Project is a complex issue. It involves many local, State and Federal agencies. The City proposes an increase of year-round diversion at Felton and to include Tait Street in the Project. The concern is that this proposal can potentially reduce the crucial habitat between Felton and Santa Cruz during the summer and dry years. Furthermore the proposed maximum diversion rates at both locations could result in more fluctuation of the lagoon/ estuary levels, impacting steelhead, salmon and bird population. It is hard to assess the Project, which references to the Conservation Plan, which is 18 years late of being completed. The Environmental Committee of the Valley Women’s Club stated in their comment letter that they have concerns about the assessment of population and housing growth on page 32. Their reason is: even if annual water extraction is not increased, the city will be able to extract more during dry and drought years. This will thus increase the available water during those years, with the potential to allowing greater population growth. This brings into question the assertion that, “The Proposed Project would not increase the City’s overall water supply to accommodate growth.” – Like I said before: This is a complex issue and I’ll keep you updated!

I wish you all a very chirpy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year with lots of wonderful river walks. Also cheers to our Sierra Club readers, who will be sending in their ballots before Jan. 12th(new deadline) for their ExCom candidates choices. jane

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