Monday, November 14, 2005

River Conservation

Holidays are sneaking up on us... and my thoughts are still on the river season. Conservation groups have been very busy these past few months. SMUD's (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) proprosal of relicensing the Upper South Fork American River "was not as positive as it could have been,” said Steve Evans, FOR Conservation Director. It did not include the recommendations of agencies that are responsible for the public trust, including the California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and California Park Service.” FOR (Friends of the River) is not asking for dam removals; just a restoration. Read more about this project at our River Conservation News pages.

And over on the Tuolumne River, conservation efforts have helped convince San Francisco in dropping the additional pipeline that would have adversely affected the beautiful flows of the Tuolumne River. For those of you who love that river, you should read and help support the efforts by the Tuolumne Trust.

Finally, the modifications by the US National Forest has made some profound changes over on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. FEIS (Final Environmental Impact Study) was released last week. "We think it's a workable plan," said Mark Grisham, Executive Director of the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association, "We would have done some things differently, but recognize that the Park had a tough balancing act." Some of the changes include: Commercial use spreading from April through September with some launches in June and July moved to these early & later seasonal departures; Group size cuts from a maximum of 36 passengers to 28 passengers; and the ratio of commercial motorized use to oar use changed from the current 3 to 1 (motorized to oar) to 2 to 1.

While most of our paddling friends are busy with holiday planning and preparing for their annual rafting trips, our industry is busy protecting these dwindling resources as our California population swells. We work hard to protect our industry's interest just like every other business in the country; except ours is a fun-loving outdoor recreation that truely enhances the quality of our lives.

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