Sportsmen cheer reintroduction of Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act


Contact: Sam Davidson, 831-235-2542

Rep. Jared Huffman and Sen. Kamala Harris champion legislation that will better protect and restore habitat and water quality in steelhead and salmon strongholds

(April 10, 2019) HEALDSBURG, Calif—Trout Unlimited (TU) today praised the reintroduction of legislation from California Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Jared Huffman (an avid angler) that will help protect and restore famous steelhead and salmon fisheries in northwest California.

The Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation and Working Forests Act covers some of California’s most unique public lands and waters, will improve the resiliency of the landscape to uncharacteristic wildfire, and helps reduce hazardous fuels in the wildland-urban interface. It will also help local communities capitalize on the region’s reputation as one of the best areas for fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation in the West.

This bill was built on years of discussion and feedback from local counties, timber companies, outdoor recreation and hospitality businesses, conservation groups, fire and resource agencies, and communities. The bill includes measures to restore forest health, protect rivers, reduce the risk of uncharacteristic wildfire, rehabilitate habitat degraded by illegal marijuana grows, and improve and construct new trails and other infrastructure for recreational use.

“For anglers, there is no substitute for good habitat,” said Charlie Schneider, president of TU’s Redwood Empire Chapter. “Some of the best salmon and steelhead habitat in California is found in the public lands that will be better protected and restored under this bill. TU and our partners have worked for years to improve habitat conditions in the iconic Trinity and Eel Rivers and other waters that will benefit from this legislation. We are grateful to Sen. Harris and Rep. Huffman for their leadership in conserving our legendary steelhead and salmon runs and to supporting the robust recreational fishing economy of our region.”

This area is renowned for its steelhead angling opportunities. Steelhead are the great freshwater sport fish of the Pacific Northwest, have one of the most diverse life histories of any species, and are a good bellwether for the health of a watershed. TU’s Wild Steelhead Initiative, through our North Coast river restoration program, actively works in partnership with private timber companies and other private and public landowners to lead restoration projects in this region that improve streamflows, fish passage, water quality and habitat conditions.

Cindy Noble, chair of TU’s California Council, said, “TU’s 10,000 members in California salute Senator Harris and Representative Huffman for their commitment to conserving and restoring our public lands and the sporting opportunities these lands provide. The world-class salmon and steelhead fisheries of northwest California have been hard hit by a witches’ brew of climate change, drought, wildfire and previously unregulated water diversions for marijuana cultivation, so this legislation is vital and timely. TU and our partners in public lands conservation look forward to helping advance this bill in both the House and the Senate.”

Photo: South Fork Trinity River

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Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook,Twitter, and Instagram and our blog for all the latest information on trout and salmon conservation.