TU applauds introduction of Senate bill to better conserve NW California public lands and waters


Contact: Sam Davidson sdavidson@tu.org, 831-235-2542

December 5, 2018

Trout Unlimited lauds introduction of Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation,and Working Forests Act in the United States Senate

Thanks Sen. Harris for her leadership in protecting steelhead and salmon stronghold

EMERYVILLE, CalifTrout Unlimited (TU) today praised the introduction of legislation from California Senator Kamala Harris 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 Californias most unique public lands and waters and will improve the resiliency of the landscape to catastrophic wildfire. It will also help local communities capitalize on the regions reputation as one of the best areas for fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation in the West.

Specifically, the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation and Working Forests Act includes measures to restore forests, protect rivers, reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, rehabilitate habitat degraded by illegal trespass marijuana grows, and improve and construct new trails and other infrastructure for recreational use.

The Senate version of this legislation is identical to that introduced by Rep. Jared Huffman in the House of Representatives at the end of July 2018.

Cindy Noble, chair of TUs California Council, said, TUs 11,000 members in California salute Senator Harris commitment to conserving and restoring our public lands and the sporting opportunities they provide. The Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation and Working Forests Act is timely and important, as this areas world-class salmon and steelhead fisheries have been hard hit by a witches brew of climate change, drought, wildfire and previously unregulated water diversions for marijuana cultivation. TU pledges to help advance this legislation in the Senate, as we are doing on the House side with Rep. Jared Huffmans bill, H.R. 6596.

Anglers are drawn to this area, in particular, for a chance to catch steelhead trout, the great freshwater sport fish of the Pacific Northwest. Steelhead have one of the most diverse life histories of any species and are a good bellwether for the health of a watershed. TUs 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.

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

Senator Harris also introduced today the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act, which mirrors legislation previously introduced in the House by Rep. Judy Chu. Trout Unlimited also supports this bill, which will better protect segments of the San Gabriel River through federal Wild and Scenic River designations. The San Gabriel River is one of the few streams in southern California that offer trout fishing, and scientists have documented remnant genes of the rare southern steelhead in native trout populations here.

Senator Harris released this video with the introduction of these two bills. And this video from Trout Unlimited provides context on the importance of public lands in northern California for fishing and the fishing economy, with a focus on the Trinity River and guide Leslie Ajari.

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Trout Unlimited, founded in 1959, is the largest and oldest sportsmen’s conservation group dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring trout and salmon in North America. Follow us on www.tu.org, and on Facebook and Twitter.