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Shasta Dam Raise Threatens the McCloud and Sacramento Rivers

McCloud River 1100x733

McCloud River 1100×733

The Westlands Water District is preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed raise of Shasta Dam and enlargement of Shasta Reservoir upstream of Redding on the Sacramento River. Westlands has declared itself to be the federal government’s local “cost sharing” partner for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s proposed raise of Shasta Dam and reservoir enlargement. As such, the District is preparing the EIR required by state law and seeking public comments about issues to be addressed in the EIR.

Raising Shasta Dam and enlarging its reservoir violates existing state law and Forest Service management direction protecting the McCloud River. The dam raise will cost at least $1.3 billion while increasing California’s statewide surface water supply by less than 1%. The expanded reservoir will provide negligible environmental benefits, while severely affecting Native American cultural sites and practices, rare plants, threatened wildlife, and more than 2,500 acres of public land in the Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area. Enlarging the reservoir will require the removal of numerous roads and structures and force the relocation of at least 130 property owners. The dam raise will also modify downstream flows and affect ecological processes in the Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge, Sacramento River Bend Outstanding Natural Area (including a segment of the Sacramento River eligible for National Wild and Scenic River protection), Sacramento River State Wildlife Area, and three state parks.

Please use the sample comment letter below and add your personal thoughts.

Thank Senator Harris for introducing public lands legislation in Northwest CA and on the San Gabriel Mountains!

Senator Kamala D. Harris recently introduced two bills, the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act and the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act to restore, enhance, and preserve California’s wilderness and public lands, as well as expand economic and recreational opportunities for the surrounding communities.

Senator Harris has been a public lands champion in her first two years in the Senate. Altogether, the bills introduced or cosponsored by her would protect more than 1.5 million acres of public lands as wilderness, wilderness and national park additions, wild and scenic rivers, scenic areas, and other protective designations in the iconic landscapes of the California Desert, San Gabriel Mountains, Central Coast, and Northwest California. The acreage includes more than 750 miles of proposed wild and scenic rivers. Please thank her today and make sure her leadership in protecting California’s wild places continues for years to come!

Restore the Land and Water Conservation Fund!

Salmon Creek in NWCA. Photo by Mike Shoys.

Since 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an under-reported conservation program, has helped to protect thousands of acres across the United States. Every one of our 50 states have been the beneficiary of funds that protected our National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests, rivers, community and state parks, and hiking trails.

Unfortunately, on September 30th, Congress allowed the Land and Water Conservation Fund authorization to expire. Bills have already passed both relevant committees in the House and the Senate. The bill out of the House has a long, bipartisan list of 240 co-sponsors, while the Senate version is carrying 49 bipartisan co-sponsors. This essential program funding for our lands and waters must be passed before the end of the year for the LWCF to continue. Please click below to take action!

Thank Rep. Huffman for introducing a precedent-setting bill in the northwest

The Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act will, among many other things, create a 730,000-acre Special Restoration Area in the South Fork Trinity river zone, restore public lands harmed by illegal cannabis grows, expand nine existing wilderness areas and create nine new ones, and designate 379 miles of waterways as Wild and Scenic Rivers. In addition, this bill establishes new trails and trail management plans, protecting the recreation economy that has long been a key part of the region economy on the North Coast. Rep Huffman has again demonstrated his commitment to protecting wilderness and restoring public lands.

Using the form below, please thank Rep. Huffman for introducing this bill. These acknowledgements go a very long way in ensuring continued support by demonstrating to our elected officials that active citizens are paying attention to good policies.

Zinke's DOI diversity problem

Secretary Zinke’s recent comments about diversity fail to acknowledge how essential inclusion is when it comes to managing our public lands on behalf of all Americans. CalWild strongly urges the Secretary to make earnest efforts to include and incorporate diverse experiences and viewpoints in the Department of Interior’s workforce. That is most important for groups that have historically been excluded from these conversations, including people of color. These groups will be the stewards of our public lands in the generations to come.

Write Secretary Zinke using the form below to convey the importance of these practices.

For more information, please read this op-ed by Chiqui Cartagena of Conservation Lands Foundation and Jose Gonzalez of Latino Outdoors.

Preserve the fundamentals of the Wilderness Act

For more than 50 years, the Wilderness Act of 1964 has protected wilderness areas designated by Congress from machines of all types. This has meant, as Congress intended, that Wilderness areas have been kept free from cars, trucks, motor boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, bicycles, and all other types of motorized and mechanized transport so as to protect places with “wilderness characteristics”. Mountain bicycling is the type of mechanization the National Wilderness Preservation System was established to exclude, in order to protect the rustic and primitive character of Wilderness areas. With its enactment of the Wilderness Act, Congress recognized that only certain forms of transport—foot, horseback, and paddling —are compatible with an experience based on the solitude, tranquility and naturalness of the wilderness environment.

H.R. 1349 is a dangerous attempt to weaken the Wilderness Act and carve a huge loophole in the National Wilderness Preservation System for bikes and other machines, and who knows what else afterward. The bill is yet another attack on our public lands that undermines one of our nation’s bedrock conservation laws and jeopardizes America’s wilderness.

Thank our legislative stewards for the Central Coast

Rep. Carbajal and Sen. Harris have unveiled a re-introduction of the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, a bill on which we’ve worked for 7 years and whose history dates back even further. After spending most of the year in a defensive crouch from Congress’ myriad attacks to public lands, CalWild is really happy to see some of our junior legislators getting their hands dirty with wilderness bills like this.

Using the form below, please take a moment to thank the authors Rep. Carbajal and Sen. Harris (and cosponsors Reps. Brownley/Panetta and Sen. Feinstein) for shepherding a bill that would protect 244,909 acres of new or expanded wilderness and 159 miles of wild and scenic rivers.

You can learn more about the bill here, and its introduction here.

Feinstein/Harris: Adopt these San Gabriels bills!

San Gabriel Mountains, by Mason Cummings.

San Gabriel Mountains, by Mason Cummings.

Rep. Judy Chu has introduced two bills to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, establish an adjacent San Gabriel River and Foothills National Recreation Area, and protect wilderness and wild and scenic rivers in the mountain range.

Now it’s time for Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein to show their support for the protection of the majestic San Gabriel Mountains by introducing companion legislation in the U.S. Senate. Please send emails today to them both to introduce companion bills to Rep. Chu’s comprehensive legislation to protect the San Gabriel Mountains.

Please send your emails to Senators Harris and Feinstein TODAY. Feel free to expand and add to the sample email provided.

McCarthy needs to lend his voice to protect Giant Sequoia

Representative Kevin McCarthy

The Giant Sequoia National Monument (GSNM) covers 328,315-acre protecting the giant Sequoia groves and their surrounding forests and watersheds from resource development. A previous protection proposal by President George H.W. Bush was less than 1/3rd of the Monument established by President Clinton. The more expansive Clinton proclamation was preceded by extensive public input and local meetings. Although some people opposed its establishment, the Giant Sequoia National Monument enjoyed widespread public support, which continues today.

The Forest Service has all the policy tools it needs to effectively address tree mortality in the Monument. What the agency lacks is adequate funding from Congress. The Forest Service has suffered from severe budget cuts since the Giant Sequoia National Monument was established and most of its current budget is spent fighting wildfires. Budget cuts are a major impediment to effective forest management in the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Lack of funding and political support in Congress is also the primary reason why the Monument lacks a visitor center, which would improve the visitor experience and boost tourism and the economy of local communities.

The well documented economic value of the Giant Sequoia National Monument is completely ignored by President Trump and the Western Caucus. Travel and tourism are important to the communities in the Giant Sequoia region, supporting about 55,100 jobs. Tulare and Fresno counties have experienced strong growth since the monument was established, with increases in population, jobs, and personal income. Overall, outdoor recreation in California generates $92 billion annually in consumer spending, directly contributes to 691,000 jobs, and adds $6.2 billion in state and local tax revenue.

Please make sure McCarthy understands how many benefits the Giant Sequoia is providing to his own constituents.

Thank Rep. Chu for her San Gabriels wilderness bill

Rep. Judy Chu.

Rep. Judy Chu.

On June 23, 2017, Rep. Judy Chu introduced the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Act, a bill that would add 31,069 acres of new wilderness and 45 miles of new wild and scenic rivers to the dramatic and popular San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. Rep. Chu has been acting with decisive and expedient force lately; between this bill and her swift introduction of H.R. 2323 (which would expand the San Gabriels National Monument), she has demonstrated her willingness to stand up for the anti-public lands sentiments coming from President Trump, his cabinet, and Congress. CalWild is proud to have her as one of our many conservation allies working to protect our public lands, monuments, and wilderness areas.

Please take a moment to thank Rep. Chu for this bill using the form below. 

Expand (not revoke!) the protection of the San Gabriel Mountains

Mt. Baldy by Jack Schlinkert

Mt. Baldy by Jack Schlinkert

Rep. Judy Chu has introduced legislation to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, a week after President Donald Trump ordered the review of the Monument and six others in California. Cosponsored by Representatives Grace Napolitano, Adam Schiff, Linda Sanchez, and Tony Cardenas. Chu’s H.R. 2323 proposes to add more than 109,000 acres to Monument, which was established in 2014 by President Barack Obama. The bill also proposes to establish a 51,000-acre San Gabriel National Recreation Area in the publicly-owned foothills adjacent to the Monument and along the lower San Gabriel River and Rio Hondo.

Email Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Kamala Harris urging them to introduce a Senate companion bill to Rep. Chu’s bold legislation to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and establish the downstream National Recreation Area.

Learn more about the bill here.

Show your support for Sen. Feinstein's re-introduced desert bill

Feinstein staff near the Amargosa River

Feinstein staff near the Amargosa River

Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced the California Desert Protection and Recreation Act (S. 32) earlier this year.  The bill would protect many wild and special places in our desert and build upon the Senator’s career-long dedication to the preservation of our desert. The bill is a well-balanced compromise of a wide array of interests.  As such, the bill not only has the support of conservationists, but of off-road vehicle enthusiasts, veterans, local government, utilities, small businesses, tribes, and the military, among other interests.

As one might guess, the current Administration and make-up of Congress lessen the probability that Congress will pass legislation like the Senator’s bill.  However, what makes this bill different is that Representative Paul Cook has introduced a bill that is almost identical to the Senator’s bill (California Off-Road Recreation and Conservation Act (H.R. 857).  That means the bill has bi-partisan support, which is critical in this political climate.

We need to encourage the Senator to continue to push for the bill’s passage. Take a moment to send the Senator a letter of support below.

Learn more about the bill here.

Rep. Knight Needs to keep his promise on the Proposed Castaic Wilderness

In 2015, Representative Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) introduced legislation in Congress to protect the proposed Castaic Wilderness and establish the St. Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial. The nearly 70,000-acre proposed Castaic Wilderness is located on public lands in Los Angeles County north of the Santa Clarita and Los Angeles. The proposed St. Francis Dam National Memorial is a small 440-acre site located just southeast of the proposed wilderness.

Fast forward to 2017: Rep. Knight recently reintroduced his St. Francis Dam National Memorial legislation, without including the proposed Castaic Wilderness.

Send him an email now with the form below to let him know the Castaic deserves the protection he originally proposed!

Learn more about this campaign here.