Dan Bacher of The Fish Sniffer wrote an editorial last week: “Fish Groups Say No To SMUD’s Hard Line On Relicensing Upper American.” In it he detailed the varied concerns from stakeholders including whitewater boaters, conservationists and fisherman. He described the September SMUD Board meeting and notes:
“In some California watersheds, anglers, white water boaters and regulatory agencies have clashed over the timing and extent of pulsed dam releases for whitewater boating….
“In the UARP relicensing, these interests worked together to fashion boating flows that stay largely within the size and shape of the natural hydrograph and minimize impacts to fish, amphibians and aquatic insects. SMUD staff has not recognized the depth and extent of this accord….
“Just about every stakeholder is on the same page except for SMUD. On November 1, 2005, seven resource agencies, and several NGOs and individuals jointly issued a this Comprehensive Resource Agency/NGO Alternative for the UARP relicensing and the connected relicensing of the Chili Bar Project just downstream.”
In a follow-up email, Bacher described SMUD’s heavy-handed reaction to stakeholders attending the October 6th SMUD Board meeting. “The parking lot entrance and exit was blockaded by a SMUD security truck and a group of security officers were nervously watching the two dozen kayakers, river rafters, anglers, conservationists and Coloma-Lotus area business owners that were milling in the parking lot.”
During the meeting, he says, twenty individuals spoke in favor of the Agency/NGO alternative, including “Mark Davis, Mother Lode Chapter, Sierra Club; V. John White, Director At-Large, Environmental Council of Sacramento; Chris Shutes, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance; Howard Penn, Owner, the Sierra Nevada House,” and several members of the Coloma-Lotus Chamber of Commerce.
According to Bacher, SMUD is stating a commitment to a negotiated agreement. Expect a meeting, probably October 19th, between SMUD and the Agencies/NGOs. SMUD Board member Genevieve Shiroma asked the river advocates present to help her in bringing the parties together for a planning meeting (not negotiating) meeting before October 19 — and they agreed to help to bring the parties together.