- Author: Pam Kan-Rice
Reprinted from UCANR news
In August, the Clayton Fire burned nearly 4,000 acres and 198 homes and businesses in Lake County. In 2015, the Valley, Rocky and Jerusalem fires together burned 170,623 acres and destroyed 2,078 structures. But the devastating Lake County wildfires haven't put a damper on fishing at Clear Lake, which reels in roughly $1 million to the community annually, according to a report from UC Cooperative Extension.
“The lake's economic attraction has not been negatively impacted by the fires,” said Greg Giusti, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Lake County and author of the study. “The fish are fine and the anglers keep coming.”
Giusti's report outlines the economic value of fishing on Clear Lake, highlighting the importance of the outdoor pastime to the local economy.
Bass, crappie, catfish and bluegill thrive in Clear Lake's warm water, with its rich plant life and abundant food supply.
“People come from all over the country to fish Clear Lake,” said Giusti, who studies fisheries and freshwater ecology.
Teeming with fish, Clear Lake's reputation attracts serious anglers. Bass Master Magazine (July/August 2016) rated Clear Lake third out of the top 100 bass fishing lakes in the country and first among the nine western states.
More data need to estimate true economic value of fishing
Based on a conservative estimate of the number of anglers and multiplying by $58.16, (the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's estimate of an angler's average daily fishing-related expenditure), Giusti concluded Clear Lake fishing is a $1 million enterprise. He considers the true value of fishing on Clear Lake to be much higher because limited data was available to understand the full economic value.
To estimate the number of anglers, Giusti doubled the number of quagga mussel stickers sold and added the number of people registered for Clear Lake fishing tournaments. Before entering the lake, boats must pass the county's monthly quagga mussel inspection for the invasive species and receive the sticker. Giusti assumed an average of two anglers per boat, for a total of 10,156 spending $590,673 annually. Since 6,498 Lake County residents have fishing licenses, he estimated that they spend at least $377,923.68 on fishing annually.
He thinks local businesses can capitalize on fishing to bring even more revenue into the community by enticing anglers and their families to engage in other activities during their visit.
“Because access to the lake is open and free, we don't know how often anglers return to Clear Lake and for how long they stay,” Giusti said. “While they're here, folks are spending money on food, gas, tackle and maybe lodging. If they bring their families, Dad may be fishing while Mom and the kids might be at the movies.”
California Department of Fish and Wildlife collects about $57 million in fishing license sales each year. Giusti found that more than 150,000 licenses were sold in 2014 to anglers in Lake County and neighboring Mendocino, Sonoma, Colusa and Sacramento counties, which are close enough to make a day trip to Clear Lake.
Opportunities to catch more angler dollars
Although local businesses typically gear up for summer tourists, Giusti sees marketing opportunities around fishing during the spring and fall, as the primary angling months occur before and after summer.
“Right now all the focus is on summer tourism and wine, while the most active visitor months are not recognized,” Giusti said. “Spring months are the most popular boating months. Businesses should be hanging banners downtown, putting posters in the windows welcoming anglers with specials for meals, promotional events highlighting fishing, and even sponsored fishing tournaments.”
Other California communities could also benefit by capitalizing on fishing, in Giusti's opinion.
“Freshwater fishing in California represents a $1.4 billion industry, generating 22,000 jobs and providing more than $920 million in salaries and wages,” said Giusti. “California ranks fifth in the nation based on the value of fishing economics.”
The American Sportfishing Association estimates that more than 33 million people enjoy fishing in America, and spend an average of $1,441 per year on fishing.
To download the full report, “Understanding the economic value of angling on Clear Lake – A profile of a famous lake,” visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/ClearLakeAquaticWebsite.
- Author: Monique Garcia Gunther
Reposted from the UCANR Green Blog
Many forest areas burned by wildfires this year are now facing a new threat – erosion. A UC Agriculture and Natural Resources expert says there are steps landowners can take to reduce the risk of losing soil and polluting waterways when rain falls.
“The loosened soil and ash can move quickly under proper storm conditions,” said Greg Giusti, a UC ANR Cooperative Extension forestry advisor. “Property owners should take immediate action.”
A longstanding practice in the West has been spreading grass seed after a fire, however, the seed is slow to germinate and grow during the cold months that follow fire season.
“Seeding is generally ineffective,” Giusti said. “The seed simply moves and erodes with the soil and ash following an initial rain event.”
After losing a home, homeowners may feel the need to clean up their property. However, leaving woody debris, downed trees and limbs will arrest soil movement. Stumps and standing dead trees also help protect the soil.
“The roots are still in the soil and will help hold it in place,” Giusti said. “As long as they don't pose a danger, trees should be left in place.”
Spreading rice straw or weed-free hay on the ground is another way to protect the soil from erosion. Whole bales of hay can be placed in natural drainages to slow water movement and reduce erosion. Straw wattles – long tubes of compressed straw encased in jute or another material – may be laid out across a slope and secured with stakes.
“I suggest landowners focus on areas of their property where they can have the greatest positive effect,” Giusti said. “You can't cover a whole hillside with straw. People can only do what they can do.”
- Author: Jeannette Warnert
Northern California's Rocky Fire is roaring through shrublands that have no previous recorded history of wildfires, reported Kirk Siegler on All Things Considered. It has already burned 65,000 acres and is 12 percent contained, according to CalFire's Incident Report.
The area has been protected from fire for decades, primed for the type of catastrophic blaze California officials have been predicting.
"We've got miles and miles of contiguous chaparral vegetation and literally there are no breaks in the vegetation," Giusti said. "It's extremely steep and, in many cases, it's a roadless area."
Four years of drought has left the vegetation bone dry.
'When these fires get to an intensity we've seen, because of the fuel loading, because of fire suppression for the last 50 or 60 years, it allows the plant communities to get so dense, so thick and so expansive that, once a fire starts, it's beyond the capabilities of human control," Guisti said.
- Author: Jeannette Warnert
Omnipresent and homely, turkey vultures are a native California wildlife species that doesn't get a lot of research attention.
But UC Cooperative Extension advisor Greg Giusti has found a surprising level of interest from the public in his Northern California research project about turkey vultures' nesting preferences in oak woodland.
“Animals with cute fuzzy faces are far more attractive in our culture,” said Giusti, a wildland ecology expert. “Turkey vultures have been overlooked. Very little is known about their biology and environmental needs.”
In the study area, the researchers counted 417 trees in all; seven of them had suitable nesting elements for turkey vultures. They found that the vultures at the Hopland facility select large hollow trees – either dead or alive, either shaded or in the sun – to lay eggs and rear their young. The tree species in the study included blue oak, interior live oak, Oregon white oak and valley oak.
The nesting trees were widely dispersed and ranged in diameter from 36 inches to 65 inches around at breast height. The nesting cavities are vertical tubes in the tree trunks that drop down as much as 13 feet from the entrance to the ground.
“This is very different from other large birds, like eagles and osprey, who build open cup nests high up in tall trees, which they may use for generations,” Giusti said.
After turkey vulture chicks hatch, the parents drop into the cavity five or six times a day to feed their young, Giusti said. How birds with a five-foot wingspan traverse a deep vertical tunnel is a mystery.
“They just shimmy up and down, I would imagine,” Giusti said. “We don't know how the young birds do it when they fledge. We've never witnessed the adult birds calling them out.”
Giusti said the scientists will continue to build on the turkey vulture nesting database they have started with results from this project. In the coming years, they hope to learn whether turkey vultures will re-use successful nesting sites and whether they may be found nesting in fallen logs or rock piles.
An initiative to maintain and enhance sustainable natural ecosystems is part of the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources Strategic Vision 2025.
- Posted by: Susie Kocher
Here's the weekly forest news digest from Greg Giusti:
Nearly half of western wildfire costs go to California, ALYSON KENWARD/and UROOJ RAJA, Climate Central, 08/29/2013
With one of California's largest-recorded wildfires still burning largely uncontained and threatening water and electricity for millions, the total bill for fighting U.S. wildfires in 2013 is now likely to soar well past $1 billion. By the time the blaze is put out, which could be weeks from now, California's Rim Fire will likely be among the most expensive wildfires of the year. In fact, during the past 10 years, $4 billion has been spent fighting wildfires in California, more than in any other state.....
Fire is largest ever in recorded Sierra history, Manteca Bulletin, August 28, 2013,
GROVELAND (AP) — Unnaturally long intervals between wildfires and years of drought primed the Sierra Nevada for theexplosive conflagration chewing up the rugged landscape on the edge of Yosemite National Park, forestry experts say. The fire had ravaged 288 square miles by Tuesday, the biggest in the Sierra’s recorded history and one of the largest on record in California. Containment increased to 20 percent but the number of destroyed structures rose to 111 and some 4,500 structures remained threatened. .....
Forest Service policy: Squelching Sierra fires left forest ready to burn, Associated Press, The Oregonian, August 28, 2013
GROVELAND, Calif. — Unnaturally long intervals between wildfires and years of drought primed the Sierra Nevada for the explosive conflagration chewing up the rugged landscape on the edge of Yosemite National Park, forestry experts say. The fire had ravaged 288 square miles by Tuesday night, making it the biggest fire in the Sierra's recorded history and one of the largest on record in California. Containment held steady at 20 percent, but the number of destroyed structures rose to 111, and some 4,500 structures remained threatened. At least 31 residences were among those lost......
Commentary: Wildfires Underline Need for Active Forest Management By Elisa Noble, California Farm Bureau Federation, Sierra Sun Times, August 28, 2013
Anyone driving from the Central Valley to the Sierra knows that this year's fire season is in full swing. The American Fire in the Tahoe National Forest area of Placer County is one of at least four wildfires currently burning along the Sierra Nevada range. At more than 20,200 acres and 66 percent contained as of press time, we are gratified that firefighters are getting close to mopping this one up. But other fires, such as the Rim Fire in Tuolumne County.....
Forest Service budget to fight wildfires is depleted, Devon Merling, Deseret News, Aug. 27 2013
For the second year in a row, the Forest Service has exhausted its entire budget for fighting fires, according to the Washington Post. The news comes as wildfires rage across the West, including the Rim fire in California near Yosemite National Park, which has so far burned 160,980 acres and is only 20 percent contained, according to the Forest Service's Active Fire Map. According to the Post, nearly 3 million acres have burned in the United States so far this year. As of last week, the Forest Service had spent $967 million of the firefighting budget, leaving only $50 million in the budget for the rest of the year......
Bill to ban lead bullets may spark higher fire danger, Michelle Orrock, Flash Report, August 28, 2013
(*Reader note: Cosumnes CSD Fire Department provides fire, rescue and emergency medical services to an area covering more than 157 square miles, including the cities of Elk Grove and Galt, and a population of approximately 160,000.)
The California Department of Finance just estimated that the state has already spent $44 million on its firefighting expenses. According to their spokesperson, that amounts to a quarter of what was budgeted, and the fiscal year just began. As a local elected official charged with the fiscal management of a large fire district, these numbers are cause for concern. Whether we are looking at pension obligations and budget constraints or environmental issues like drought – the growing state and local costs to protect communities from fire is serious.....
Judge upholds cap-and-trade auctions in tentative ruling, Debra Kahn, Greenwire, August 28, 2013 (subscription required)
A California judge yesterday denied business groups' bid to overturn the state's system of distributing greenhouse gas permits, in a tentative ruling issued one day before this morning's oral arguments. Judge Timothy Frawley of Sacramento Superior Court said California's 2006 global warming law, A.B. 32, gives the state wide discretion to select the method by which it caps greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2020. The California Chamber of Commerce and other groups had alleged that the state-run auctions amounted to an illegal tax on businesses.....
Is CEQA Reform Coming Up Short? Tom Scott, Executive Director, California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, Fox & Hounds Daily, August 27th, 2013,
Is substantial CEQA reform possible or is it coming up short? The latest version of state Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s SB 731 falls short of what should be the ultimate goal of any CEQA reform: stopping abusive CEQA lawsuits while preserving CEQA’s ability to protect the environment. Last week, SB 731 advanced out of the Assembly Local Government Committee and, by the looks of it, the “elusive middle ground” that Sen. Steinberg seeks was very elusive in this bill.
Big reform of CEQA bogs down, Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee, AUG. 23, 2013
Substantially overhauling the 40-year-old California Environmental Quality Act may still happen, but with just two weeks remaining in the legislative session, it probably won't happen this year. Gov. Jerry Brown wants it to happen. He once criticized CEQA, signed by Ronald Reagan a couple of years before Brown succeeded him as governor, as "a blob," and in calling for reform, said, "I've never seen a CEQA exemption I don't like." However, environmental groups that wield great power in the Legislature are very resistant to change, as are labor unions that have used the environmental law to thwart non-union development, such as big-box retail stores......
Another lawsuit aims to stop Willits bypass work, GLENDA ANDERSON
Santa Rosa Press Democrat, August 27, 2013
Environmentalists have filed another lawsuit aimed at stalling work on the Willits bypass. They will be asking a Mendocino County judge on Wednesday for an injunction to stop soil from being moved from timber company property to wetlands Caltrans is filling as part of the $210 million, 5.9-mile Highway 101 bypass around Willits. The bypass, conceived more than five decades ago, has increasingly sparked opposition as it verges on reality. It generated another lawsuit last year and a multitude of protests since construction began early this year. Proponents say the bypass will alleviate traffic jams.....
Could Fires Influence Tax Decision? Joel Fox, Fox & Hounds Daily, August 26th, 2013
Firefighters are battling the Rim Fire near Yosemite, one of the largest fires in California history — but that’s not all. According to Cal Fire, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection site that monitors fires in the state, as I write this column, 8300 firefighters are battling a dozen California wildfires. The tongues of these fires lick against some policy and legal concerns the state faces. While the fires raise alarms about natural resources, the potential lose of life and property, and in the case of the Rim Fire, the water and power sources for the city of San Francisco, the fires will once again put a focus on the controversial fire tax. You might remember the fire tax was passed as a fee a couple of years ago. It affects
property owners in State Responsibility Areas for fire prevention......
Agency taking back federal funds, BECKY BOHRER, San Jose Mercury News, 08/22/2013
JUNEAU, Alaska—The U.S. Forest Service plans to take a portion of the timber payments it has promised or paid out to 22 states, citing federal budget cuts. Collection letters from Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell went out to governors around the country Monday, saying money would be taken from funds used for habitat improvement and other national forest-related projects that put people to work under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. Oregon stands to lose the most in the move, with nearly $4 million in reductions. That would leave the state with about $3.4 million under that program......
Rim fire: Disaster shows need to invest in Sierra forests and California's water supply, Brian Dahle and Rich Gordon, San Jose Mercury News, 08/26/2013
The two of us have many differences. One is a Republican, the other a Democrat. One represents a rural district, the other predominately suburban communities. There is plenty we do not agree on. But we are in total agreement on the benefits that flow from the Sierra Nevada to all of California, the most obvious of which is water. The Rim wildfire, which continues to encroach on Yosemite National Park and now threatens the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, is just one example of the environment degradation that jeopardizes the Sierra's many resources. Additional investments are necessary to ensure water continues to be delivered throughout California and that the forests remain a state icon.......
Divestment of fossil fuel holdings up for vote by Silicon Valley water district, Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News, Aug 26, 2013
In the 1980s, hundreds of American cities, states and universities sold their investments in South African companies as part of a protest against that country's former apartheid government. Now, environmental groups are trying to duplicate that effort, but with global warming polluters in the role of villain. And, just as with South African divestment a generation ago, the Bay Area is at the head of the parade again, prompting cheers from environmentalists and jeers from skeptics who say the whole effort amounts to little more than empty symbolism.....
Bill to protect mountain lions heads to governor, Aaron Kinney, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Aug 26, 2013
SACRAMENTO -- A proposed law to prevent the needless killing of mountain lions by state wardens cleared the Legislature on Monday and now awaits the approval of Gov. Jerry Brown. The legislation by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, would give California Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens broader authority to pursue nonlethal measures, such as trapping or tranquilizing, when dealing with lions that are spotted in residential areas. It was inspired by the fatal shooting Dec. 1 of two cubs as they huddled under the porch of a home in Half Moon Bay......
Feds change endangered species law rules despite GOP protest, Julian Hattem
The Hill, Aug 26, 2013
The Obama administration is finalizing a change to the way it protects the habitat of endangered and threatened animals. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which administers the Endangered Species Act, is framing the change as an increase
in transparency and cut to red tape, though Republicans have charged that it lets regulators rush through new regulations without proper oversight. Under the new rule, set to take effect Oct. 30, agencies’ determinations about the economic impact of protecting habitat will be released at the same time as the rule is proposed. Currently, the wildlife service publishes its analyses of the protections’ economic cost after the proposal and scientific backing come out......
Critics jump all over federal Sierra Nevada frog-protection proposal. Opponents worry the plan would do more to protect frogs and toads than nonnative trout — a top tourist draw in resort areas, Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times, August 25, 2013
A federal proposal to make the Sierra Nevada as comfortable as possible for some of their rarest amphibian inhabitants has stirred a backlash from business owners over the economic pain it could cause the region's recreation industry. Many opponents worry the proposal would do more to protect frogs and toads than nonnative trout — a top tourist draw in mountain resort communities where cash registers ring up purchases by vacationers, hikers and fishing enthusiasts this time of year......
Loggers Get the OK to Kill Endangered Spotted Owls, Beth Buczynski
Care2, August 23, 2013
Endangered Species Act exists to protect biodiversity. It can only work when species listed as endangered are actually afforded the protections guaranteed to them in the Act. Unfortunately these days, even earning classification as an endangered species doesn’t always mean safety from harm. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service approved a plan that would allow Fruit Growers Supply Co. accelerate logging of occupied spotted owl habitat in California’s old growth forests......