Brown Appoints Chuck Bonham as New DFG Director
By Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown has appointed Charlton “Chuck” Bonham, 43, of Albany, as director of the California Department of Fish and Game
Bonham has served in multiple positions at Trout Unlimited, a national trout advocacy organization, since 2000, including California director and senior attorney, according to a August 26 news release from Governor Jerry Brown's Office.
He was an instructor and trip leader for the Nantahala Outdoor Center from 1994 to 1997 and was a small business development agent for the United States Peace Corp in Senegal, West Africa from 1991 to 1993.
Bonham was not available for comment at press time, but representatives of recreational and commercial fishing groups praised his appointment by Brown.
"I think he's a good choice," said Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA). "I hope that he's able to resolve the funding issues that plague the Department of Fish and Game. How can you run a department when there is no money for research and enforcement?
Grader has worked with Bonham on Klamath River dam removal and hydroelectric relicensing. “We both appeared before Public Utility Commission to testify regarding permits needed for dam removal,” said Grader.
He said he believes that Bonham is somebody that both recreational and commercial fishermen “can work with.”
“I have known and worked with Chuck for a number of years,” said Dick Pool, administrator of http://www.water4fish.org and Secretary/Treasurer of the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA). “I have great respect for his capabilities and dedication to fishery issues. We look forward to working with him."
Troy Fletcher, acting Executive Director of the Yurok Tribe, also was pleased with Bonham's appointment.
"I've worked closely with Chuck for years," said Fletcher. "He's been very instrumental in working on Klamath River dam removal and other agreements. I've enjoyed working with Chuck as a person and a professional. I think he'll make a good fit and the Yurok Tribe looks forward to working with him in his new role."
Bonham has a number of controversial issues to deal with in his new position, lead by the deaths of millions of Sacramento splittail and hundreds of thousands of other fish species at the Delta pumps this year because of record water exports out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
Other controversial issues Bonham will have to address include the privately-funded Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, the campaign by the state and federal governments to build a peripheral canal, and the massive dewatering of the Scott and Shasta rivers every year by irrigators.
This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $150,112. Bonham is a Democrat.
Dan Bacher is an editor of The Fish Sniffer, described as "The #1 Newspaper in the World Dedicated Entirely to Fishermen."