Bacher, Dan

Dan Bacher is an editor of The Fish Sniffer, described as "The #1 Newspaper in the World Dedicated Entirely to Fishermen."

Salmon Water Now Exposes Big Ag's Manipulation of Delta Water Policy

By Dan Bacher

Salmon Water Now, a collaboration between fishermen and media professionals, has released a superb new video, “The Water Pirates,” describing how agribusiness maintains a dangerous stranglehold on water management policy in California, according to Larry Collins, commercial salmon fisherman.

Anybody who is interested in seeing how Democratic and Republican Party politicians have both manipulated California water politics to benefit big agriculture's corporate welfare recipients should watch this video, produced by Bruce Tokars, and urge their friends and co-workers to do so also.

You can watch the Video at: YouTube or Vimeo

Fishermen, Environmentalists Say Delta Science Team Hijacked by Big Water Interests

By Dan Bacher

A scientific panel charged with reviewing federal plans to rebuild imperiled Central Valley salmon and Delta smelt populations has been "hijacked" by advocates of increased water pumping from the California Delta, fishing and environmental groups charge.

Fishermen and environmental justice activists are alarmed that no coastal or Delta Representatives, commercial fishermen, recreational anglers, Indian Tribal leaders, Delta farmers and others who are directly impacted by the collapse of Central Valley salmon and other fish populations are being asked to testify before the panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Schwarzenegger Names Snow Resources Secretary, McCamman DFG Director

By Dan Bacher

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Lester Snow as Natural Resources Secretary on January 5 to replace Secretary Mike Chrisman, who announced his retirement from state service effective February 1, 2010 to work in a new position at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The Governor also announced the appointment of John McCamman as the permanent director of the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and Mark Cowin as director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

Snow has distinguished himself by presiding over the unprecedented collapse of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other species as Director of the Department of Water Resources. During his tenure, corporate agribusiness and southern California water agencies exported the record water exports out of the California Delta that precipitated the collapse.

Is Schwarzenegger's Big Drought Over?

By Dan Bacher

For the past two years, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, has constantly promoted the agribusiness claim that California is in a "catastrophic drought." In reality, 2007, 2008 and 2009 were below-normal water years, but nothing like the drought years of 1975-77 or 1989-92. 

"California's 'drought' is overblown. The alarmists calling it a historic disaster are trying to pull a fast one," columnist MIchael Fitzgerald wrote in an article in the Stockton Record ( 

Salmon Returns Down At Coleman, Up at Other Central Valley Hatcheries

By Dan Bacher

In the coming weeks, biologists will be compiling the statistics on the 2009 fall-run Chinook salmon returns on Central Valley rivers as the state and federal fishery agencies prepare to develop the fishing regulations for the 2010 salmon season.

Based on preliminary estimates, Sacramento River Chinook salmon counts for the fall of 2009 are down and could be headed to another all time low, according to Dick Pool, administrator of Water for Fish.

The numbers of fish that returned to Coleman National Fish Hatchery, the Central Valley’s largest salmon producer, were down considerably from even last year's dismal run, while salmon numbers were up from 2008 at the Nimbus, Feather River and Mokelumne River fish hatcheries. The complete numbers of salmon that spawned naturally in the rivers, based on carcass surveys, are not available yet.

Governor Can Help North Coast by Suspending Marine Life Protection Act Process

by Dan Bacher

On January 10, Melissa Miller-Henson from the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative sent a message to the "north coast community" regarding the magnitude 6.5 earthquake that struck the Eureka area Saturday. The quake damaged homes and businesses, toppled chimneys, knocked out traffic signals, snapped power lines and left a trail of broken windows, dishes and bottles.

"The MLPA Initiative staff would like to extend our deepest and most heartfelt wishes to those living in the Eureka area," the MLPA I-Team stated. "It has been a relief to hear from news reports that there were no fatalities and, overall, the region fared relatively well given the magnitude of the earthquake. May you and yours be safe and out of harms way."

USDA Data Dispels Myth that West Side Growers 'Feed the Nation'

By Dan Bacher

The corporate media and even some "alternative" media outlets have bought into this myth in their coverage of the California water wars, portraying the conflict as one between hard-working farmers like those portrayed in the classic Grant Wood painting who only want "feed America" versus "radical environmentalists" who want to protect a "minnow" like the Delta smelt.

The comments of Sean Hannity, in "The Valley Hope Forgot: California Farmers at Obama's Mercy" show on Fox TV News on September 18, are typical of those that perpetuate the myth that west side San Joaquin Valley farmers "feed America."

"You are the farmers that have sustained the entire country for decades," said Hannity, surrounded by hundreds of west side growers, bused-in farmworkers and Central Valley Tea Party activists. "We have generations of farmers here. And they are losing their farms. We have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of acres. We literally have — I met people earlier that now are on food lines because their farms have been shut down."

NASA Report Highlights Need to Retire Drainage Impaired Land

by Dan Bacher

Alarming new space observations revealing increased rates of groundwater depletion in California highlight the urgent need to retire drainage impaired, selenium-filled farmland on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The findings, based on data from the NASA/German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace), demonstrate that the aquifers for California's Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada have lost nearly enough water combined to fill the Colorado River's Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir, since October 2003. The observations "reflect California's extended drought and increased rates of groundwater being pumped for human uses, such as irrigation," according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Schwarzenegger's MLPA: Marine Life Guardians or Corporate Privateers?

By Dan Bacher

Tom Stienstra, outdoor columnist for the S.F. Chronicle, recently pointed out the absurdity of many of the people that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently appointed to the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) for the North Coast by listing the appointees and their "qualifications." 

"Sometimes people take issue with political appointments to committees charged with overseeing the state's conservation management," said Stienstra in his column on November 29. "The Department of Fish and Game provided this list of committee members who will implement the Marine Life Protection Act for the Northern California coast. 

Boat That Killed Whale Didn't Have Valid Permit, Surveyor Contends

By Dan Bacher

A research vessel contracted by NOAA for a mission to map the sea floor for the California Ocean Protection Council didn't have a valid permit when it struck and killed a 70-foot blue whale off the Mendocino County coast near Fort Bragg on October 19, a prominent sea surveyor contends.

The death of the whale drew an angry response from North Coast environmentalists, fishermen and seaweed harvesters, since one of the main reasons the boat was mapping the ocean floor was to gather the data used to develop so-called state "marine protected areas" (MPAs) under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s widely-criticized Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process, as well as for federal MPAs.

Steve Sullivan, Vice-President of Sea Surveyor, Inc., said the Pacific Star, an out-of-state vessel from Alaska, was surveying without the required permit to conduct geophysical surveys in California waters at the time that it struck the the rare blue whale.