Bacher, Dan

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

California Representatives Call on Interior to Rescind Bay-Delta Agreement

By Dan Bacher

Five Northern California Representatives demanded answers today on the current state of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) process - and called on the Interior Department to rescind a “flawed” Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that they say "was developed behind closed doors."

The Members of Congress accused the memorandum of giving water export agencies south of the Delta and in Southern California "unprecedented influence" over an important public process concerning California’s fresh water supplies.

Deadly Salmon Disease Found On West Coast

By Dan Bacher

For the first time ever, scientists have uncovered the presence of infectious salmon anemia, a deadly virus that has devastated farmed fish in Chile, in wild salmon populations on the West Coast.

This news arrived at a time when the Obama administration is fast-tracking the approval of genetically engineered Atlantic salmon, promoting environmental destructive corporate aquaculture facilities and pushing the privatization of public trust resources through the controversial "catch shares" program.

Scientists from Simon Fraser University reported at a news conference in Vancouver on October 17 that the virus had been found in 2 of 48 juvenile fish collected as part of a study of sockeye salmon in Rivers Inlet, British Columbia.

California Waters Showing Toxicity Increase 170%

By Dan Bacher

California has a “green” reputation throughout the country, but this reputation is largely undeserved when one considers the fact that the number of California rivers, lakes and coastal waters showing toxicity has increased dramatically since 2006, as exposed in a list of polluted waterways released today.

The alarming list, submitted by the state of California to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and finalized by the agency on October 11, reveals that more of California’s waterways are impaired than previously known. Increased water monitoring data shows the number of rivers, streams and lakes in California exhibiting overall toxicity have increased 170 percent from 2006 to 2010, according to Nahal Mogharabi, spokesman for the California EPA, in a news release.

Federal Funding of Frankenfish Exposed

By Dan Bacher

Food and Water Watch, a national consumer advocacy group, on October 3 revealed that a corporation that has launched a for-profit venture to raise genetically engineered (GE) salmon has received $1.95 million in federal research grants at taxpayer expense.

The revelation followed on the heels of an article in Grist that exposed how AquaBounty Technology recently received $494,000 to study technologies that would render the genetically engineered salmon sterile. "This would reduce the likelihood they could reproduce with wild salmon, should any escape into the wild -- a scenario that has many environmentalists concerned," according to the piece by Clare Leschin-Hoar on September 29.

Delta Gates Will Close For 10 Days to Help Mokelumne Salmon

By Dan Bacher

The Golden Gate Salmon Association, Water for Fish and conservation groups won a big victory for the future of Central Valley chinook salmon populations with Thursday's announcement of a 10-day closure of the Delta cross channel gates that connect the Sacramento and Mokelumne rivers.

The Bureau will close the Cross Channel Gates on October 4, 2011 at approximately 10:00 am and will reopen the gates on October 14, 2011 at approximately 10:00 am for the Mokelumne River "salmon fish attraction experiment," according to Thuy Washburn, Chief Operations Manager at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

"During this closure, the salmon will be able to find their way to the main stem Mokelumne River," said Dick Pool, Secretary Treasurer of the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA) and Administrator of Water for Fish. "The river and hatchery will almost assuredly reach capacity."

Governor Brown Establishes Tribal Advisor Position

By Dan Bacher 

Sacramento - Governor Jerry Brown on September 19 issued an Executive Order establishing the position of Governor’s Tribal Advisor in the Office of the Governor in order "to strengthen communication and collaboration between California state government and Native American Tribes."

Brown has not yet appointed anyone to the new, unpaid position.

"This position will serve as a direct link between the Governor’s Office and tribal governments on matters including legislation, policy and regulation," according to a news release from the Governor's Office. "Governor Brown signed the Executive Order today while attending the TASIN All California Tribes Meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Sacramento, CA."

Over 11 Million Fish 'Salvaged' in Delta Death Pumps Since January 1

By Dan Bacher

In one of the biggest fish kills in California history, the state and federal government agencies "salvaged" a total of 11,158,025 fish in the Delta water pumping facilities between January 1 and September 7, 2011.

The Central Valley Project and State Water Project pumps in the south end of the California Delta export water to corporate agribusiness on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley and southern California water agencies.

A horrific 8,985,009 Sacramento splittail, the largest number ever recorded, were salvaged during this period, according to Department of Fish and Game data. The splittail is a native minnow found only in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River system.

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.

State And Feds Announce "Aggressive Schedule" For Peripheral Canal Plan

By Dan Bacher

State and federal officials announced in a joint statement on Thursday, August 11 that they have reached "two significant milestones toward assuring a sustainable water supply for California and a healthy Delta ecosystem."

Translation? The Brown and Obama administrations are aggressively forging ahead with one of the most widely-criticized environmental policies of the Arnold Schwarzenegger administration - the plan to build a peripheral canal to export more water to corporate agribusiness and southern California water agencies.

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the California Natural Resources Agency have agreed to a schedule for completing an effects analysis and a combined environmental impact statement/environmental impact report (EIR/EIS) as part of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) by June 2012. They also agreed to considering a "suite of alternatives," including a controversial peripheral canal or tunnel, for evaluation in identifying a proposed project.

Cigar-Loving Arnold's Environmental Legacy: A 'Smoking' Ruin!

By Dan Bacher

An Associated Press report on Tuesday, August 9 revealed that Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Governor from November 2003 through 2010, could face legal action for recently smoking a cigar at Salzburg Airport in Austria.

"Was it lit or was it cold?" the article asked. "The status of a cigar in Arnold Schwarzenegger's mouth at an Austrian airport could decide whether or not he faces legal action."

"Smoking at airports is banned in Austria and an anti-smoking lobby said Tuesday it plans to launch a suit against the former California governor for puffing on a stogie after arriving in June at Salzburg Airport," AP continued.

It is doubtful whether anything will come of this latest episode of the long, sordid saga of the "Governator," arguably the worst Governor in California history for fish, fishing communities and the environment.