Nonprofit conservation groups have preserved tens of thousands of acres of land in California – wild places where both hikers and animals roam. Now, some of them say the economic slump could force them to scale back.
Others say lean budgets make it harder for them to scrutinize land use proposals for environmental effects – a key role such groups play in the state’s push-pull development process.
Most groups don’t like to talk about their financial difficulties, but one, the American River Conservancy, recently took the unusual step of going public. In an email to members and supporters, the group confessed that “times are hard” and it needs to raise $250,000 by year-end or it will be forced to cut programs in 2012.
The Effie Yeaw Nature Center was in rough shape last summer when Sacramento County relinquished control of it because of budget problems.
The nature center was left on its own to find funding, but a non-profit group, the American River Natural History Association, stepped up to the plate.
Through a grassroots fundraising effort, the association was able to raise the money needed to help rescue the center and rehire about 60 percent of the staff that was laid off last year. Part of that effort included designing and selling guide books for the American River Parkway.
The building could be built on the American River next to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery.The federal and state government is studying three different locations for a new flood operation center that would house three state and federal agencies, the Department of Water Resources, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the National Weather Service.
The proposed site is the Nimbus Fish Hatchery and two alternative sites are Mather Airport and near the intersection of Sunrise and Killgore in Rancho Cordova.
The size of the proposed center is 200,000 square feet.
Hundreds of concerned residents are angry the government would even consider building such a large structure so close to the river and the bike trail.
Are you the type of person who fishes shad out of the Sacramento River and who treks along the American River to forage for blackberries, fennel, miner’s lettuce and all sorts of other goodies? Do you go down to Napa to shoot wild turkeys grown fat on thieved grapes from the vineyards or crawl into Dixon to blow away a few quail for dinner?
Local food writer Hank Shaw is best known for his food blog Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (http://honest-food.net), where he chronicles his gourmet approach to wild food. Shaw has recently come out with a new book. Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast (Rodale, $25.99) is the must read for the hunter/fisher/forager and all-around foodie.
Arson investigators said the grass fires along the American River Saturday morning were set intentionally.
“Having somebody coming through here and start these fires is really concerning that this was an intentional act to have a huge fire run through the American River Parkway,” Sacramento Metro Fire Assist. Chief Scott Cockrum said.
Sacramento Metro Fire crews fought seven to nine grass fires along the American River around 6 a.m. Saturday, Cockrum said.
The grass fires were spotted from River Bend Park to Hagan Park and burned 19 acres of land.
The final environmental impact report on the Nimbus Hatchery Fish Passage Project has been released by the federal Bureau of Reclamation and California Department of Fish and Game for public review.
The agencies propose to extend the fish ladder from the hatchery to the Nimbus Dam stilling basin, using the basin itself to hold and divert fish to the ladder.
Under this proposal, the existing weir would be permanently removed and the Department of Fish and Game would recommend changes in local fishing regulations to the California Fish and Game Commission, according to a news release.
The Nimbus Fish Hatchery is along the lower American River, a quarter-mile downstream from Nimbus Dam.
Flows in the American River below Nimbus Dam will be decreased Tuesday and Wednesday for maintenance and installation of a fish weir structure at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Rancho Cordova.
The federal Bureau of Reclamation announced that flows will be temporarily decreased from 3,500 cubic feet per second to as low as 1,000 cfs to perform maintenance and prepare the hatchery weir foundation for installation of the weir’s super structure.
Working hours will be from approximately 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The bureau will increase flows at 4 p.m. Tuesday to 2,500 cfs and at 4 p.m. Wednesday, to 3,500 cfs. If necessary, maintenance flows could extend into Thursday, according to a bureau news release.