CalTrout On New Bill That Would Help Protect Native Fish Species
The following courtesy of CalTrout:
Healthy Rivers, Fisheries Groups Applaud Introduction of Bill to Improve Coastal Watershed Climate Resilience
AB 1272 would improve drought planning, response and climate resiliency in North and Central Coast Watersheds
Sacramento – The California Salmon and Steelhead Coalition, a partnership comprised of California Trout, The Nature Conservancy, and Trout Unlimited, welcomes the introduction of AB 1272, which will lay the groundwork for creating a more climate-resilient future for native fish and water supplies in coastal California.
The bill, introduced by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), would direct the State Water Resources Control Board and California Department of Fish and Wildlife to work together to develop principles and guidelines for the diversion and use of water in coastal watersheds during times of water shortage, for the purpose of enhancing drought preparedness and climate resiliency. Developing dry-year water management plans at the watershed level will enable water users and stakeholders to create drought response measures that are tailored to local conditions and inform future investments in watershed health and water supply reliability.
“Having consistent and predictable drought response helps both fish and people,” said Redgie Collins, Legal and Policy Director for California Trout. “Our salmon and steelhead are in decline and common- sense actions, such as AB 1272, will ensure that they have a future here in California.”
“Drought is not an episodic event and has not been for decades,” said Wood. “The periods of drought are longer, more frequent, more severe and seriously threaten the health of rivers and streams, the wildlife that inhabit them and the ability to provide our communities, including the North Coast in my district, with safe and affordable drinking water.”
Matt Clifford, California Director of Law and Policy for Trout Unlimited stated “The North and Central Coast have suffered widespread impacts during the recent spate of severe dry years, with rural communities literally running out of water and salmon streams going dry. Yet in contrast to other parts of the state, there is currently no region-wide process in place to address these impacts – even though we know solutions exist. What we need are workable plans to preserve streamflows for drinking water and fish habitat under drought conditions, based on solid science and input from water users and local communities.”
“California is experiencing water whiplash—more frequent and longer droughts, punctuated by more intense storms—a byproduct of our changing climate. Assembly Bill 1272 is critical to proactively address this new reality that we are facing” said Jay Ziegler, Director of Policy and External Affairs for The Nature Conservancy. “By enacting Assembly Bill 1272, we can better protect important coastal rivers and provide more sustainable water supplies for both people and nature.”
The Salmon & Steelhead Coalition is a strategic partnership between The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, and California Trout that works to restore salmon and steelhead rivers on California’s North and Central Coasts. We coordinate on science, on-the-ground projects, and local and state policy that advance our mission to support both the water supply needs of people and the recovery of coho salmon and steelhead.