I haven’t even washed off all the travel dirt — or written my first fully cogent post-return article — yet I’m already flooded with emails detailing environmental/legal emergencies.

Unfortunately, this one needs your attention this morning. So buck up Undergrounders — it will only take a minute (I just did both in one minute — email addresses and sample text included below).

Stop California From Misusing Your Fishing License Dollars

This from Alert Underground Reader Kevin:

Tomorrow, the State Senate’s Budget Subcommittee 2 will move to take at least $1.5 million (maybe as much as $4 million) in fishing license revenues away from fishery programs and use it for Timber Harvest Plan review. This will be the second year that the Senate has tried to do this.

I know that some of you will think that improved timber practices will improve fishing. I don’t disagree, but that’s not the point. THP review should be funded by timber companies, not anglers. If more money is needed for logging oversight, it’s the timber companies that should pay for it.

State fishery programs are already underfunded – the Heritage and Wild Trout Program, for example, doesn’t even have the number of staff that are required by law, we have far fewer wardens than we need and our hatcheries are in pretty dire shape. You name the fishery program – striper research, Lahontan restoration, steelhead habitat improvement – and it will be negatively impacted by the loss of this funding.

Please contact the Subcommittee members and let them know that anglers’ license money is paid to support our fisheries, not subsidize logging companies.

Unfortunately, the hearing is at 2:30 PM today (Wednesday). At this late date, calling their offices is best, but emails are appreciated too.

Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), the chair, supported it before and will likely argue in favor of it. His office line is (916) 651-4011; click here for email.

Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), supported it last year but is more likely to be swayed than Simitian. His office line is (916) 651-4027; click here for email.

It won’t hurt to contact the Dept. of Fish and Game, as they’ll be testifying at this hearing. Last year, DFG didn’t fight this move. You can call the Director’s office at (916) 653-4633.

Sample Email

Dear XXX:

I’m writing in opposition to the Senate’s Budget Subcommittee’s attempt to take at least $1.5 million in fishing license revenues away from fishery programs and use it for Timber Harvest Plan review.

While I’m all for improved timber harvest practices and better Timber Harvest Plan reviews, it’s common sense they should be paid for by timber companies, not funded by fishing license revenues.

State fishery programs are already underfunded, and this makes that worse.

For example, The Heritage and Wild Trout Program does not support the number of staff that are required by law. We also have far fewer wardens than we need and our hatcheries are in pretty dire shape. Every fishery program will be negatively impacted by the loss of this funding.

Make timber companies pay for their own impacts; leave our fishery money alone.

Respectfully,
XXXX

A Little Good News

There’s also a little good news too; a bill that makes it easier to improve habitat for Coho salmon (it eases restrictions on improvement projects for landowners and others) cleared committee yesterday without comment. A big hurdle cleared.

See, it’s not all slogging…

See you catching up, Tom Chandler.