We were overjoyed to hear the Nature Conservancy bought the Big Spring Ranch property in the Shasta Valley, knowing that finally – finally – we’d see some improvements in one of the biggest pieces of the Shasta River’s salmon puzzle (See “Woot! Woot! Nature Conservancy Buys Big Springs Ranch…”)
Now, it appears the project has landed some economic stimulus money. (Ummm, you guys need a fulltime blogger on the project – one capable of checking fish populations via fly rod methods?)
The Nature Conservancy is honored that our Shasta River/Big Springs Creek Restoration project for coho recovery in the Klamath received economic stimulus fundingÂ from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today as part ofÂ the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which will help restore critical salmon habitat.
The Conservancy’s efforts to restore the cold water fishery habitat on its Shasta Big Springs and Nelson Ranches, coupled with the California Department of Fish and Game’s efforts to remove fish passage barriers and to improve water use efficiencies by Shasta Valley ranchers, offers tremendous potential for re-establishing bountiful salmon populations in the Klamath River, and ultimately could help revive California’s once robust wild salmon fishery and wild, locally-caught salmon markets.
The Shasta Big Springs Ranch project will contribute to the recovery of the $60-100 million per year fishing industry in Northern California, but it will also help stimulate Siskiyou County’s struggling ranching and farming community.Â According to the Siskiyou County 2005 Crop and Livestock Report, the industry contributes more than 3,000 jobs and $150 million to the regional economy, or about 10% of total sales by industry.Â The restoration of the Shasta Big Springs Ranch is also important because the site could become one of the last and best strongholds for Coho and other salmon species in California that are on the brink of collapse.Â By ensuring the protection of salmon in the Shasta River, the project site could serve as a natural nursery for re-establishing populations of Coho and other salmon species in the upper Klamath River.Â This could be a significant lifeline for California’s salmon industry which has faced closures.
Seven other Nature Conservancy projects were selected by NOAA to lead eight coastal restoration projects in coastal U.S. states.
To view the NOAA announcement and interactive map – http://www.noaa.gov/recovery/
Now all we need is some rain and some salmon – and an important part of the one of the Klamath’s (formerly) richest spawning tributaries could start pulling its own weight.
Of course, the Nature Conservancy’s also looking to replace the $14.2 million or so they paid for the place, so send any winning lottery tickets to them.
See you rolling in stimulus money, Tom Chandler.