A Guide to GSF and TU-San Diego Conservation Efforts
The addition of the Trout Unlimited Chapter to Golden State Flycasters in 2004 sparked our involvement in conservation initatives around the county. Our two groups are stronger together in conservation. Whether you’re in to water quality testing in North County, building wildlife fences in the Sierras, tagging white seabass destined for release into the ocean, doing genetic sampling on Golden Trout populations in the wilderness, or teaching kids how to fly fish, we need your help! The projects are diverse, but share the element of conservation; whether it’s improving local watershed dynamics or education.
Steelhead Recovery Efforts in San Diego County
The Trout Unlimited (TU) San Diego Chapter 920 has received a grant of $20,000 from California Department of Fish and Game to perform water quality monitoring and steelhead habitat assessment in the San Luis Rey River in Northern San Diego County. GSF and TU volunteers in collaboration with San Diego Coastkeeper monitor water chemistry at nine sites every other month, including water temp, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, phosphate, nitrate, total dissolved solids and bacterial populations. We will do macroinvertebrate collection at four locations in the San Luis Rey River starting in November 2008 to learn about long-term water quality health and what food sources are available for fish. Our studies link with ongoing water quality improvement programs in the San Luis Rey and extend recent field surveys by DFG that tracked seasonal water flow, identified physical barriers to fish passage and characterized candidate spawning areas. Thanks to our funding partners, and the many volunteers who have donated their time to these studies!
Water Quality Monitoring
GSF and TU-San Diego volunteers are working with The Escondido Creek Conservancy and San
Diego Coastkeeper to do water quality monitoring in Escondido Creek. This data contributes to a baseline record of water and habitat characteristics. Monitoring includes chemical analysis such as water temp, pH, dissolved oxygen, phosphate and nitrogen concentrations plus physical habitat assessment (what the river bottom and banks look like) with macro-invertebrate sampling in collaboration with San Diego Stream Team. Water chemistry is basically a snapshot of water quality, while the macro populations reflect long term health of the stream. We need more volunteers to do sampling! It's simple to get trained, and a fun day wading the creek and collecting data with friends.
Golden Trout Project
Our members have participated in summer weekend work parties with the Golden Trout Project in the southern Sierras. TU and CalTrout are assisting Cal Dept Fish and Game and the Forest Service in protecting and restoring the California Golden Trout. It’s a great way to head up to the hills, work, and do some fishing. All of the activities involve outdoor activity, and some involve rigorous backpacking and/or hiking in the high country.
Here is an example of a past Conservation Report - Current newsletters have the most recent news
We were fortunate to have 11 GSF/TU Members volunteering their valuable time to collect water samples and record data. The volunteers included Jerry Wilson, Jay Hood, Bruce Jenkinson, Frank Grant and his son Brandon Grant, Dale Dalrymple, Malcolm McCollum and the 4 Team Leaders: Skip Price, Jack Marshall, Sandi Jacobson and Frank Kawasaki. All nine sites on the San Luis Rey River and tributaries Pauma Creek and Gomez Creek were visited and samples collected. We enjoyed an informal tailgate lunch of sandwiches, potato salad, chips and Sandi's favorite "BrownieBites".
Jack Marshall tutored an informal seminar on the art of fly casting, despite the welcome or unwelcome breeze, at the Park N Ride lot. We had plenty of time to socialize and discuss the experiences of the morning. Three of the Volunteers were first timers, but they picked up the routine readily. "Thank you Volunteers".
I attended the California DFG sponsored Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Hearing in Carlsbad. The Hearing was to obtain input on creating fishery sanctuaries or protection zones for consideration by the DFG Commission at a future date. The DFG was in the process of developing an approximate 11 square mile zone from Torrey Pines State Beach northward prohibiting surf fishing and off shore fishing along the Del Mar coastline. I watched one room of attendees move the southerly boundary of the no fish-ing zone northward until it started at an area close to Swami's Beach. I don't know what occurred in the other two rooms. I learned very quickly that in order to participate in these hearings effectively, you had to be there as an advocate very early in the beginning of the series. It was certainly an eye and ear opening experience for me to watch and hear the proceedings. I have to admit that many of the acronyms utilized during the course of the Hearing went over my head. It also became difficult to know whether I should represent the Golden State Flycasters as an advocate to develop some "no fishing" zones to protect the ecosystem food chain as a Conservationist, or speak as an advocate for recreational sport fishers. I even went through the process of contacting our Trout Unlimited National Office in Arlington, Virginia to verify if they had a National Policy that I could refer to in case I wanted to speak up on specific issues. TU National had no nat policy in regards to fish sanctuaries, but they did say that they are considering a need to develop one for the Northwest coast for the salmonids population that includes steelhead trout.
Lastly, I hope you saw the article on the front page of the San Diego Union related to the water needed for the steelhead in the San Luis Rey River at a time when we are experiencing drought conditions. Steelhead have been listed as an "Endangered Species" in Southern California and it may have a priority in the decision making process by the Federal Government. Some or all of us may be affected by this controversy and we all need to be kept informed.