California River Watch 2012 Annual Statement
Dear California River Watchers,
Northern California River Watch is now ‘California River Watch’ and will be continuing its work to protect, enhance, and help restore the surface waters and groundwater throughout California including all rivers, creeks, streams, wetlands and vernal pools.
California River Watch is more than a citizen enforcement organization. We have cofounded and financed other environmental groups, generated funds to pay for worthy projects in the communities where pollution occurs, and provided funds for aquatic habitat restoration including reforestation and watershed protection.
In approaching our seventeenth year we wish to thank our wonderful environmental community for its support. These are challenging times for environmental protection. At the federal level, the profit driven administration and legislature supported by a conservative court continues to erode environmental protections, and in doing so, sacrificing some of our wildest and most special places for the short-term profits of a few. Here, closer to home, we are losing our native salmonids, forests, and clean water.
Environmental concerns due to grape agribusiness will be a significant focus for California River Watch this year. In addition to the loss of forests and habitat due to conversations, many vineyard owners or managers are using vast amounts of water for frost protection. It is illegal to de-water a creek or stream to the extent it endangers or kills fish. The National Marine Fisheries Service has identified major threats to salmonids as including water impoundments, withdrawals, conveyance systems, and diversions of water for vineyards, all of which have led to significant habitat modification and direct mortality of salmonids. The State Water Resources Control Board has also identified temperature protection activities, especially frost protection, as harming salmonids. Rapid draw downs of water resources near salmonid habitat have caused a “take” of listed species and a violation of the Endangered Species Act. Despite knowledge and warnings, many vineyard owners and managers de-water the habitat to a such a low level as to create an unsustainable environment for salmonids. California River Watch remains concerned certain vineyard owners or managers will place profit above compliance with the law, and continue to use large amounts of water during critical habitat times.
Those scientists who follow the rule of reason and respect the principle of best evidence, inform us we are creating an imbalance in the relationship between civilization and the Earth. Pollution and habitat destruction are two of our greatest environmental issues. Dedicated to protecting wildlife and habitat (including human), California River Watch has specialized programs which focus on pollution impacts to wildlife and their habitat, helping to create a healthier world for all living things.
California River Watch’s aggressive program to pursue compliance with environmental laws is having a substantial effect in California. The ripples of our actions have reached all the way to Washington, D.C. and news of our efforts has reached to London. At home much of our actions go unnoticed by the press. Litigation is controversial but productive. It is our policy to avoid litigation whenever possible, but without the will to follow through with appropriate action, no polluter would take us seriously.
California River Watch works through the diligence of its members and others concerned about public health and protection of the environment. However, to continue to do this work we need your support. California River Watch is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, public benefit organization. Your tax-deductible contribution will help fund investigations and healthy water projects defining the best practices for avoiding and mitigating pollution, as well as helping with other costs associated with California River Watch’s environmental citizen enforcement actions. Members may contact California River Watch with complaints of water pollution in their area. California River Watch investigates complaints and works with the business or public agency to mitigate the problem.