By Bill Wells
350 angry striped bass fishermen met with Department of Fish & Game (DFG) officials at the Portuguese Hall in Rio Vista recently. Marty Gingras a biologist with the DFG spoke of their plans to eradicate the striped bass due to its predation on the salmon. The reality, as we have explained before is the striped bass and salmon lived in harmony in the Delta from 1879 until recently when the amount of water exported has increased dramatically. In recent years both species of fish have declined. Ironically in 2011 when we had plenty of rainfall and runoff all fish and wildlife in the Delta have rebounded. Striped bass sportfishing is a huge industry in California with licenses alone bringing in over $12 million per year. Their plan is to eliminate the striped bass, which will theoretically increase salmon populations, which will build a case to export more water from the Delta and cause further declines in fish populations.
Gingras and the DFG are basically stooges of an organization called Coalition for a Sustainable Delta whose goal is anything but sustaining the Delta. Their contact Michael Boccadoro appears to be the president of a lobbying organization called The Dolphin Group. Coincidentally the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta and The Dolphin Group share the same address, 915 L Street in Sacramento. The judge that ruled in favor of wiping out the striped bass is none other than Oliver Wanger who has ruled in favor of water exporters many times. You have probably seen Wanger’s name recently when he retired from the bench and shortly thereafter went to work as an attorney for Westlands Water District, a major exporter of Delta water (he has since resigned from the position). If you think I am trying to write a John Grisham novel about California Water thieves you are wrong. I could not make this stuff up. Well, if the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta wants to wipe out the striped bass you can only imagine what the Dolphin Group would like to do to dolphins.
I guess the DFG folks were expecting trouble at the meeting, according to my sources there were no fewer than eight armed game wardens at the gathering. This is a record number of armed guards for water related meetings I have attended. Generally even when I have been at meetings attended by department heads they have only had two or three California Highway Patrolmen as bodyguards.
While I was researching this matter I ran across this interesting email from Michael Boccadoro to Lester Snow (former head of the Natural Resources Agency, Joe Grindstaff (a member of the Delta Stewardship Council), and John Moffatt (a member of acting Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s staff) dated June 03, 2010.
“Just wanted to make sure you saw the most recent letter to CDFG on striped bass from NMFS. Very powerful letter. Does anyone in the administration think this is a priority and maybe deserves some action? This is going to go public very soon since the lawsuit is being heard next week in (Judge Oliver) Wanger’s court. Fish and Game does not seem to have their act together. I would very much like to get a response on this.
It was signed: Michael Boccadoro President, The Dolphin Group 925 L Street, Suite 800
Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 441-4383
Bill is a writer and his articles appear in the www.yachtsmanmagazine.com
- Rick Olson Wins Striped Bass Bonanza; $7200 Raised for Support Friends in Needs (gloucestercitynews.net)
- Rambling around the California Delta (nevadacounty.com)
- Winnemen Wintu Join Conservation Groups in Suing Westlands Over Contract Renewals (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
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