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January 2005

Colusa Subreach Planning Underway

Backed by CALFED funding, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Sacramento River Conservation Area Forum (SRCAF) have formed a partnership to undertake a task entitled the Colusa Subreach Planning. This is the third such subreach plan in the SRCAF’s delineated Conservation Area, but the first that has included such a substantial effort to collaborate with landowners and local interests. The purpose of this three-year Colusa Subreach Planning effort is to develop a conservation strategy for the inner levee area on a twenty-one mile stretch of the Sacramento River, stretching from Princeton to Colusa.

The Colusa Subreach Planning process promises to focus on identifying the concerns of local landowners who are likely to be negatively impacted as a result of restoration, and work towards minimizing and mitigating these impacts through research projects and planning. Currently eight restoration sites within the Subreach are being reviewed and commented upon for these purposes.

Further, a landowner survey will be conducted via telephone in the near future to provide riparian landowners and owners of land adjacent to the Conservation Area to express their concerns. Also, in an effort to provide the public the opportunity to learn about the effort and provide input, a newsletter will be distributed and several town hall meetings will be held.

The Subreach Planning effort is led by a Steering Committee made up of the following individuals: Burt Bundy, SRCAF Manager; Doug White, Colusa County Supervisor (soon to be replaced by another member of the Board); Denny Bungarz, Glenn County Supervisor; Don Anderson, Glenn County landowner; Ben Carter, Colusa County landowner; Armand Gonzales, Dept. of Fish & Game Manager; and Dawit Zeleke, TNC Project Manager.

An Advisory Workgroup made up of the steering committee, local interest representatives, and state and federal agency representatives has also been formed to address local and agency concerns, review restoration plans, and identify needed research studies. Local interest representatives include the following: Family Water Alliance Exec. Dir. Jeff Sutton, Agricultural Interest; FWA Board of Director Francis Hickel, Inner Levee Landowner; John Garner, Irrigation Districts; Mayor John Rogers, City of Colusa; County Public Works Director Jon Wrysinski, Colusa County Government; County Development Director Dan Obermeyer, Glenn County Government; Pat Kittle, Recreation Interest; Ray Krause, Business Interest; and Jay Dee Garr, Environmental Interest. Representatives from the State Department of Fish and Game, State Parks and Recreation, State Department of Water Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Bay Delta Authority represent the interest of the respective state and federal agencies.

The advisory workgroup has presently met on three different occasions to begin the dialogue. While at times a painstaking process, several issues of concern have been identified that need to be addressed, including flood control, crop predation, ESA regulatory concerns, recreation, private property rights, trespass, and the negative impacts on the local economy. Several members of the advisory workgroup, including FWA, have expressed concern regarding the fact that there is currently an apparent lack of ability to have control over the substantive decisions and direction of the process, an issue that the Workgroup is striving to overcome.

FWA encourages members of the public to weigh in on the Subreach Planning, to make their concerns known, thereby enabling FWA and the other local interest representatives to put this process to the test, ensuring that these projects do not adversely impact our local communities.

For more information regarding the Colusa Subreach Planning effort, please do not hesitate to contact FWA, and/or go to the following website: www.sacramentoriver.ca.gov.

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