Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A Win for the Salmon and One for the Parkway

There are two articles today in the Bee about two good decisions, one for the salmon and one for the Parkway.

The first concerns the Cosumnes River and the recharging of groundwater through diversion of American River water, further highlighting the importance of developing additional water storage on the American.

The second concerns the recent court ruling stopping the building of large homes too close to the Parkway, in violation of the Parkway Plan, but currently being allowed by county supervisors.

A watershed deal
Increased flows on Cosumnes River will recharge groundwater, aid salmon run

By Chris Bowman -- Bee Staff Writer Published 2:15 am PDT Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Like theater-goers queuing up at the doors on opening night, chinook salmon are gathering at the mouth of the Cosumnes River in the Delta for their journey home.

The program, genetically speaking, instructs the migratory fish to start entering the Cosumnes in about two weeks. Historically, that's when the season's first rains transform the lower reach from puddles to stream.

But for the past 50 or more years, opening day has gotten later and later. Ever-larger volumes of groundwater pumped for riverside farms and housing growth in Elk Grove and Galt have caused the river to stay drier longer and over longer stretches.

In recent years, dry conditions have stretched through January, altogether nixing the annual fall run of chinook on the Cosumnes.

On Monday, help and hope for the salmon arrived with the turn of a valve.

In a long-negotiated agreement among preservationists, farmers and water utilities, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released a torrent of American River water into the Cosumnes from the Folsom-South Canal, near Sloughhouse Road.

For the rest of the story: http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/story/13732096p-14574932c.html

Editorial: A parkway win
Judge forces reconsideration of big homes
Published 2:15 am PDT Tuesday, October 18, 2005

In her ruling Monday, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Judy Holzer Hersher has stymied the county's sad tradition of allowing big new homes too close to the American River bluff. The river has scored an important victory.

The county has a pretty good plan when it comes to tearing down old homes and building new ones near the river. That plan generally calls for the homes to be set back from the river by at least 70 feet and for the design to blend in with the natural surroundings, not stick out like a McMansion. The problem is that the county supervisors like to make exceptions to that plan. They tend to spend hours in public session as they review the designs of these dream homes and tweak them to their satisfaction.

For the rest of the Editorial: http://www.sacbee.com/content/opinion/story/13732140p-14574937c.html