Friday, July 13, 2007
Day 17: Santa Barbara and Carpinteria
Today was another amazing day with FIN talking to hundreds of people about Columbia and Snake River salmon recovery and how they can get involved and help. We spent the day in the Santa Barbara town center and at the Carpinteria Farmers Market on the south coast of California.
Mauricio Gomez and Suzanne Feldman from the Community Environmental Council (CEC) were fantastic local hosts for the day. Suzanne did a tremendous amount of advance work to help us secure great places to display FIN. Mo and Suzanne also did a great job reaching out to their networks and to the local media. As part of the CEC, they are leading the charge on water and river-related projects that are focused improving water quality and habitat for, among other critters, wild steelhead. THANK YOU MO AND SUZANNE!
If you are interested in owning one of these gorgeous steelhead sculptures that accompanied FIN (see the photos), check out the CEC website or contact Mo or Suzanne directly, you can even bid on the sculptures and keep one for your very own.
JUST SO YOU KNOW: Salmon historically once returned to places as far south as Baja California (amazing but true!). But today, the hardy and resilient steelhead is the only salmonid that holds on south of Santa Cruz CA. Steelhead are kissing cousins with salmon. They are different than salmon that spawn once and die. Adult steelhead can, after spawning in fresh water, return to the ocean to grow strong again and eventually return to its stream to spawn again.
We also were visited by U.S. Congresswoman Lois Capps’ district director Sharon Siegel and her husband, who dropped by to say hello and peek inside our ginormous fish. We took the opportunity to express our deep appreciation for Rep. Capps’ leadership to restore healthy, fishable populations of salmon and steelhead, and the communities that depend on them. Rep. Capps is one of the 65 co-sponsors of the Salmon Economic Analysis & Planning Act (H.R. 1507), a bi-partisan bill currently before the House that seeks to restore sound science and fiscal responsibility to failing federal salmon recovery efforts in the Columbia/Snake River basin. THANK YOU REP. CAPPS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Finally, thanks to Mike McCorkle and his wife Linda who joined us at the Farmers Market. Mike has been fishing off the Santa Barbara coast for salmon for many years, and has been active in the commercial fishing community to make sure that that we have salmon returning to our rivers and our plates for generations to come!
We also met dozens of people in the last several days who are working and volunteering to restore healthy wild steelhead populations in the local coastal rivers and streams like the Ventura, the Ojai, the Carpinteria and the Mission. Across Ventura County, people have been working for years to remove the Matilija Dam to restore health to Matilija Creek and the Ventura River. The obsolete dam prevents endangered steelhead from accessing many miles of historic habitat as it prevents the natural flow of sand and sediment from the mountains to the beaches. A coalition of stakeholders succeeded in gaining approval to remove the aging structure, and the initial steps to begin removal are under way.
We also had the pleasure of meeting Craig Fusaro, Ph.D. Craig is a long-time leader in California Trout. CalTrout has been working for years to restore trout, steelhead and other freshwater fishes to California’s rivers and streams. Craig is a powerhouse – a local leader working with conservationists, fishermen and many others on a host of issues. Thank you Craig for your help to get the word out about FIN’s arrival and your work and interest in salmon and steelhead recovery projects across the coast.
Also, check out this video of our visit, courtesy of local blogger David Pritchett. David is a restoration ecologist, a founding member of the Santa Barbara City Creeks Committee, and head of FiSHTAP, his own small consulting firm. Thanks, David!