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County moves toward start of salmon restoration project 

By David Smith, Siskiyou Daily News February 23, 2010
Yreka, Calif. -  The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors has taken one more step toward its own salmon restoration project, as it approved a new contract at its Feb. 16 meeting to get the project to its starting point.

According to Natural Resource Policy Specialist Ric Costales, the board previously approved a $30,000 earmark in the general fund provisions for implementation of a salmon restoration project based on a proprietary mist incubation/eyed-egg injection system developed by Alaska Resource and Economic Development, Inc.

 According to documents provided to the board, Costales has “secured considerable consensus, refined the concept down to a specific project, and secured in-kind support to develop the project and secure permits.

“At this point, [the] project is awaiting relatively routine, but somewhat intensive effort to bring the project up to the point where the expenditure of the budgeted amount is justified.”

Costales stated at the meeting his departmental budget would absorb the cost of the contract, which he estimated would cost about $6,000 to $7,000.

Costales also provided background material on the project, citing a number of reasons why he feels that the project is important for the county. Those reasons include increased regulations in response to declining salmon populations, the belief that restoration efforts have focused solely on habitat and not on population restoration, the opening of upper Klamath River reaches if four of its dams are removed and the “severe trouble”facing Coho populations in the region.
“With no effort being made or offered in this important direction, Siskiyou County is left to accept the status quo or seek meaningful change,” Costales said in the document, “So far, the County has sought change.”

According to the document, the basic project parameters have been determined. 

“It involves capture and spawning of Salmon River spring Chinook, mist incubation of eggs, injection of eyed-eggs into natural substrates in Specimen Creek drainage or other suitable habitat,” the document states.

The program would also include monitoring of the out-migrating and returning fish, according to the document. Costales stated at the meeting that he has found support from representatives at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, California Department of Fish and Game and the Karuk Tribe, among others.

“I realized that if there wasn’t agreement across the basin it wouldn’t work,” Costales said at the meeting.

Jesse McNames, for whom the contract is intended, provided the board with a draft contract detailing what his duties would be, including project coordination and development; the identification, pursuit and assistance in acquiring necessary environmental permits; and assistance in project timing and implementation.

The associated costs in the draft contract were set at $50 per hour for any project-associated work and travel costs for pre-approved trips, mileage as established in County policy and “other travel expenses as necessary” with receipts provided.

Before a vote was taken, Board Chair Marcia Armstrong stated that she feels the county would not benefit directly from the program other than by increasing sport fishing, but that the county may benefit indirectly by having regulations reduced as salmon populations increased.

District 3 Supervisor Michael Kobseff said that he felt the project “looks at the future” and he believes that no other parties are “working on putting salmon back in the river.”

The board then approved a contract for McNames’ work, capped at $10,000.
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