Mark your Calendar!
Tuesday April 30th at the Palm, 7-9 p.m., North County Watch, Hopedance, and Sierra Club present "A Fierce Green Fire: the Battle for a Living Planet" ... the first big-picture exploration of the environmental movement - grassroots and global activism spanning fifty years from conservation to climate change. Directed and written by Mark Kitchell, Academy Award-nominated director of Berkeley in the Sixties. Download the flyer (PDF)
The Salinas River flows 174 miles from its source in the Los Padres Forest east of Santa Margarita in San Luis Obispo County to its outflow into Monterey Bay at Elkhorn Slough. The Salinas River is designated critical habitat for the endangered South-Central California Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and is habitat for three historically abundant independent populations. SCC steelhead spend 1 to 3 years in fresh water before emigrating into the ocean for 2 to 4 years and returning to spawn. National Marine Fisheries Service has unveiled an ambitious SCC Steelhead Recovery Plan which includes emphasis on the Salinas River. The Salinas River is listed on the EPA’s Clean Water Act 303d list as an impaired water body.
#2 Guidelines Steelhead Flows (PDF)
#3 Summer Dams Steelhead (PDF)
#4 Sediment Removal Policy USNMFS (PDF)
#5 Habitat Protection Policy USNMFS (PDF)
#6 Gravel Extraction Policy USNMFS (PDF)
#7 Fish Sceening USNMFS (PDF)
CDFG -Salinas Bedload Estimates (PDF)
NMFS STEELHEAD RECOVERY Part I (PDF)
NMFS STEELHEAD RECOVERY Part II (PDF)
NMFS STEELHEAD RECOVERYAppendices (PDF)
OnTheEdge Protecting Cal Fish and Waterfowl from Global Warming (PDF)
Role of Hardwood in Forming Habitat - steelhead (PDF)
Salinas River Watershed Management Plan RFP (PDF)
Salinas Valley Sediment Sources (PDF)
Water Rights Complaint
North County Watch is actively pursuing the successful conclusion to a Public Trust Water Rights Complaint that we filed in 2008 against the Santa Margarita Ranch for de-watering creeks that are designated critical habitat for endangered South Central California Steelhead (Onycorhynchus mykiss). As a result of our complaint, the State Water Board has installed 3 flow meters in Trout Creek on Santa Margarita Ranch to monitor riparian wells to ensure steelhead passage during critical winter spawning season and installed a reservoir gauge to record filling and withdrawals from restricted reservoirs.
Water Rights Complaint 1 (PDF)
Water Rights Complaint 2 (PDF)
Water Rights Complaint 3 (PDF)
Water Rights Complaint 4 (PDF)
USFWS 4-28-10 letter (PDF)
NOAA 8-25-10 letter (PDF)
NMFS 8-28-09 letter (PDF)
NMFS 08_08 letter (PDF)
NMFS 4-19-10 letter (PDF)
DFG 8-8-08 letter (PDF)
DFG 3-2010 letter (PDF)
Santa Margarita Ranch
Santa Margarita Ranch in Northern San Luis Obispo County is a singular and splendid natural landscape. The Ranch is one of the last great ranchos and is the successor to Santa Margarita de Cortona Asistencia, established in 1787 as an Asistencia or sub-mission to San Luis Obispo Mission de Tolosa to minister to the large number of Chumash (Obispeño) Indians who inhabited the area. The Ranch today is approximately 14,000 acres of land containing pristine valley oak savannah, mixed oak woodland, native grassland, wetlands and riparian habitat, which support numerous special status species including endangered Central Coast Steelhead, red legged frog and California Condor. The headwaters of the Salinas River watershed originate on the upper reaches of the ranch. Ranch’s historic and cultural resources is beyond measure. It is one of the largest intact Mexican Land Grants remaining California today. The oldest Paleolithic find in California was unearthed here, and the descendents of the Chumash tribe and Salinan tribe continue their connection to the land’s many sacred sites, including burial grounds and village sites. The Ranch is adjacent to the National Forest and near other public lands connecting two important habitat areas on the west and east side of highway 101. It is uniquely situated nearly within its enclosed watershed naturally creating this important wildlife corridor.
In 2009 North County Watch filed a CEQA action seeking review of the 2008 county approval of a 110 lot subdivision on the historic Santa Margarita Ranch. The Subdivision Project, originally 3 parcels, is comprised of 3,778 acres near the middle of the Ranch. The project EIR identified eleven Class 1 impacts and is inconsistent with thirty policies and regulations of the Land Use Ordinance, the Salinas River Area Plan, and other applicable policies according to the accompanying staff report. The project was denied by the Planning Commission on October 9, 2008 after five hearings. The applicants appealed the decision to the Board of Supervisors who approved the subdivision and certified the EIR in an 11th hour lame duck hearing on December 23, 2008.
Tribune Lame duck may sway Margarita vote 12-14-08 (PDF)
Right the Wrong (PDF)
Writ Petition filed January 26, 2009 (PDF)
Press Release SMR lawsuit filed Jan 26, 2009 (PDF)