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Premo’s proposal: Pit salmon welfare against land-based endangered species

POSTED April 24, 2013 10:10 a.m.
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Since the State Water Resources Control Board weighed a proposal that would negatively impact the region's water supply, agriculture operations and economy, Valley residents have rallied to protect the resource.

The proposal attempts to take 35 percent of unimpaired flows along the Tuolumne, Merced and Stanislaus rivers from Feb. 1 to June 30 annually in order to benefit endangered fish and wildlife.

Turlock Irrigation District land owner and Ceres native April Premo journeyed with other concerned citizens to Sacramento to hear the two-day debate about the proposal, and has been in contact with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission during its meetings to discuss additional problems that may arise due to a decrease in water supply if the proposal were to pass.

As a former member of the Sierra Club, Premo said that the board's reasoning cannot be fully supported if more than one species is at risk.

Premo said that both the kit fox and the Swainson hawk at at-risk, endangered animals.

"This issue tears the Sierra Club up. I've talked with three club members, and they are upset that the proposal doesn't take into account other animals," said Premo.
"If we are going to worry about the salmon, we need to worry about the other animals that are out there too," said Premo, who raised her concerns at the April 16 TID board meeting. "It really isn't fair to just look at one species, let them die out, and save another."

"If you are going to get into the game and get your water, you have to play at their level," said Premo to the Board.

"I think April brings up a good perspectivere," said TID Director Rob Santos. "We could have to fallow productive farm ground which would change the food web which would affect all birds, reptiles and animals...endangered or not."

The Board of Directors found her evidence to be interesting, but believed there is a larger picture at stake, namely how the proposal would affect the county's economy and agriculture.

"I personally think her argument is good, but it is just one part of the equation," said Santos.

Regardless, Premo is not deterred in arguing her point. She has credited TID's involvement in helping her acquire environmental documents, and states that she is still attempting to motivate people in the Central Valley to join her cause.

 

 

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