Tiny salamanders may block a massive $1.4 billion project to raise Shasta Dam

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Tiny salamanders may block a massive $1.4 billion project to raise Shasta Dam

Postby WB Staff » Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:52 pm

salamander.png


A trio of tiny salamanders could stand in the way of a massive $1.4 billion project to raise the height of Shasta Dam.

An environmental organization has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, asking a judge to force the federal agency to make a determination on whether three salamander species living around Lake Shasta should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The suit was filed after the wildlife service failed to act on a 2012 request from the Center for Biological Diversity to list the three amphibian species as either endangered or threatened under federal law.

The agency had one year to decide to list the amphibians or reject the request, said Jenny Loda, an attorney for the group.

Because the federal agency did not rule on the request, the center sued, she said.

What happens with the center's request could affect the plans to raise the height of Shasta Damby 18½ feet, she said.

If the agency determines the three closely related amphibians, the Shasta salamander, Samwel Shasta salamander and Wintu Shasta salamander are threatened with extinction the bureau would have to find a way to raise the dam without harming the 4-inch amphibians.

That could be hard to do, Loda said.

"I am not sure whether there is a way for them to raise the height of the dam without impacting the salamanders." Loda said. "It seems that any increase in the level of Shasta Lake will have some impact on one or more species of Shasta salamanders."

The Shasta salamander is a small, lungless amphibian that is only found in Shasta County, according to the lawsuit. The salamander was considered one species until a scientific study released in April 2018 split it into three species, based upon DNA analysis.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

Pam Bierce, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said she could not comment on pending litigation.

Last spring, Congress approved $20 million for preconstruction and design work on raising the dam, which in September was estimated would cost $1.4 billion. This summer, crews drilled core samples into the dam to determine whether it could withstand the extra weight of another 18½ feet in height.

Full info and more pix: https://www.redding.com/story/news/2018 ... 210322002/

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Re: Tiny salamanders may block a massive $1.4 billion project to raise Shasta Dam

Postby mark poulson » Tue Dec 11, 2018 10:17 pm

If they were asked in 2012, why didn't they take action then? What were they waiting for? Now it's threatening to halt a project that we probably need.

"The suit was filed after the wildlife service failed to act on a 2012 request from the Center for Biological Diversity to list the three amphibian species as either endangered or threatened under federal law.

The agency had one year to decide to list the amphibians or reject the request, said Jenny Loda, an attorney for the group.

Because the federal agency did not rule on the request, the center sued, she said."
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Re: Tiny salamanders may block a massive $1.4 billion project to raise Shasta Dam

Postby WRB » Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:50 am

Amazing, the same salamders were living in what is now lake bottom before the dam was constructed and managed to servive when the filled covering over 300 miles of shoreline. Shasta is often below full pool, the lake has over a hundred of feet changes in elevation year to year. It would seem habitate could be reestablished for the salamanders.
It sounds like there was a dispute over 3 separate species and that was resolved only recently.
My guess is the groups goal is to remove the dam entirely and that isn't going to happen.
Tom

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Re: Tiny salamanders may block a massive $1.4 billion project to raise Shasta Dam

Postby mark poulson » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:47 am

WRB wrote:Amazing, the same salamders were living in what is now lake bottom before the dam was constructed and managed to servive when the filled covering over 300 miles of shoreline. Shasta is often below full pool, the lake has over a hundred of feet changes in elevation year to year. It would seem habitate could be reestablished for the salamanders.
It sounds like there was a dispute over 3 separate species and that was resolved only recently.
My guess is the groups goal is to remove the dam entirely and that isn't going to happen.
Tom

That's a great point Tom. With what is known now about habitat restoration, it would seem a relatively simple thing to recreate favorable habitat about the proposed 18' increased height. All it would take is the will to do it, and money. Of course, that's assuming the salamanders won't move all by themselves. After all, I've seen Shasta way down before, and they survived.
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Re: Tiny salamanders may block a massive $1.4 billion project to raise Shasta Dam

Postby WRB » Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:08 pm

The salamanders probably live in the feeder creeks around the lakes 4 major river arms and water raises during winter run off fairly slowly flooding new territory. If the folks are concerned it wouldn't be that difficult for volunteers to catch and move the salamanders to habitat above the new high water line to insure servival of the species.
Shasta annual water depth fluctuations are over 100'. 4 years ago it looked well over 150' verticle below the high water line, the terrian is steep but there was miles of dry land around the lake.
Tom

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Re: Tiny salamanders may block a massive $1.4 billion project to raise Shasta Dam

Postby DanIsaac » Sat Dec 15, 2018 7:44 pm

Center for Biologic Diversity! Sound familiar?
Same group going after non native species in Clear Lake, in order to protect the hitch...hmm
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Re: Tiny salamanders may block a massive $1.4 billion project to raise Shasta Dam

Postby Stratos278 » Sun Dec 16, 2018 12:37 pm

DanIsaac wrote:Center for Biologic Diversity! Sound familiar?
Same group going after non native species in Clear Lake, in order to protect the hitch...hmm


And the same group going after LMB and stripers in the Delta under the guise of "protecting the Delta smelt"
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Re: Tiny salamanders may block a massive $1.4 billion project to raise Shasta Dam

Postby maxe » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:43 pm

Yea The Center for Biological Diversity, same assholes behind the lawsuit that keeps Casitas from diverting water from the Ventura river. What organization can I support that fights against these groups? I bet they don't have much opposition and that"s the problem.

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Re: Tiny salamanders may block a massive $1.4 billion project to raise Shasta Dam

Postby WRB » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:00 am

The conservation groups don't want to raise a dam they want to raze them. The flower child of the 60's are now environmentalist that have money and organization skills that anglers haven't matched.
Tom


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