By Associated Press
Published: July 11

SEATTLE — Scientists knew ocean-going fish would eventually return to the Elwha River on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, once two massive concrete dams were torn down. They just didn’t think it would happen so soon.

Biologists tracking fish in a tributary of the Elwha last month spotted wild steelhead that likely made it on their own past the site where the Elwha Dam stood for nearly a century — before it was dismantled in March as part of the nation’s largest dam removal project.

“We’re wildly excited,” said Mike McHenry, fish habitat manager for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. “It just confirms what we have known all along — that these fish are quite capable of recolonizing the Elwha once we get the dams out of the way.”

Read more: Fish begin return to Washington’s Elwha River

How to contact your elected representative

There may come a time that you might want to express yourself to your elected officials. I would like to pass on to you what I have learned in the last few years.

The first thing I learned is how you send correspondence to a representative is very important. I have found that mass e-mails are worthwhile because of their numbers. A typed letter gets more attention because they are read by staff for content. A well written letter may show more concern time and thought than an email or typed letter. If you don’t have the time to write a hand written letter please click on to a mass emailing for the subject you have concerns about.

Your representative’s staff is there to help their boss research the issues and are looking to learn what their constitutes feel are important. Staff members may not have been to the place you are writing about. The more information you can give on how an issue affects you the better.

To find the address of your congressional representative try the phonebook, your newspaper or go on line at

Please the following form.

To the Representative                                                   to a Senator

The Honorable (full name)                                             The Honorable (Full Name)

Room # House Office Building                                        Rm# Senate Office Building

United States House of Representatives                        United States Senate

Washington, DC 20515                                                  Washington, DC 20510

Dear Representative                                                      Dear Senator

Here are tips

Be nice, talk about how important it is and how you enjoy how you want it protected for your heirs, how it makes you fell when you are there and when you come back. Ask for their help and for an answer on their position. Keep it to one page if you can, hand written is ok to use more.

Senator Dianne Feinstein has reintroduced S. 138, the California desert Protection Act 2011. Proposes to protect as Wild and Scenic Rivers 20 miles of Deep Creek and 14.5 miles of Holcomb Creek a major tributary to Deep Creek. They are both on public lands in the San Bernardino national Forest.

When passed as Wild and Scenic River, Deep Creek and Holcomb Creek will be managed by the US Forest Service to protect and enhance its flow, fishery, and scenic beauty, recreation, cultural, and wildlife values. Existing roads will remain open to the public. Deep Creek can go on being a great wild trout fishery for many more to enjoy after us.

I suggest if you want more information and a map go to ( under press releases, under recent headline view more headlines in red, then scroll down to 01/25/11 and look for map on the right column.

Senator Feinstein’s desert bill is the third bill introduced this congress that has some affect on Southern California fisheries. Rep. David Dreier has introduced The Angeles and San Bernardino National Forest Protection Act, to protect about 18,000 acres of wilderness additions in the San Gabriel Mountains and complete Forest Service studies of four potential Wild and Scenic Rivers (including the forks of the San Gabriel River San Antonio Creek, Middle Fork of Lytle Creek,) Rep Darrell Issa has introduced the Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia Wilderness Act, to add 21,000 acres to these wild places in North San Diego County.

Bill Reeves

An outline of the history of the conservation efforts in California

When Yellowstone became the first National Park in 1864 it was owned and operated by the Federal Government. The National Park Service was created in August, 1916 and signed by President Woodrow Wilson. President Teddy Roosevelt created Forest Reserves, later to become The National Forest in 1905. Congress created The Wilderness Act of 1964 that defined wilderness as: “An area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain”.  The Wilderness Act describes wilderness as “an area of undeveloped federal land retaining its primeval character and influence”.

In 1968 Congress passed the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. California has 16 major rivers protected by The National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act mostly up north or in the Sierras. Wild and scenic status means much more than just prohibiting dams. The agency that manages the public land is required to manage in a way to protect and enhance the outstanding values for which the river was designated. Public land along the designated river segments are classified depending on the level of existing access and shoreline development and use. The classifications are:

WILD-- These river segments represent vestiges of primitive America. Their watersheds or shorelines are essentially primitive, and the segment is generally inaccessible except by trail.

SCENIC— these river segments have shorelines that are still largely primitive and undeveloped, but may be accessible by roads.

RECREATIONAL— these river segments are readily accessible by road or railroad and may have some development along their shorelines.

After all this we have only protected about 1% of the land for wilderness and wild streams. In California about twenty years ago people began to study the remaining road less areas and wild streams to take an inventory of possible future wilderness and wild and scenic river candidates. Over 300 conservation and recreation groups worked with agencies, off-highway, mountain biking groups, utilities and timber companies. After reaching a consensus of what were the best remaining wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers it came down to this list.


  • 22 new Wild & Scenic rivers totaling almost 440 miles
  • Two new Wild & Scenic Study Rivers totaling
  • 78 new Wilderness Areas and Wilderness Additions totaling 2,505,001 acres
  • Two new Potential Wilderness Areas totaling 16,566 acres
  • Two new Wilderness Study Areas totaling 83,000 acres
  • Three new Salmon Habitat Restoration Areas totaling 74,667 acres
  • One new 17,000-acre Sacramento River National Conservation Area
  • One new 28,991-acre Ancient Bristlecone Pine forest


In 2003 Senator Barbara Boxer introduced the California Wild Heritage Act of 2003. The bill did not get through congress. Since then several members of Congress have taken the parts of the bill that was in their district and have introduced their own bills, some have passed and some have been introduced and didn’t get out of committee. I will keep you informed of the progress of these acts in the future.

Bill Reeves