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Richey: Grad school kooks sue DFG

By: J.D. Richey Journal Outdoors Columnist
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Okay, so yesterday I had a couple clients out on the Delta throwing surface lures for stripers and we had a banner morning, with a bunch of fish over 10 pounds and one 41-inch, 26-pounder. The action was fierce in the morning hours and my two dudes had a ball watching the big fish come up and explode on their lures. But thanks to some Stanford law students, we may not see this kind of fishing in the future. You see, in October, 2006, the students sued the California Department of Fish & Game over fish stocking programs it has engaged in for more than 100 years, claiming that no Environmental Impact Report (EIR) had been completed for the programs. This of course, resulted in a court order requiring DFG to complete an EIR. Because of these wanna-be do-gooders from Stanford, the cash-poor DFG is now engaged in a multimillion-dollar EIR process, now scheduled to be completed in January 2010. It goes without saying that the DFG already has its hands full trying to keep what little fish and game we have left sustainable and shouldn’t have to deal with these kooks from Stanford. Now, here’s the real kicker: Due to delays in the EIR process, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette recently told the Department to negotiate with the Stanford meddlers to seek an agreement on terms for how and where DFG may continue stocking fish during the time it is preparing the EIR. Imagine that! The DFG has to sit down with law school students and get permission to stock fish in our state. If that’s not the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard, it’s close! If an agreement is not reached, the Department might face an injunction that could stop or significantly reduce its fish stocking programs. In other words, all hatchery steelhead and salmon programs may get discontinued. Same goes for trout plants and everything else you can imagine. Un-freaking-believable! Now, it is true that most of the fish in this state are introduced — species like stripers, bass, catfish, brown trout, brook trout, panfish, crappie and many others — and that the DFG had it’s wild and rogue days early in the last century. But it’s too late to restore everything back to how it originally was. To continue with this absolutely crazy line of thinking, we had better tear down every dam in the state and burn all civilization to the ground. We’ll have to spray Round-Up on all non-native plants and trees in California and then re-seed with indigenous species. And oh yea, pack your bags because we’re going to have to kick everybody out of the state, too. Then, maybe the Stanford Law kids’ plan should work just fine. In the meantime, you’d better go out and enjoy some fishing in this state while we still have something to catch… J.D. Richey is a 1986 Placer High graduate, and his outdoors pieces have been published nationally. He can be found on the Web at www.fishwithjd.com.