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FISH AND GAME SEEKS TO HELP PROTECT STREAMBEDS

 SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 18 /PRNewswire/ -- As California's rainfall and surface water supplies return to more normal patterns and streambed alteration and construction projects resume in many areas, the Department of Fish and Game today issued a reminder that the department is ready to assist in preparing needed approvals.
 California law requires that persons undertaking activities that will alter streams or lakes must first consult with the Department of Fish and Game to develop an agreement on measures needed to protect fish, wildlife and water quality.
 Persons planning projects affecting streams or lakes should contact the nearest department office or local Fish and Game warden.
 "Department staff throughout the state are ready to help project sponsors to develop the required streambed alteration agreements," said John Turner, chief, Environmental Services Division.
 Streambed alteration agreements are intended to help protect fish, wildlife and streamside habitat. But they also provide protection to downstream property owners, who can be seriously damaged by improperly planned channel modifications.
 "Many of the department's enforcement actions under this law are prompted by complaints from land owners whose property has been damaged by an upstream or adjacent neighbor," said Turner.
 During California's drought, wildlife officials say, some projects affecting dry streambeds and waterways may have been undertaken without proper clearance.
 In arid regions, especially in Southern California, many streambeds were dry for several years. However, the requirement for streambed alteration agreements applies to streambeds whether wet or dry.
 Streams that appear dry frequently have life-sustaining subsurface flows, Turner explained. Some streams that are periodically dry nevertheless support critical spawning runs of valuable ocean-going fish, such as steelhead trout, he said.
 Fish and Game officials note that recent heavy rains have restored flows to many previously dry streambeds. Others which were flooded have returned to more normal flows.
 -0- 3/18/93
 /CONTACT: Pete Weisser or Lanny Clavecilla of the Conservation Education Office, of the Department of Fish and Game, 916-653-6420/


CO: California Department of Fish and Game ST: California IN: ENV SU:

GT-SG -- SF013 -- 7685 03/18/93 17:50 EST
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Date:Mar 18, 1993
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