Thursday August 27, 2020 Guerneville CA.
Note: I’ve added Recent Posts to the side bar to make it easier for you to read recent posts as it’s rather hard to get back to them otherwise.
Wrapping up the forest fire
I was a bit slow getting it going today as I woke up a bit on the tired out side, but things needed to be done so I got it going around 9.
I checked in with my brother Tom who lives next door and got some fresh vegetables from him as he’s a farmers market guy.
Once I was properly fed I checked the dirt bike’s gas and headed on up into the hills to see what was going on today.
The guys at the back of the truck are bosses making plans and my brother Tom was talking with them. One of the guys was the rehab boss who’ll be getting all the fire breaks and roads ready for winter. He’ll be moving his teams in shortly. I went over and talked with them.
This cat rolled in as I was standing there. Dozers all over the place, just like big dragons wondering around the hills bellowing. Maybe that’s where the dragons have been hiding inside these big machines. :O)
I knew she was concerned about whether it burned last night or not as fire was heading for her place as it got dark.
From there I rode up to what is called the turn around where I knew more guys would be and this was the view there. Lots of fire trucks making plans for the day. There’s still some spot fires behind and below them that they are dealing with but nothing serious.
Pack Station Road
I talked with some more guys there and then went down the Pack Station road where they set up a backfire line last night as the fire was burning to it at dark.
The new shift was just coming on walking up the road. Last night the guys working here would have been working real hard as the fire hit the road. I heard they set back fires on this road last night. My Cousin’s house is just above this area.
Armstrong tree never was in danger
Just a scene in the park to show things are good. This is near the Armstrong tree which was always safe even though the news guys made a big deal of it. There were only slow burning fires around it and it and the other trees were never in any danger of burning as lots of fire trucks were parked right by it the whole time. They all did a good job.
Letting my cousin know
I went on home to call my brother Barry and give him a report and asked him to call my cousin so she could relax. I needed a good break after that.
Rick shows up
I was sitting in a chair relaxing when Rick Decarly rode up on his dirt bike. I needed to rest a bit so I told him to ride up into the hills and I’d meet him up there somewhere a bit later so off he rode.
What the Santa Rosa commander wants
That car belongs to a commander and his car says Santa Rosa on it. He has at least two radios on his chest that he listens to constantly even when you are talking with him. I went over to chat and find out what’s going on as he is in the know and knows what’s going on. I’ve had some good talks with him.
He tells me the fire guys would like to establish the old fire roads and breaks on a yearly basis like they did in the old days. The state used to keep up all the fire trails around Guerneville and especially around Armstrong Redwoods Park and stopped around 1960 for some reason.
This would allow them to keep things up and map things so it wouldn’t take so long to get to any fire in our area. This area is different than most places as the mountain sides are very wooded and steep, steeper than most places.
Sounds like a good idea to me, yes sir.
I catch up with Rick and off we go
Also note that there are two dirt bikes in the photo above. Rick Decarly joined me. He’s shooting the bull with some dozer guys about dirt bikes.
After I chatted with some guys I said to Rick, knock off the bull and let’s ride. Off we went to check out some places I didn’t have time to check out earlier when the fire was real active.
We rode on down through my cousin’s place and down to the Hulbert creek area. An area we used to ride in when we were kids. Lots of stuff was different after all these years and we had a hard time recognizing a lot of the old roads.
After going down Hulbert creek to the Guernewood Park Road we turned around and rode up the creek to see how the Buchanan place faired.
From there we took another road we passed to see where it went. Part of why I came over here was to familiarize myself with the roads.
I had to do some real dirt biking up some real soft roads the dozers cut fire breaks on. The dirt was real dry and soft and dusty. Rick’s bike is has much more power than mine does and he was having a blast riding around. He also knows this area better than I and kept me from getting lost more than once.
We road up the road where I almost broke my neck but I made it keeping up with Rick.
It was time to get out of there so we headed up the road to the turn around area where I was at this morning.They had a fire line there they were watching as they’d started a back fire there. Right away Rick started talking motorcycles with one of the guys resting on the ground because the guy recognized what his hot bike was. I went over to the other guys and talked fire.
They let us pass
We rode up the road more when we ran into these guys. The dozer was opening that fire break that went up to my cousin’s house.. Note the guy on the right. He has radios on his chest so he’s a commander or boss keep in touch with what was going on.
Up the road a little further these guys were watching and keeping the fire on the left side of the road. They set a backfire to burn out the forest fuel so no fire will burn through the spot after they do that as there’s no fuel left to burn.
Riding down through our place
From the top of the hill we needed to get down to my house so we discussed it. Go down through the park or go down through our place taking the long way. The long way it was.
We hit this fire break my brother laid out for them and they’d come back and widened it out and it was real loose and dusty and steeper than it looks so Rick went for it and made it to the top as I watched. He made it on the first try and is coming back down as I didn’t want to go up it as I was already bushed.
Checking our water
I rode on home and rested up chair hopping around the yard between naps.
My fish and the silt story or Muddy water
Now I said I’d tell you a story about spawning fish and silt not being bad for them and in fact it might just be a part of what they need to survive.
I’ll start off saying I have no axe to grind on this nor any money to be made by me. You note there are no adds on my website or any money making stuff so what I have to say is not from short studies by urbanite city people. I’ve lived here and grown up here with what I have to say. In other words what I have to say I’ve lived, not just studied although I do a bit of that too.
I’ll also state that I’m very good at solving complex problems in extremely technical stuff as I worked at HP in the Reliability Physics Lab solving very complex problems in electronic parts and processes and I was extremely good at it.
So let’s get started
When I was a kid I watched big fish spawn occasionally so I know what and how they do it.
They swim up stream to the head of the creeks until they can’t go any further, stopping when the creek gets too small or goes up too steep for them to go. They go up into the creeks that are less then two feet wide if they can make it even the biggest salmon and steelhead. It surprises me how far up these big fish can go.
Now creeks and rivers are actually silt separators. As the water flows down stream it separates out the silt depositing gravels and sand and fine silt along it, separating it. The big fish need new silt to make new gravel to spawn so it’s important to get new silt at least once in a while or the water beds would get too hard and they couldn’t spawn.
Silt doesn’t bother them. They get into it and wiggle away in the current causing the fine silt to flow down the stream leaving the heavier gravel to make their spawning bed to spawn.
That’s the first incorrect thing about silt and fish but there is more, much more.
Now I’ve been kayaking the river around here and down in the estuary at Jenner since I got my kayak in 2002 and I do it every day when I can even during the winter at high water so I’ve lived with what’s going on down there for quite some time and I’ve been especially studying the big fish when they come into the river and the little fish as they return to the ocean.
What I’ve observed is this
When the water is muddy, almost no big fish get eaten by harbor seals or river otters nor do any fishermen catch them so they can go up and spawn and the ones that return to the ocean can safely do so for a successful spawn. That’s a big thing, a huge thing for the fish, as harbor seals at the river’s mouth really nail them. There’s no dead fish from the muddy water, only healthy live fish.
There’s more, you bet
Now the hatchery fish and the hatched wild egg fish have to get back to the sea.
When they go back down the river headed to the sea, thousands of cormorants and other fish eating birds eat the 4 to 12 inch fish by the thousands. They just wait for the hatcheries to release the fish to head for the ocean and eat a huge number of them along with the harbor seals and river otters. Everything loves to eat the tender little fish headed for the ocean, but most don’t make it. They also love to eat the tired out fish that have spawned and are trying to make it back to the ocean and they eat a lot of them when the water is clear.
Except, guess when
You guessed it. When the waters are muddy and silty most of them make it and the critters have to find something else to eat.
And none of these fish die because the water is muddy, it’s the other way around.
Fish and silt go together
Actually I think the fish depend on muddy water not the other way around.
So how did they get it wrong
I found from working at HP solving very old problems which I took great satisfaction in solving that people tend to blame what they can see but what they can see often throws them off from solving the real problem so the problem continues and is not solved.
The next biologist comes along and reads the first report and copies it as it’s easy money and easy to see the muddy water and it doesn’t ‘buck the system so there’s no problems. It’s the old sheep principle if you know what that is.
I could go on and on about this but that’s enough to get you started so think about it and let’s get this silt thing put to bed for good and get on with getting the fish back.
One other problem is most of the fish’s predators were also killed off and used for clothing not too long ago and now they are coming back faster than the fish and eating a lot of them.
Nature doesn’t care and will eventfully equal things out but it will take a long time.
Let’s get it right and stop being sheep eh. :O)
That’s the story and I’m sticking to it.
Rick and I had a great ride riding around old places we’d been as kids that brought back a lot of old memories.
Great day and the fire is mostly out in our area. Super.