A national conservation group yesterday named San Mateo Creek as the nation's second-most imperiled waterway on its annual list of the 10 most endangered rivers.
The report by American Rivers in Washington, D.C., heightens the status of a decade-long battle by fishing groups, surfers and environmentalists to stop plans to build a toll road along the creek and across San Onofre State Beach. [...]
It picked San Mateo Creek for the No. 2 spot because of “the magnitude of the threat” posed by the planned toll road, plus state and federal agencies' decisions expected in the next two years that “will decide the future of the creek,” said Rebecca Wodder, president of American Rivers.
Wow. I nearly missed this article buried in The San Diego Union-Tribune last week. However, that doesn't mean that this wasn't important. If anything, this article is yet another reminder of the great peril that we all face if TCA is allowed to build a toll road to Trestles.
So what exactly is the threat to San Mateo Creek, the last wild waterway in Southern California? And just how great is this threat? Follow me down below for more on what is threatening our wild space.
(Cross-posted at Calitics)
So why is San Mateo Creek in such peril? And just how grave is the threat? The Union-Tribune has more:
The creek made headlines in 1999 when a college student accidentally discovered southern steelhead, an endangered species, in its waters. Until then, scientists believed the trout were extinct in San Diego and Orange counties.
Efforts to restore the creek and make it more hospitable to steelhead and other native species have been slow but steady, said George Sutherland, a San Clemente volunteer for Trout Unlimited.
Since 2002, the state Coastal Conservancy has allocated $300,000 to upgrade the San Mateo. The creek has been plagued by an invasion of non-native plants and aquatic animals, as well as the pumping of groundwater from an aquifer that supports the creek.
In the past three years, volunteers for Trout Unlimited have removed more than 33,000 non-native bullfrogs, crawfish, largemouth bass, green sunfish and bullheads, Sutherland said.
So what would we lose if TCA were allowed to extend the 241 Toll Road to Trestles? Oh, only several years of progress in restoring the native habitat of the Southern California Steelhead Trout. And if that weren't bad enough, it gets worse. Seven other endangered species would also lose their home if TCA were allowed to build its toll road to nowhere.
So why build the 241 to Trestles? This boondoggle would do absolutely nothing to ease traffic. This project has already wasted so much of our tax dollars in court, and it would only continue to do so as it is totally illegal. This lame waste of money would ultimately cost us jobs as San Onofre State Park would absolutely have to close? So why waste any more time, any more tax dollars, and any more breath trying to save this worthless proposal?
Is it worth losing the "Yosemite of Surfing"? Is it worth killing off all the endangered species that call this place home? Is it worth annihilating one of California's most precious treasures? Is it worth killing off THE LAST UNSPOILED WATERWAY IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?
I don't think so.