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>> Bay Delta Stamp Extension and Audit — [topic: previous/next]
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:07 pm
Ken Jones


Posts: 9444
Location: California

http://www.calsport.org/10-18-08b.htm

Governor signs extension of Bay-Delta Stamp but State Auditor finds numerous problems in fund management

October 18, 2008 -- On September 30th Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 2162 into law. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Mullin, extends the stamp fund until January 1, 2010.

The bill, "prohibits a person from sport fishing in the tidal waters of the San Francisco Bay Delta and the main stem of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, including major tributaries, below the most downstream dam, unless he or she first obtains a Bay-Delta Sport Fishing Enhancement Stamp or validation and affixes that stamp or validation to a valid sport fishing license. Existing law requires the funds generated by the imposition of these fees to be deposited in a separate account in the Fish and Game Preservation Fund, to be used solely for the long term, sustainable benefit of the primary Bay-Delta sport fisheries, as specified."

However, on October 16, the state auditor released a report stating that, "The report concludes that Fish and Game’s use of the money collected from fish stamp sales has been limited. Specifically, although sales of fish stamps began on January 1, 2004, Fish and Game did not consistently begin funding fish stamp projects until fiscal year 2006–07. As a result, although sales of fish stamps have generated more than $8.6 million in revenue and interest, Fish and Game has only spent $1.6 million on projects and administrative costs, leaving a surplus of $7 million.

Fish and Game also does not have a sufficient system of internal or administrative controls to monitor fish stamp project activity. As a result, project expenditures are difficult to reconcile and have been incorrectly charged to other funding sources. Finally, during fiscal years 2005–06 through 2007–08, Fish and Game inappropriately charged expenditures totaling an estimated $201,000 to the fish stamp program that were unrelated to fish stamp activities."

With the delta's fisheries collapsing, a fund is available to do SOMETHING but DFG is so politically constipated that the money continues to build, the authority to tax continues and the fishery continues to decline.

How long as sport fishers can we wait for the Department of Fish and Game to Act? The salmon fishery is a national disaster and the the fall run of stripers from the bay to the delta has failed to occur for the third year in a row. Striper stocks are judged to be the lowest in the history of the fishery.

Seven million dollars in Enhancement money is available as well as another million plus from the old Striped Bass stamp. It's past time for these funds to be spent responsibly in restoring the delta fisheries.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 1:09 pm
superfish


Posts: 15

we've taken advantage of and been screwed again by the dfg. why do we have to pay for the bay delta stamp? a Coastside Fishing Club member is a member of the Bay Delta Stamp Committee. He wrote about the frustration the committee dealings with the dfg. Where are the enhancements and their success stories?
Does stay the course sound familiar?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:58 am
Ken Jones


Posts: 9444
Location: California

I am also on the committee.

We have told the DF&G that we want to fund proposals that add fish to the system or actually help the fish numbers increase—in whatever manner. Last week we had a meeting in which roughly 15 proposals were given to us; we approved the two that dealt with increasing the number of fish. We have instructed the DF&G to go back and try to find more fish-increasing projects. At the same time we realize we are in an advisory capacity and that the DF&G Director may turn around and approve those projects we rejected (and this has happened before).

We are extremely frustrated but continue to hope that we can do good. We realize the public wants to see the money spent on projects. However, we refuse to spend the money just to spend the money. We want to spend it on things that will actually help increase the number of fish. Unfortunately the Department is hesitant to go along (as example they refused to let us spend money on stocking striped bass). Fear of lawsuits by trout/salmon groups and a still unclear understanding of all the environmental problems in the Delta have blocked our suggestions.

The Act has been extended for one year and I would imagine that if there is not an improvement in proposals the Committee itself will recommend that the Act be discontinued. It's too bad because there is several million dollars sitting there to help the fishery but we simply are not getting the type of proposals that would do the same. It's easy to blame the DF&G but to be fair they sent out press releases asking for proposals. But while it is easy to propose building a fish cleaning station, or a boat ramp, it is not as easy to figure out a way to stock fish and keep them healthy until they are large enough to provide sport.

Let me add that the members of the Committee are an extremely strong and knowledgeable group of anglers, most of whom are involved on a daily basis with fishery issues. If we cannot make the fund work to improve the fishery I am not sure who could.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:08 am
mel


Posts: 2349

How can you not know what to do with a 7 million dollar surplus?" That's a lot of scratch! Hiring more DFG cops could be a start? Politically constipated"? Hahaha!
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 7:29 pm
Ken Jones


Posts: 9444
Location: California

You would think it would be easy...but it's not. Supposedly the money can only be spent on certain things and cannot be spent on things the DF&G should already be doing such as enforcement. It's to fund new programs not pay for existing F&G duties.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:30 am
fishmom


Posts: 231
Location: Benicia, CA

You would think it might have been used to help save fish during the recent mess at Prospect Island, instead of relying on volunteer efforts thrown together in the nick of time. Would an emergency fund for this sort of thing qualify as a "program"?

Probably not--it's too common-sense.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:31 am
Ken Jones


Posts: 9444
Location: California

Unfortunately to spend the stamp money requires an unbelievable bureaucratic process which, I guess, is the way they normally do things in Sacramento. Having watched the process for the past three years it's easy to see why so little seems to get done in Sacramento.
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