The fishing interests have won a big round in their fight to stop the construction of a 10-megawatt geothermal plant on Hot Creek in the Eastern Sierra.
Judge Edward Denton of Mono County Superior Court ruled that the county supervisors had failed to follow guidelines of the California Environmental Quality Act when they issued a permit to the Bonneville Pacific Corp. last year to build the plant.
The supervisors' vote, incidentally, was 3-2, and the two who voted against the permit remain. The three others have since been replaced.
But nobody seems to know for sure what will happen next--whether Bonneville will abandon the project, the county will rework its environmental impact report for another vote or the company or county will appeal Denton's ruling.
The case has been a 30-month battle, the county and Bonneville on one side and California Trout and the State Department of Fish and Game, with their fly-fishing organization allies, on the other.
Opponents believe that pumping the sub-surface hot waters at a rate faster than they could be replenished would threaten the Hot Creek Fish Hatchery and the stream.
Jim Edmondson, Region 5 manager for CalTrout, said early on: "This geothermal plant means Hot Creek is to be murdered by starvation."
Hot Creek, set in a geothermal area of geysers and bubbling pools on the barren east side of California 395 north of Crowley Lake, was a pioneer project of the state's Wild Trout Stream program for catch-and-release fishing with artificial flies. Its prime stretch measures only about a mile, and it experiences 12 times the fishing pressure of Wild Trout streams farther north.
Thaddeus Taylor, a CalTrout activist in Bishop, said the recent ruling may mean only that "limitations will be how much care and concern will be engineered into the project."
But Phil Pister, a leading DFG fisheries biologist based in Bishop, said it's unlikely the stream would survive any intrusion. Another geothermal plant already exists several miles away.
"Hot springs used to bubble all around that place, and now they're dry," Pister said.
"For us to jeopardize that kind of resource is immoral. Technology is almost certain to come up with another way to produce electricity, but no one can come up with a substitute for a good trout stream."
Game wardens in New England, New York and Florida arrested 11 in a wide-ranging probe of deer and bear poaching that involved selling some of the game for use as aphrodisiacs in Asia. Authorities said that about 500 black bears died and vowed there would be more arrests. One of the motives included selling bear gall bladders for $50 to $200 each to Koreans in New York City.
"Many of these (bear) parts were being sold for sort of medicinal or aphrodisiac purposes," said Walter E. Bickford, commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
The 2 1/2-year investigation, code-named Operation Berkshire, involved wildlife officials in five states. An official of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said his agency would ask the Justice Department to seek federal charges.
Tony Adams, Midwest representative for the National Wild Turkey Federation, was on a tour of Folsom Lake with the California chapter's Howard Leach when they drove past Folsom State Prison.
"Turkeys!" Adams yelled, causing Leach to stop the car.
"Sure enough," Leach said later, "there were eight of the biggest toms I've seen this year, resting among the oaks, inside the fence."
The prison asked the DFG to get rid of the birds last year because they were setting off sensor alarms designed to detect attempted escapes. But the DFG couldn't catch them and apparently the birds settled in.
Adams, incidentally, is a former quarterback for Utah State, the Kansas City Chiefs and--speaking of turkeys--the Southern California Sun of the World Football League.
Northeastern California's rebounding pronghorn antelope population remains above 7,000 for the fourth straight year, according to the DFG, because of improved habitat through reduced livestock competition and in spite of 8,000 being taken by hunters in limited fall hunts over 25 years.
However, 27 antelope were killed near Tule Lake recently when a Southern Pacific freight train caught them in a cut through a hill where, perhaps hampered by a foot of snow, they were unable to escape.
The meat was donated to a home for youths in Modoc County.
Charlene Hanson will teach a beginning fly-tying class at Marriott's store in Fullerton on four straight Monday nights, starting next week. Marriott's fly-fishing school offers complete 1 1/2-day beginners' classes each weekend in February.. . . Two-time world points champion Jeff Jacobs of El Cajon will compete in the Kahuna Western Winter Jet Ski championships at Marine Stadium in Long Beach Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. each day.