Tight Lines: Winery seeks permit to promote salmon recovery

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Central California winery has submitted a federal application to help foster the recovery of coho and steelhead salmon.

E&J Gallo Winery has formally applied for an Enhancement of Survival Permit; the application was filed with the National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS. The winery would use the permit, if granted, to promote the recovery of Coho and steelhead salmon. The permit would last for three years and would permit E&J Gallo Winery to conduct incidental takes of the salmon species.

“The Enhancement of Survival Permit will authorize the [winery] to take … Coho Salmon and CCC Steelhead incidental to the implementation of the covered activities … incidental to other lawful uses of the enrolled property,” the Federal Register notice on E&J Gallo’s application stated. “In addition to meeting other criteria, actions to be performed under the Enhancement of Survival Permit must not jeopardize the existence of federally listed species.”

Coho (endangered) and steelhead (threatened) salmon are both listed on the Endangered Species Act.

The permit sought by E&J Gallo falls under the Safe Harbor Agreement.

“Under a Safe Harbor Agreement, participating landowners voluntarily undertake management activities on their property to enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefiting species listed under the [Endangered Species Act],” federal officials stated.

“Safe Harbor Agreements … encourage private and other non-federal property owners to implement conservation efforts for listed species by assuring property owners that they will not be subjected to increased property-use restrictions as a result of their efforts to attract listed species to their property and increase the numbers or distribution of these species already on their property,” the Federal Register notice of E&J Gallo’s permit application continued.

The permit, if approved, would apply to non-federal land at McMurray Ranch on Porter Creek (a tributary to the Russian River in Sonoma County).

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