SSFFC and KRFF clubs in the News

Valerie Cassity/Special to the Sun
Who in the Kern Valley hasn’t looked at the trash that litters the shores of our river and lake and thought, “Someone should do something about this?”  Guy Jeans, who owns Kern River Fly Shop in Kernville, decided to do just that and went to Washington, D.C., from Dec. 3-6, lobbying our congressional representatives for funding to take care of the litter problem along the Kern River.      

Earlier this year Jeans received the international "Lee Wulff Award" for his work in helping the Golden Trout, and Kern River Rainbow Trout from the International Federation of Fly Fishers.  He runs a fly fishing school and guides fly fishing trips on the Kern River year-round, and has always been appalled by the sheer volume of trash that he has to pick up each time before he takes a client on the river. After years of asking the Forest Service for help with this issue and being told they do not have the funding to deal with it, Jeans teamed up with Trout Unlimited to go to our elected officials and request that additional funding be given to the federal agency to deal with this visual blight. Along with Jeans was Brian Adams from the Bakersfield Fly Fishing Club the Kern River Fly Fishers. “I was representing all of the Southern Sierra Fly Fishers, as well as the Southwest Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers and both of us were there as a team to defend the place we love so much. Together we rocked it and got our message across with passion,” said Jeans.
The Southern Sierra Fly Fishers, a nonprofit member group of fly fishing enthusiasts from the Kern River Valley, were awarded a grant toward the Kern River Rainbow Project in the amount of $17,129 plus additional funding not to exceed $10,000 toward the hatchery electrical, water distribution, and wellheads. Kern Community Foundation has also offered funding of up to $27,000 to cover any additional costs related to inflationary or unforeseen costs with establishment of a reliable water supply to meet the needs of the Kernville Hatchery to raise native brood stock Kern River rainbow trout.
In Washington, D.C., Jeans and Adams met with Trout Unlimited’s Director of Government Affairs Keith Curley and Brian Zupancic, Campaign Director for Renewable Energy. The mission was to see as many of the members from Congress they could, and Trout Unlimited invited them to speak to representatives about the concerns of the Kern watershed and have somebody there that actually works and spends a lot of time in the forest and wilderness areas. “The effect of having us there and that we came all the way from Kernville and Bakersfield to talk to them worked very well,” Jeans said.
While there, the two men met with aides from the offices of Jim Costa, Barbara Boxer, and Diane Feinstein.  Unfortunately, although Jeans and Adams went to Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s office three times in two days, they were unable to meet with any of his aides.  However, the meetings with the representatives they did reach went very well. “I started talking about what I do and unloaded about what I’ve seen going on and about the trash, overcrowding, and the fecal matter and how the Forest Service doesn’t have any money to take care of the areas that are getting pounded by forest users,” explained Jeans. “Brian and I painted very vivid pictures in these folks’ minds and reminded them of the importance of our native fish in the area….including our state fish the Golden Trout.  Eyes rose up as I talked about all three of our native trout in our area and the importance of their existence.”

Jeans holds great hope that his time in Washington, D.C, will prove fruitful for the Kern River and that some funding is added to the Sequoia National Forest Service budget in order to help mitigate the trash problem.  “I asked [our representatives] to please urge Congress to not cut any more funds to the U.S. Forest Service but instead give them more money, especially the Sequoia National Forest, and that we need to protect these places. Our presence did make a difference