Inyo County Write Letter to CDFW in Favor of Postponing Fishing Season

LETTER FROM INYO COUNTY PUBLIC OFFICIALS INCLUDING DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH, BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, AND THE INYO COUNTY SHERIFF.

On behalf of the lnyo County Board of Supervisors, lnyo County Sheriff Jeff Hollowell, and lnyo County Public Health Officer, Dr. James Richardson, we are writing to request the postponement of the opening of trout fishing season scheduled for April 25,2020. Attached is a previously sent request from Dr. James Richardson.

On April 7 , 2O2O the lnyo County Board of Supervisors considered the possible impacts of the annual Fishing Opener the weekend of April 25-26,2O2O, on the public health and safety of local residents, communities and visitors.

Within lnyo County there is an insufficient quantity of critical healthcare infrastructure, including hospital beds, ventilators, and health care staff capable of adequately treating mass numbers of patients. For this reason, recreational travel to this area has been discouraged, developed recreation sites have been closed, and recreational short term lodging (including short-term rentals, vacation rentals, timeshares, hotels, motels, campgrounds, RV parks, and any other facility or property offering accommodation to renters for less than 30 days) throughout lnyo County has been prohibited.

The annual fishing opener is one of lnyo County’s most popular recreational events. Though the opener is a major driver of our local tourist economy and is beloved by locals and visitors alike, the event annually draws thousands of people into our small communities, potentially bringing disease into the area and burdening our health care system. We believe that Governor Newsom’s March L9 “Stay-At-Home” Executive Order requiring all Californians to stay in their place of residence through April 30, 2020 prohibits all non-essential visitation to the Eastern Sierra. Further, all non-essential businesses in lnyo County are closed, including dining, lodging, and camping options. The Bureau of Land Management and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power have recently announced that their land is closed to recreation. ln essence, should the fishing opener be held as scheduled, there will be no place for visitors to eat, sleep, or recreate.

We believe, based on these facts, that the Fishing Opener will draw significant numbers of people from throughout the state and beyond to fish in our region. This will exacerbate the transmission of COVID-19 and put additional strain on our already taxed health care services. We have begun seeing an increase in COVID19 cases and have extremely limited resources to manage them. It is likely that by the time of the fish opener our medical system will simply be overwhelmed.

Again, we respectfully request that the Fishing Opener and the CDFW fish stocking schedule for the opener be postponed until the Governor’s Stay-At-Home Order is lifted for the protection of public health and safety.

Please let us know if we can take any further action to expedite this request. Thank you in advance for your understanding and consideration of our situation.