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Dan Fallon's World of Fly fishing

Column nr. 11  2006  


2006 Blanco Clean Water Cup Winner Jim Wilcox Plumas County California


  It is with deep personal pleasure I award this years Blanco Clean Water Award to Jim Wilcox Geomorphic Restoration Specialist, Feather River Coordinated Resource Management (CRM) Project Manager Plumas County California.

The first Blanco Clean Water Award was inspired by Berkeley California 5th grader Joel Blanco and his classmates who educated and guided community leaders to clean up a creek that ran through their Thousand Oakes Elementary School. When I read the original story in the newspaper I quickly realized this young man and his associates must be recognized! It has taken two years to find a worthy second recipient of the Blanco Clean Water Cup (designed and hand crafted by noted San Francisco Ceramic Artist Shelly Simon).

A few months ago I wrote two stories on my adventures fly fishing the fabled Feather River watershed which exists in the majestic Sierra Nevada Cascade Range, in a several day period I fished from Chester down through Quincy ending in the meadowed Graeagle area. During this trip I was introduced to Jim Wilcox by the highly professional ladies who run the Visitor's Bureau for Plumas County www.plumascounty.org or Phone (800)-326-2247 ask for Susy.

  Mr. Wilcox has in my mind become a kind of Aqua Regenerating Wizard (ARW) with his ground breaking system of installing permanent dirt plugs complete with original transplanted vegetation into highly eroded stream and creek banks (see photos before and after). Eon's of torrential rains, natural erosion process's, man encouraged and sustained damage such as cattle grazing have destroyed many streams, rivers, creeks because high volume rains cut deep and wide over long periods of time and once a stream losses its natural meander or course many forces are unleashed! Water temperatures rise quickly, insects, fish, birds the entire natural order is affected. Mr. Wilcox and his teams rebuild the eroded banks and allow the waters to find their natural meander, the results in only a few years time are complete healing! Jim and his many associates begin their arduous journey toward actual project implementation with surveys, study groups, state, federal, fish & game agencies, environmental groups of every persuasion conduct scientific studies with local land owners to determine if the rejuvenation process falls within accepted guidelines. Before, during and after studies begin grant applications and funding prospects must be pursued. The totality of Jim's bank of skill's and responsibilities is sobering!



  When the survey's, studies, funding, sort out Jim begins the plug making healing process during summer months, projects are closely monitored year round via snow mobile. The cost of moving dirt, vegetation is controlled carefully by using dirt and materials available on sight.

  Pure Water Everywhere?

  In my sportsmen's life I have been eye witness to a complete turn around in respect for and careful management of North American waters. Streams are routinely cleaned up, dams destroyed, native salmon migration waters restored here in California. In the West many counties like Plumas have begun rethinking water rejuvenation in regard to stream, river restoration. In my fly fisher life I have witnessed up close and personal cattle drinking and walking in prime river trout habitat because fences are down, I have watched many fields of Alfalfa sprayed and drowned in river water then witness that same crop dusted water pumped back into the river. The positive news is very few shopping carts, old tires, wrecked cars, rusting metal can be found in California's's prime wild rivers and streams. Yosemite's pristine lakes, Sacramento River, Truckee River, American and Yuba and many other rivers run clean all the time!

The Blanco Clean Water Cup
(designed and hand crafted
by noted San Francisco
Ceramic Artist Shelly Simon)

  Real Water History

  Of course anyone with a passing understanding of the real history of water here in North America would agree that it is the white Anglo Saxon good old European migrant adventurer, rancher, farmer industrialist, gold, silver miner who single handedly destroyed about 75% of all North American rivers, streams, creeks, watersheds of any significance. It was either unbridled mining, farming, burning of wild grass's, greed, cattle grazing, arrival of vast herds of humans paving every square inch of soil they could get their K-MART Manifest Destiny grimy little white hands on their Pilgrim's! 

  That in fact is the real truth about North American Waters until about 25 years ago when the green revolution slowly began and gradually respect and harmony have been restored in some areas....

  Respect for water goes back to pre biblical times, Mesopotaimians, cave men, (rituals) Bedouins, hunter gatherer's, Roman's, (Aqueducts!) Greeks. Native aboriginal peoples world wide respected and revered water and it's attendant gods! Native North American tribes such as the Karok, Shasta, Pomo, Maidu and Chumash all had elaborate Creation Myths in which Coyote the Trickster and water blood of Earth factor in. Natives who lived off abundant Salmon and trout and the birds that hunted these clean healthy waters allowed areas to stand idle and regenerate for years because native Americans were excellent first environmentalists who respected all creatures, natural elements and the wind and waters.

  The proof of their good stewardship is constantly being excavated by archeologists who uncover evidence hunting and fishing grounds rotated to allow fish and game to become wild again and unafraid. Western man seems to not covet any of the natural respect, reverence for mother nature native people have always embraced. 

  It is no great discovery understanding western man's rather soulless behavior in respect to the natural order and the spirits who truly rule this universe we have for so long taken for granted.... Jim Wilcox is a rare breed of modern scientist in that he is hands on goal oriented and has 16 years of success under his belt. When one meets Jim your aware he is a quiet no brag lover of nature kind of fellow. Having spent time with Mr. Wilcox on sight listening to him explain the rejuvenating dirt plug process and his humble awe at the results. One quickly realizes this man and his Plumas County team are very special indeed, they not only walk the walk Jim and his crews have completed 35 restoration projects healing over 25 miles stream channels, Mr. Wilcox you and your teams have earned the 2006 Blanco Clean water Cup!.


© Phil Frank 2002

Illustrated By Phil Frank,
San Francisco Chronicle Cartoonist, creator of "Farley "

"Alas my fisher friend be prepared my people will certainly wish to celebrate my return and your arrival." (Sera Monastery looms just over horizon.)

"Yes your Holiness, I surmised a bit more gamboling might be in our future. Jason and Jive have both the plans for Pyramid Power Grids and the formula and sample of the other world faire cloth to be used by your people in up coming International Kite Olympics. My nite dreams have become most vivid since the ordination OHO Outer Head of Order were bestowed."

"I will give you the most rare secrets held by all Dali Lama's from the beginning thus fulfilling my pact with those who voted you into this exulted position, now my dear Fletcher please don't let this great honor go to your grey head! You are not exactly my superior nor the Pope's, we are in a word equals as of your ordination. Now there is the tiny matter of your also being a Marine Corp Reserve General and USA Secretary of State, my boy it appears your plate is quite full."

  Fletcher Quill, His High Holiness the Dali Lama, long time pal's Jive Boy and master invisible surfer, fly tier Jason Aki gaze at the Sera Monastery looming like an ancient mystic monolith only five miles away..... Six days of fly fishing catching and releasing giant fresh water fish distant genetic cousin to the huge Tamin was sublime, festivities centered around Quill's 50th Birthday complete with messages from many old friends and the company of Dali Lama have cloaked the adventure in cosmic oneness.

"Fletcher in lieu of our ongoing serious partying of late, one would welcome a period of tranquility!" But, alas my people hungry for my return will insist on around four days of feasting, chanting, Mandela making and so on."

  Quill's satellite cell phone blinks it's the Cowboy.

"What is this holy man stuff I been hearing General Quill, are you getting all pacifist on me there son?"

"No worries Mr. President, new title won't effect my other duties. What is new with you sir?"

"These pesky November elections got the whole hen house in a twist, looks like we are going back to the usual corporate stealing, media manipulation, international regime changing and the same bag of old tricks. Those peace loving head in sand democrats will be coming up here like ravenous locusts I'm feared."

"It don't look good sir, of course you have had a long run. Any other news on General Duke Parker sir?

"Guess I can let the kitty out of the sack your Holiness, we set this deal up so Duke can stay underground and become far more effective, he is wanted in 8 countries son!"

"Please Mr. President drop the Holiness title, I'm just a simple fishermen as always."

"Parker just left my office an hour ago, we have a few small jobs for him in South America, North Korea, and the Middle East. Now that he is officially dead his slate is clean. He told me he will meet you at Raven's Haven when his work is done."

"Ahhh, sir is that the best course for our current problems, removals sir?"

"You getting soft on me Marine, next thing you will be lecturing me on use of diplomatic procedures and all that antiquated nonsense, hey Secretary Of State?"

"No sir diplomacy seems way out of the hunt these days, simply sitting down and talking instead of gun powder politics, at best a vacant dream..."

  The Dali Lama has been sitting close by listening to Quill and the Cowboy's chin music.

"Fletcher my friend now that we are equals of a sort, may I ask you a personal question or two?"

"My pleasure your Holiness."

"Is it true you actually have robbed graves to acquire your special feathers?"

"Much in the rumor mill is flotsam and jetsam your Holiness, yes I do have contacts at various digs that help me. But, grave robbing I think not!"

"This ongoing novel your writing "Care & Feeding Your Blond?"

"Geeze that reminds me, have to send latest chapter how to answer questions like " Is my butt too big?"

"Interesting how diverse your interests, The Pope and I spend all our time worrying, pondering the state of mankind, perhaps your eclectic menu of interests allows you a broader perspective?"

"Man, great chapter title "Blond Broader Perspective" love that!"

  Cell call from her blondness breaks the mood....

"Your lowliness just a call from your boy Keith Richards, he wants me to send him samples of your special Hollywood Streamers?"

"You mean the pubic hair streamers sweety?"

"Listen Quill, you are an embarrassment your weirdness"

"Can't wait to see that perfect face, gotta run dear more feasting coming up"

Sera Monastery party palace? Her blondness not showing enough respect?  


Read about Fletcher Quill in earlier chapters:

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12 
13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21 
22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30 
  32  33  34  35  36  37  38  39 
40  41  42  43  44  45  46  47  48 
 49  50  51


Written by Dan Fallon © 2006
Illustrations by Phil Frank © 2003
Photos by Dan Fallon © 2006

For Dan Fallon's earlier and later columns; visit the table of contents


Read Dan Fallons biography and contact info



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