Having lived in Anderson for 20 years, author Bob Madgic was surprised to discover a comprehensive guide of the Sacramento River had not been written.
“It is arguably one of the most important rivers in the world,” said Madgic.
It was a major void, according to Madgic. He then took up the task and wrote a book, The Sacramento: A Transcendent River, which he describes as being the only comprehensive guide on the river currently.
Madgic explained that richness of the Sacramento River by listing fish as an example. The river has four distinct salmon runs, one for each of the four seasons, which he claims no other river can boast.
“There are sturgeon, and it has the richest native trout species,” Madgic stated.
He added that the river was a major bird migratory route and had the richest wetlands second to the Everglades.
“If you think about it, the river supports agriculture, wildlife and recreation. I can’t think of another river in the world as important, and I’m not even sure which river would compare,” explained Madgic.
During his six year of researching and writing the book, one of the most surprising things Madgic discovered about the Sacramento River is that the original wetlands were destroyed by levees.
“The state started creating wetlands, which are artificially flooded, in the 1930s. Now there are several wetland habitats along the river,” Madgic said.
One of the biggest conservation efforts along the river has been trying to educate the public and leaders on riparian foliage.
“’Riparian’ refers to vegetated areas – forests, shrubs, grasses – that occupies the flood plain,” Madgic explained. “This is critical river habitat. It is not just a row of trees and bushes alongside the river as some believe.”
Major conservation efforts have been directed to restoring the riparian habitat, and organizations like River Partners of Chico and The Nature Conservancy of California are restoring thousands of square acres and hundreds of river miles with riparian habitat, he said.
“This is often in partnership with farmers and other local entities, who have come to realize that such habitat is best for the wellbeing of the river, flood control, populations of native species, the health of salmon and ultimately humans, including the health of the agricultural communities,” stated Madgic.
This is just one of many topics touched upon in his book about challenges facing the Sacramento River currently. Madgic also included a through history of the river, discusses the estuary and headwaters, as well as the many tributaries and the importance of them.
He also describes historical conservation efforts that helped correct the damage done from mining, and explains how the river supported Native American life, which is all just a small part of the Sacramento River’s history.
“It is the largest river to one of the world’s largest economies and it contributes too much of that,” Madgic said.
There are also over 190 photos in the book, some which depict the different wildlife the river sustains.
“Many of the creatures in the book are endangered… Photos convey thoroughly what words can’t, and I’m hoping it creates motivation on a broader part of the community to protect what we have,” Madgic explained.
Madgic said he will be holding a book siging at the Fitness Express in Anderson on Saturday, March 30, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., before doing an afternoon signing at Enjoy the Store in Redding from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The book can also be purchased by visiting www.bobmadgic.com, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 365-5852.
According to Madgic, by late March the book will be for sale in places like the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Enjoy the Store, Lisa’s Book Nook and Barnes & Noble.