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Browsing the archives for the Scott River & Valley category.

Buzzed by red helicopter this morning

Agriculture - California, California water, CORRUPTION, Dept. Fish & Game, Salmon and fish, Scott River & Valley, State gov, Threats to agriculture, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

PNP comment: This is an email sent by Quartz Valley cattle rancher, John Menke, to Scott Valley Protect Our Water Vice-President Mark Baird on May 6, 2014.

The DFG Wardens have kicked-off the season in their typical arrogant style! I saw the helicopter fly over my home at the south end of Scott Valley around 9 a.m. — Editor Liz Bowen


Jennifer and I were buzzed twice by a low flying red helicopter this morning while changing water in our east hayfield.  Tried to get its number but when I retrieved our binoculars from our 4-Runner the shadow disallowed an ID when it buzzed the second time 2 or 3 minutes after the first pass.

Why they chose to circle is beyond me since Emigrant Creek is dry and our diversion is nearly 2 miles away as a crow flies on Shackleford Creek.  The low chopper bothered our cattle and that made us upset.  

They came from the north end of Quartz Valley coming along the front range of the Marble Mountains traveling south then went up Mill Creek over your diversion Mark and then over us along Mill Creek Road near the bridge over Emigrant Creek near our pasture gate where both our pickup and 4-Runner were parked I having just fed our bulls down the road with the pickup.

So I drove immediately to the Scott Valley Airport and found Steve McDonald and D. Beck, CDFW wardens, just having gotten out of the red chopper.  Not knowing who they were but having seen two warden vehicles in the airport parking lot, I walked directly toward the helicopter that was sitting on the ground with 4 men standing and talking in front it with the rotor stopped.

 I passed by Bob Johnson inside the open airport gate next to the parking lot and told them of my concern and asked who the people were—their response was the “commies”.  

I was rather direct asking what was up when I came to the two wardens.  Beck put me off telling me he had to go to the bathroom so I gave the impression that that desire was just a brushoff.  So at that point with Beck walking away I had a typical conversation with McDonald.  

He said they were surveying for 1600 violations.  He said he is now the head warden for our area and Beck works for him and handles Quartz Valley.  

We three had a 5-minute conversation mainly me telling them my history of research with CDFG on deer back in the old days when men were men without agendas.  They listened but appeared not to care.  I told them I suspected Craig Tucker was in the chopper so that is why I came over to the airport.

Remember McDonald was the one that a few years back told Jennifer and me that he was looking forward to that summer since coho spawner returns had been high the previous fall therefore he would have a higher likelihood of arresting ranchers for take with more coho salmon juveniles in the streams.




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Stormy debate between environmentalists, ranchers over river flows

Agriculture - California, California water, Mark Baird, Over-regulations, Property rights, PROTESTS, Salmon and fish, Scott River & Valley, Shasta River, Siskiyou County, State gov, Threats to agriculture, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality, Wildlife

This was the article in today’s Record Searchlight-
Grateful thanks to all who showed up in support of our friends in Siskiyou county! — Rally Sally


Stormy debate between environmentalists, ranchers over river flows



Craig Tucker addresses the California Regional Water Quality Control Board's North Coast Region staff at a meeting in Redding on Wednesday.


Photo by Jenny Espino // Buy this photo

Above photo: Craig Tucker addresses the California Regional Water Quality Control Board’s North Coast Region staff at a meeting in Redding on Wednesday.

A coalition trying to persuade state water officials to extend protection to a group of parched rivers running dry amid a deep drought clashed today with ranchers who say they already are hurting with water shortages.
“We have nothing left to give. There is nothing left we can compromise. We’re broke,” said Mark Baird, a rancher who is with Scott Valley Protect Our Water.
Both sides were in Redding for a North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board public workshop. The board is accepting public comments through next Friday as it identifies flow-impaired waterways. An updated report goes before the regional board on June 19, and the state will act on the report in late fall, followed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency toward the end of the year or early 2015.
Environmentalists, fishing and tribal groups who’ve banded together want the board to list Scott River, Shasta River, upper main Eel River, Mattole River and the Russian River tributaries Maacama Creek and Mark West Creek.
The rub is the Scott River.
The coalition said that if the river isn’t listed this year, its next chance won’t come for another four years, and threatened coho salmon and other aquatic species cannot wait.
“I think it’s difficult to deny that the Scott River, as well as the Shasta River to a lesser extent, are flow impaired,” said Erica Terence, who lives in Siskiyou County and represents the Klamath Riverkeeper. “We’re just operating a couple of years behind and constantly playing catch up. The fact of the matter is we cannot wait that long.”
The group has been petitioning the board on the matter since 2010, said Terence, questioning whether politics has gotten in the way of action by the state.
Riverkeeper and the Karuk Tribe were successful last year in their lawsuit against the Montague Water Conservation District to provide more water for the coho salmon in the Shasta River. The irrigation district settled, agreeing to provide from 2,250 acre-feet of water a year to 11,000 acre-feet from the Dwinnell Dam, which creates Lake Shastina, so there is enough water for the endangered fish downstream in the river.
Ranchers fought back, arguing that the board staff is working with old data provided to them by environmental groups they feel lack credibility. Some argued the state’s water supply problems are the result of forest mismanagement, and they cited the most recent salmon run as being one of the strongest in a century.
Tom Pease, a steer rancher, said it is unfair to blame ranchers for the Scott River’s low flows. Annals for Scott Valley note tributaries and the river dries up in the summer, he said.
“It happens every year. It happens forever,” he said.
Liz Bowen, a state of Jefferson sympathizer who runs PieNPolitics.com, a site about land, water and private property issues in Siskiyou County, said weary ranchers don’t want to be slapped with more regulations.
“Significant work has been done to improve nature’s damage. Additional regulations are not going to improve the river. It’s already been improved,” she said following the meeting.
She said the lack of snowpack this season and three consecutive dry years were to blame for parts of the river going dry.
“You cannot make a one-size fits all,” Bowen told the board staff taking the public’s comment.
Riverkeeper brought to the hearing pictures taken last September that showed a dry river bed.
The enlarged photo drew snickers and groans from skeptical ranchers. The reaction was similar when Craig Tucker, Karuk Tribe Klamath coordinator, said he sympathized with people whose lives are tied up in ranching but there had to be a balance with those who are downstream and depend on fishing.
“We think that the first step to recovery is acknowledging that there is a problem,” he said. “We all have to learn how to share limited resources. There is just a finite supply of water.”

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml


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Scott River flow has increased

John Menke Ph.D., Scott River & Valley

Info send by John Menke Ph,D.

Saturday, February 15, 2014 AM


Scott River flow now is 2430 cfs and dropping slowly.  This is still well above the 72-year median flow for mid-February (see gold triangles on the graph).  Nice to have this long-term flow record!


Record for this date is 7180 cfs in 1958.  That record flow year must have been the flow level that historically flushed French Creek decomposed granite (DG) sand out of the Scott River and into the Klamath River.  The old timers tell us that French Creek always has put out large amounts of DG.  With flushing of DG out of the Scott River, there would then be spawning gravels available in abundance for redd formation.  So this is another cyclic process that determines salmon populations in the Scott River Watershed.


We got 0.19 inches of rain over night at our ranch in Quartz Valley making a total of 3.85 inches so far in February.  That fills our soil profile water holding capacity in our pastures.  Mill Creek is running very high and subirrigating our pastures as it fills the subsurface gravels from West to East over to Emigrant Creek.  So the drought is over for us since our Marble Mountain lakes storage is certainly full and spilling at this time.

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Fresh photos of Scott Valley from Mel Fechter

Photos, Scott River & Valley


Rockside Ranch 102713

Oct 28, 2013
by Mel Fechter

View Album
Play slideshow

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2013 Scott Watershed Information Forum is Oct. 24

Scott River & Valley


Wednesday October 23, 2013

9 am  to noon

Fort Jones Community Center

Phone: 530-467-5511 or Email: coordsrwc@sisqtel.net



9:00         Sign In

9:05       Welcome & Introductions – Marilyn Seward, SRWC Board Chair

9:15 to 11:30       Presentations:         


v   “Forecasting Stream Runoff in California”

David Rizzardo, PE Division of Flood Management, Department of Water Resources


“Water Master Service – How it works” – John Clements –GEI Consultants

 “Sugar Creek Water Yield Study”
Ray Haupt

v  “NRCS Forestry Equip Program” James Donahey – Yreka Field Office.

**************Coffee and Snack Break****************

SRWC Activities Update – Coordinator

            Beaver management, Riparian Planning

“11:30-12:00    Round-Robin Reporting on Activities in the Scott Watershed or Siskiyou County

                        CDFG, BLM, USFS, USFWS, Community members, others.

12:00     Wrap-up, Thank You & Close

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Interesting article on Scott River Groundwater from Water Law Journal

Agriculture - California, Greenies & grant $, Lawsuits, Scott River & Valley, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

Right Doctrine, Wrong Groundwater: The Environmental Law Foundation’s Flawed Attempt To Extend Public-Trust Protection To Groundwater


Bryan Barnhart
LL.M., McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
J.D., Hastings College of Law
June 26, 2013

In Environmental Law Foundation, et al. v. State Water Resources Control Board, et al., Case No. 34-2010-80000583, three plaintiff organizations (collectively, ELF) claim that California’s Public Trust Doctrine requires the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) and Siskiyou County (County) to regulate groundwater that is hydraulically connected to the navigable Scott River (Scott Groundwater). Although ELF’s legal theory is sound, ELF chose the wrong case to test it. The Scott Groundwater already is subject to public-trust protections that are set forth in an existing Siskiyou County Superior Court Decree. Before it asks another Court to issue a new order based on a novel public-trust theory, ELF should seek better enforcement of the existing Decree.

I. Background.

The Scott River system underwent a statutory adjudication in the 1970′s. The Board quantified and prioritized all rights to water within the system, issued a comprehensive final order, and submitted that order to the Siskiyou County Superior Court for review. In 1980, that Court entered a Decree that the order, and that barred all subsequent assertions of rights to water from the system.

The Scott River system adjudication was unique because the Legislature gave the Board express statutory authority to allocate the Scott Groundwater. See Cal. Water Code § 2500.5. The Board determined that the Scott Groundwater included all groundwater within 500 feet of the Scott River’s surface flows (500-Foot Strip) and allocated the River’s surface flows and regulated pumping of groundwater within the 500-Foot Strip. It did not allocate or restrict pumping of groundwater outside of the 500-Foot Strip. The Court approved the Board’s 500-Foot Strip determination and Scott Groundwater allocations without modification. Although issued three years before National Audubon, the Decree includes many safeguards for fish, wildlife, and the River’s natural flow that are consistent with the Public Trust Doctrine explicated in National Audubon.1

The Board and the County have limited authority to protect the Scott Groundwater under the current Decree. The Board can ask the Court to modify the Decree, issue a cease and desist order to any violator of the Decree’s terms, and/or refer recalcitrant over-pumpers to California’s Attorney General. While the Decree does not give the County any powers, the County does have independent authority to operate a well-drilling permitting system.

Real Decree-enforcement power rests, however, in the Scott River system’s watermaster. Only the watermaster has legal authority to measure surface-water diversions and groundwater extractions within the 500-Foot Strip and to arrest and criminally prosecute violators of the Decree’s terms. Neither the Board nor the County has direct control over the watermaster’s actions.

PNP comment:

READ more at the above link and also check out the comment by Scott Valley resident Sari Sommarstrom regarding the fact that there is no watermaster designated for this arbitrary area that interacts with the Scott River. I say “arbitrary,” because a pencil-line was squiggly-wiggly drawn around irrigation wells back around 1980, which made them part of the Scott River’s groundwater adjudicated system. Some wells are within 200 feet of the river and some are, as Sari states, over a mile away. Our situation is extremely unique and, yes, the Greenies use whatever means to discount the truth and facts.

I’ve been attending and reporting (as a local news reporter and landowner) on meetings regarding Scott River and water flows, including significant instream flow and temperature studies, for over 30 years.

Scott River water makes up only 4 percent, yes 4 percent, of the entire Klamath River system. And most of Scott River water flows into the Klamath during the winter’s higher flows from storms. Scott River is completely wild with no dams, except beaver dams, on the river. I could go on and on, but I think you get the drift. — PNP Editor, and owner of property that the Scott River flows through, Liz Bowen.

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Researchers propose tool to improve stream habitat in California’s Scott River

Agriculture - California, Salmon and fish, Scott River & Valley, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

May 6, 2013

U.C. Davis News and Information

A team of University of California, Davis, scientists is developing a groundwater management tool that could lead to better streamflow conditions for salmon and steelhead in northern California’s Scott River Valley, which provides critical fish habitat within the Klamath Basin.

This mountain valley also supports an agricultural economy composed of small family farms and ranches, raising alfalfa hay, pasture, and cattle. Regulatory agencies, farmers, ranchers and the local community are working to find win-win solutions for both fish habitat and agriculture.

“For most other rivers in California, summer and fall water flows are entirely dictated by dams that have water behind them,” said Thomas Harter, a Cooperative Extension groundwater hydrologist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources who led the study. “Scott River is very dependent on the groundwater system.”

The 57-mile-long, undammed Scott River is a tributary of the Klamath River, and portions of it are designated as a federal and state Wild and Scenic River. A combination of irrigated agriculture in Scott River Valley, a lack of streamside shade on the river, and climate change has led to warmer river temperatures and reduced late summer and fall stream flows on the river, particularly in dry years, Harter said.

In a recent report to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, the researchers summarized the hydrology of the Scott Valley, gathering data about rainfall, climate, soils, land use, irrigation and groundwater flows distributed across the basin for the past 21 years. Harter will combine this information into an integrated hydrologic model, expected to be complete in early 2014.

Read it:


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Siskiyou court ruling bolsters water rights

Agriculture - California, Dept. Fish & Game, Property rights, Ranch life, Salmon and fish, Scott River & Valley, Shasta River, Threats to agriculture, Water rights

Siskiyou court ruling bolsters water rights


 Capital Press

Issue Date: January 9, 2013

By Steve Adler


Rex Houghton stands at a headgate on the Little Shasta River. A lawsuit established that Houghton and other farmers in the region do not need a permit from state fish and wildlife officials to irrigate their crops.
Photo/Kathy Coatney

In an important decision that protects private water rights while maintaining environmental protections, a Siskiyou County Superior Court judge has ruled that a state agency overstepped its authority in trying to regulate farmers’ water use.

The decision by Judge Karen L. Dixon determined that the California Department of Fish and Game had exceeded its authority by requiring farmers and ranchers to obtain a permit from DFG—called a Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement or “1600 permit”—before they irrigate their crops. In 2011, the Siskiyou County Farm Bureau filed suit against DFG—which became known as the Department of Fish and Wildlife this month—on behalf of members who farm along the Scott and Shasta rivers.

“This ruling establishes an important, statewide precedent,” Siskiyou County Farm Bureau President Jeff Fowle said. “There is no doubt that if the department had been able to expand its authority here, it would have tried to regulate water rights elsewhere in the state. This decision reaffirms that water rights are administered solely by the courts and State Water Resources Control Board. Now, we can turn our attention to finding collaborative ways to improve conditions for fish while maintaining the sustainability of our farms and ranches.”

Fowle said farmers and ranchers in Siskiyou County were very pleased with the judge’s decision and that it is now time to move forward in addressing natural resource issues.

“We would like to get away from the whole idea of agencies managing problems into perpetuity and begin actually solving problems to the benefit of all involved,” he said.

The case centered on Section 1602 of the Fish and Game Code, which requires individuals to notify the state agency and potentially obtain a Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement before conducting certain activities that alter a streambed. Permits have been required under the section for gravel mining, construction of push-up dams, replacing infrastructure and other projects that physically alter streambeds—but DFG began notifying landowners along the Scott and Shasta that they would need to obtain permits simply to open an existing headgate or activate an existing pump in order to irrigate their crops.

In her decision, Judge Dixon determined that the state Legislature “did not intend to include the act of diverting water to a water right to be within the regulatory scope of Section 1602.”

Dixon wrote that had the state agency prevailed, it would have had an economic impact on water rights holders that would have been disproportionate to others within the scope of the statute.

“The economic impact would reasonably be severe to the point that it would jeopardize the continued existence of the small agricultural water rights holder,” she wrote. “Surely the Legislature did not intend such outcomes. The effect on the agricultural industry in California could be devastating and, in turn, the resultant loss to the state economy would be disastrous.”

The judge also ruled that the defendants must pay court costs and the plaintiffs’ attorney fees.

In its lawsuit, the county Farm Bureau said the requirement would have been a “fundamental change” in the application of the code that would have jeopardized both water rights and property rights for farmers and ranchers.

“We understand that the department wants to protect salmon in the rivers, but it has many other ways to do that already,” said Rex Houghton, the immediate past president of the county Farm Bureau. “Farmers will continue to work collaboratively with the agency to improve conditions for fish. The outcome does not change the notification requirement for activity that physically alters a streambed, but it is important to establish that the department can’t require a permit for farmers simply to exercise their water rights.”

Like Fowle, Houghton said he hopes that everyone involved can “all sit down at the table and work through some of the issues that need to be addressed so we can quit using all of our resources to defend ourselves from their next plan of what they think is best for us.”

Houghton said the ruling should send a clear message to the agencies that “California agriculture will stand together and fight an issue that is going to affect the whole state. Everyone supported us up and down the state and I’d like to thank everyone for that.”

Because of the statewide implications of the case, the Siskiyou County Farm Bureau received support for the lawsuit from the California Farm Bureau Federation and county Farm Bureaus throughout the state. Attorney Darrin Mercier of Yreka, who is also a rancher in the Shasta Valley, argued the case on behalf of the county Farm Bureau.

Jack Rice, CFBF environmental and natural resources counsel, said it is important to understand the scope of the decision.

“It does mean that water users do not need to notify the Department of Fish and Wildlife prior to exercising their water right. But the department must still be notified of any activity that substantially alters a streambed, bank or channel, even if that alteration is needed in order to exercise your water right,” he said.

Rice emphasized that in addition to being an important decision that reaffirms water rights and how they are administered, the decision also opens the door to finding new ways to cooperate to improve conditions for farmers, ranchers and fish.

“Farm Bureau recognizes this opportunity and is committed to supporting its members in working with the agencies and other stakeholders to find solutions that are not focused on conflict,” he said.

(Steve Adler is associate editor of Ag Alert. He may be contacted at sadler@cfbf.com.)

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.


NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted
material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit
research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

This information and much more that you need to know about the ESA,
the Klamath River Basin, and private property rights can be found at The
Klamath Bucket Brigade’s web site – http://klamathbucketbrigade.org/index.html
please visit today.

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Audio of November DFG/Normandeau Assoc. meeting on the in-stream water flow study on Scott River

Dept. Fish & Game, Scott River & Valley



This is the audio from the first DFG/Normandeau Associates meeting on the Scott River.

The meeting was taken over by landowners and patriots who do not TRUST DFG or Normandeau.

 This is on the Normandeau website.

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News in Jefferson Country 12-3-12

Dept. Fish & Game, Jefferson News Service, KSYC radio, News in Jefferson Country, Property rights, PROTESTS, Scott River & Valley, Siskiyou County

DFG workshops designed to hurt agriculture



DFG meetings are bogus


 The above links explain the DFG workshops boycotted by landowners in Scott Valley on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012.

Heard on KSYC radio 103.9 FM “The Joe Show” at 5:45 p.m. daily.

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