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Browsing the archives for the Water rights category.

Great prime rib dinner last night!

Klamath River & Dams, Rich Marshall, Siskiyou County, Siskiyou Water Users Assoc, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality, Zinke - DOI Sec 2017

The fundraiser dinner sponsored by the Siskiyou Co. Water Users Assoc. was so good!  Grill Master Dave Tyler did an awesome job on the prime rib, Kathy Tyler and the ladies made three fabulous salads and the potato casserole was scrumptious! There was such a good turn out of about 200 people that they ran out of prime rib. Yep, bummer.

Richard Marshall, president of Siskiyou Water Users, kept the meeting rolling as MC.

Congressman Doug LaMalfa and his rep. Erin Ryan were there. Doug was ripping angry at Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, Alan Mikkelsen, and he asked us to write letters — right there — to DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke asking him to support saving the four hydro-electric Klamath dams.

Mikkelsen was quoted in the Sacramento Bee last Monday, Oct. 9, 2017 that the BOR would not stand in the way of the non-profit groups and TRIBES that want the dams out. What???? His boss, Secretary Zinke, has been quoted saying that dams shouldn’t be destroyed — they should be built. So which is it?

Or has Mikkelsen made a deal with the Devil!!!

Congressman LaMalfa got us — the audience — on video proclaiming the dams must stay.

Then two different attorneys offered their suggestions on the situation. James Buchal and Larry Kogan have fought ESA and water battles for decades. Some ideas are a bit different.

The Silent Auction was a hit with lots to choose from.

Thank you to all who attended and support SAVING the KLAMATH DAMS !!!!

— Editor Liz Bowen

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Action Alert — help fight WOTUS Waters of the U.S. rule

Federal gov & land grabs, Property rights, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

From California Farm Bureau Federation

September 20, 2017

Your Comments are Needed to Help DITCH the RULE

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers published a proposed rule to withdraw the 2015 waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The agencies need your input as part of the first step to revise the currently harmful definition of “waters of the United States.”

Fortunately, the 2015 WOTUS rule was never implemented because it was temporarily halted by federal courts. However, these court orders are temporary. We strongly support the current proposal to permanently eliminate the 2015 WOTUS rule, and now we must ensure a WOTUS definition that protects water quality without asserting federal regulatory power over puddles in farm fields.

Supporting the proposal to eliminate the 2015 WOTUS rule is essential for California farmers and ranchers. The 2015 rule has the potential to:

  • Create unnecessary regulatory burdens for farmers, ranchers, and others who depend on their ability to work the land

  • Increase costs for farmers, ranchers and others

  • Produce unfair confusion and uncertainty

Send your comments to the agencies TODAY to support the repeal of the illegal 2015 WOTUS rule. Comments are due by Wednesday, September 27.

In addition to providing written comments, the agencies will be holding a series of webinars to hear from stakeholders on recommendations to revise the definition of WOTUS. The agriculture industry webinar will take place on Tuesday, October 17.

Information on how to register is available on the EPA website. Registration for the webinar will close a week prior. Individuals or organizations wishing to provide verbal recommendations during the webinar will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information visit the Federal Register Notice or Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203.

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L.A. took their water and land a century ago. Now the Owens Valley is fighting back

Agriculture - California, California Rivers, California water, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

L.A. took their water and land a century ago. Now the Owens Valley is fighting back

Los Angeles Times

A century ago, agents from Los Angeles converged on the Owens Valley on a secret mission.

They figured out who owned water rights in the lush valley and began quietly purchasing land, posing as ranchers and farmers.

Soon, residents of the Eastern Sierra realized much of the water rights were now owned by Los Angeles interests. L.A. proceeded to drain the valley, taking the water via a great aqueduct to fuel the metropolis’ explosive growth.

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EPA Poised to Undo Obama’s Federal Power Grab

Clean Water ACT - EPA, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

A highly controversial rule from the Obama administration may finally be on its way out.

On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is going to put an end to the Obama administration’s federal power grab known as the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.

Specifically, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers are proposing to rescind the rule and, for the interim until a new rule is developed, recodify the regulations prior to the WOTUS rule.

The Trump administration should be commended for taking this critical action. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, through the Clean Water Act, were seeking to regulate almost every water imaginable.

For example, under the rule, federal agencies could have regulated certain man-made ditches and even dry land that may hold some water only a few days of the year after major rains.

The rule was so broad and subjective, property owners would have had a very difficult time even knowing what was subject to regulation. For that matter, the level of subjectivity was so great that even government officials enforcing the rule wouldn’t have been able to agree on whether specific waters could be regulated.

By trying to regulate almost every water, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers would have been forcing property owners to secure far more permits, including for normal activities such as farming.

The EPA and Army Corps now appear to recognize that protecting the environment doesn’t have to come at the expense of property rights and the rule of law. Critics will inevitably use scare tactics to say that getting rid of the WOTUS rule will harm the environment. The opposite is the case.

Getting rid of the rule now allows both the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to develop a new rule that is both clear and objective.

This will help property owners and improve compliance—and it will help the EPA and the Army Corps by providing them clarity and direction in their enforcement of the law. It will also, if properly drafted, allow states to play the primary role that was envisioned under the Clean Water Act, which explicitly recognized “the primary responsibilities and rights of states to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution.”

This is likely to provide greater environmental protection, since states are in a far better position to identify and address the unique environmental needs of their waters than the federal government.

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ new rule will hopefully properly define “waters of the United States.” For now, though, rescinding the WOTUS rule is the necessary start to that process.

http://dailysignal.com/2017/06/28/epa-poised-undo-obamas-federal-power-grab/?utm_source=TDS_Email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MorningBell&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWmpjMFptVXlOemd5TjJGaSIsInQiOiJ0alV1cmY2MjJsd0YzT3M4VlQ2ejc2dlNIbm1WRTdLRFpXUDZsSndwTllQNUNJd28ya3VyeGd1UFVqSVpORmZRYXZpTVcxNUZHaERMQktuRmJ2WUxZaXNRY1NvNFRuWWFRNmZRUGl1NHQyTFpwcjRJMGhzTHpyVFhUTGxLaVNNaSJ9

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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Court Says NO to Tribe’s Water Rights Claims

Tribes, Water rights

Redoubt News.com

May 15, 2017

Property Owners Win Summary Judgment Battle
in North Idaho ‘Water War’

By Rich Loudenback

(Gem State Patriot) – State District Court Judge Eric J. Wildman, presiding in the Coeur d’Alene-Spokane River Basin Adjudication (CSRBA), has ruled on motions for summary judgment regarding tribal water right claims filed by the United States.

Bob Bingham, Kootenai County Commissioner is the founder and past president of the North West Property Owners Alliance (NWPOA), one of the parties to the CSRBA. Although not actively involved in the Alliance any longer due to county obligations, he shared his read on this important ruling with Gem State Patriot News. The following are the most important points that stand out to him:

Water right claims really must be based upon the “primary purposes” of the federal reservation at the time it was created.

  • The court ruled the tribe cannot receive federal water rights for “secondary purposes”, i.e. things like commercial, municipal, industrial, instream flows for fish habitat, maintenance of lake levels in Lake Coeur d’Alene, water storage, power generation, aesthetics, recreation, religious, cultural, ceremonial, and maintenance of wetlands, springs, and seeps for game habitat and gathering activities.

  • The tribe is not entitled to water rights or any other right outside the boundary of the current reservation.

  • Because the tribe was provided land and the land was to reside, hunt, fish and raise crops”, the tribe has an implied right to water for those purposes and those purposes only.

  • The tribe’s domestic and agricultural water rights within the reservation are prior (established 1873) to other water rights within the reservation.

What is left to decide in future negotiations and/or court is the amount of water the tribe gets for domestic and farming activities and fishing and hunting within the boundaries of the reservation. This next round of litigation is called the “quantification phase.” That phase will seek to quantify the tribe’s water right quantity – if any -for each of the following:

  • Agriculture

  • Domestic uses

  • Fishing and hunting

Two points can be well defined; DOMESTIC – the tribe has <2100 actual members, AGRICULTURAL – the rates of required crop irrigation are well known.

For the other two; HUNTING – wildlife have no trouble living in the reservation boundaries with the natural ebb & flow of our climate, FISHING – the tribe has the lower 3rd of the lake to fish from, nothing interferes with their right to fish.

COMMENTS FROM NWPOA’S ATTORNEY

NWPOA’s attorney Norm Semanko, with the Idaho law firm of Moffatt Thomas, who also represents the North Idaho Water Rights Alliance and others in the case, confirmed that the CSRBA Court’s ruling was a positive one. “There is a lot to like. Judge Wildman determined that the primary purposes of the reservation are limited to agriculture, fishing and hunting, and domestic uses. All other purposes and the related claims were disallowed by the court. The judge found that the tribe has relinquished all of its rights and interests outside of the current reservation.”

Semanko further noted that the judge specifically rejected the broad “homeland” purpose of use for the reservation as overly broad (it would include every possible use of water) and contrary to law. The secondary purposes that were rejected by the court include industrial, commercial, water storage, power generation, aesthetics, recreation, and maintenance of Lake Coeur d’Alene lake levels – anything that isn’t agriculture, fishing, and hunting, or domestic.

“Importantly, the judge recognized that the tribe ceded the northern portion of the reservation, including approximately two-thirds of Lake Coeur d’Alene. In doing so, he relied directly on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Lake Case, thereby rejecting the tribe’s arguments in the CSRBA,” Semanko added.

The judge concluded that the tribe relinquished its off-reservation rights in prior agreements. The court ruled: “The language of the agreements is plain, unambiguous and absolute. It establishes that the Tribe gave up all of its off-reservation rights and interests.” “Accordingly, the tribe is not entitled to federal reserved water rights outside the boundaries of the reservation for instream flows, as a matter of law”, Semanko stated.

Also important, Judge Wildman found that the tribe’s domestic and agriculture water rights are limited to the lands within the current boundaries of the reservation and do not reach to places like the Rathdrum Aquifer. “There are no off-reservation rights”, Semanko observed.

“NWPOA and the other objectors prevailed on most of the important issues and are to be commended for a fine job of helping protect the water rights and private property interests of those living in the area,” Semanko concluded.

GETTING TO THE TRIBE

Back in February 2015, NWPOA director Jeff Tyler commented in his article ‘Watch For Water Wars’ in the Coeur d’Alene Press, “Getting to the Tribe, I have met with the representative of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and it was conveyed to me that their desire was to be a good partner in a process they did not ask for.

You see the Bureau Of Indian Affairs (federal government) files the claims for all tribes across the nation. They promise tribes that if they go along they can together control large amounts of state water worth millions of dollars in negotiated settlements. (You would think they have learned from previous government promises)

The Tribe spokesman told me “The Tribe is most interested in making sure that the lake and its tributaries have enough water to protect future generations of people, animals, and fish living in the basin and that we have enough water for people living on the reservation for the foreseeable future into perpetuity.”

Does that sound like they are only interested in the waters of the Reservation land, about 345,000 acres, in which they only own around 25 percent with about 2,000 tribe members? I would like to trust our local Tribe but Ronald Reagan once famously quoted “trust but verify.”

http://srba.state.id.us/NORTHIDAHO.HTM

Court Says NO to Tribe’s Water Rights Claims

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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Water squeeze in Oregon’s Klamath Basin pits ranchers against tribes, both with strong ties to the land

Agriculture, cattle, Klamath Tribe, Lawsuits, Water rights

PNP comment: This is a fairly good background article on the lawsuit and eventual settlement in favor of the Klamath Tribes being allowed to take other water right users’ water allotments away. — Editor Liz Bowen

Oregon Live.com

By Scott Learn, The Oregonian
Follow on Twitter
on July 06, 2013 at 12:00 PM, updated July 08, 2013 at 6:30 AM

SPRAGUE RIVER — A summer evening on Jim and Caren Goold’s  front porch. The river meanders through their cow pasture, a curly blue ribbon framed by foothills dotted with ponderosa pine. And, yes, the cattle are lowing.

It’s about as pastoral as a scene gets. But the upper Klamath Basin, already three months into a drought emergency, is far from peaceful this summer.

Two parties with strong ties to the land, the upper basin ranchers and The Klamath Tribes, are pitted against each other for limited water, the latest skirmish in one of the nation’s most persistent water wars. And deep historical divisions stand in the way of compromise.

In late June, a state watermaster handed Jim Goold a yellow card ordering him to shut off irrigation for the first time in his 40 years on the 617-acre ranch.

“It’s beyond frustrating,” Caren Goold says. “We have all this wonderful water going by and we can’t touch any of it.”

The Goolds worry they’ll lose pasture for 300-plus cows, their income and their ranch, where Jim’s parents are buried out back. They see a future land grab through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, with land values falling as irrigation water evaporates.

Here’s where history’s twists come in. Much of the upper basin, including the Goolds’ ranch, was once The Klamath Tribes‘ reservation land. The federal government “terminated” the tribes in 1954, a move that included cash payouts, but is widely seen as a tribal disaster.

This year, fortunes sharply changed. The state of Oregon ruled that the tribes’ “time immemorial” water rights on the former reservation remain intact, giving the tribes a firm upper hand. Last month, tribal leaders called their water rights to sustain their hunting and fishing grounds, triggering the shutoffs.

Twenty miles down Sprague River Road, at the tribes’ offices in Chiloquin, Perry Chocktoot  talks about his own attachment to the land, too. He grew up hunting and fishing here. His grandmother taught him how to smoke and can fish –110 minutes, 15 pounds of pressure.

Chocktoot, the tribes’ cultural and heritage director, says court cases and water rights decisions should have warned the ranchers what was coming. But too many of them view Indians as “drunken idiots,” he says. “And, guess what, we’re not.”

“We’re here by the gift of our creator to help the community,” he says. “That mindset has never been reciprocal. They had a chance to effectively work with the tribes, but they said not just no, but hell no.”

Dry times

Absent a judicial reprieve or a settlement, the water rights decision means irrigation with river water will be shut off to hundreds of ranchers this summer, shriveling pasture for 70,000 to 100,000 cattle.

GS.10025953A_GR.KLAMATHFALLS-02.jpgView full size

So far, state watermasters have shut off water to roughly 300 irrigators on the Sprague and Williamson rivers, with more tributaries of Upper Klamath Lake still to be evaluated.

It’s an echo of Klamath water fiasco a decade ago.

In 2001, the U.S. government cut off water to irrigators who tap Upper Klamath Lake as part of the century-old federal reclamation project. The shutoff stemmed from Endangered Species Act listings of coho salmon and two species of suckers and strict ESA requirements on federal projects.

The next year, with intervention from Dick Cheney, the farmers got water instead, and 30,000 chinook salmon died in the lower Klamath River.

That crisis pushed project farmers to negotiate with the tribes, federal and state governments and others to share water and restore riverside habitat. The 2008 Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement was coupled with a plan to remove four PacifiCorp dams on the Klamath River by 2020, which would be the largest dam removal in U.S. history.

But this year is different. Cattle ranchers above the lake, outside the reclamation project, were free to irrigate despite the ESA listings — until this year’s water rights decision.

Many of the ranchers are still fighting, in court and on the streets. On Monday, they rallied in Klamath Falls, driving cattle trucks down Main Street.

They also have challenged the water rights decisions in Klamath County circuit court, asking for a stay this summer. They say the state gave the tribes more water than they need to support hunting and fishing habitat.

The tribes’ water calls would reduce irrigation even in normal water years, the ranchers argue. State officials figure tribal rights fall well below normal streamflows, but the ranchers think the state’s flow estimates are too high.

Roger Nicholson, who leads two ranching groups, raises cattle on 3,000 acres near Fort Klamath. Some of that land came from tribal members, he says, but most has been in his family since the 1890s.

The tribes’ water calls affect his draw even on streams outside the former reservation, he says, since those flows are needed to meet the water rights the tribes won downstream.

The water rights decisions were “a travesty of justice,” Nicholson says, and the shutoffs are “an economic catastrophe beyond compare.” Affected ranches cover more than 100,000 acres, ranching groups estimate.

“It’s bankrupting a whole community,” Nicholson says.

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2013/07/water_squeeze_in_oregons_klama.html

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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Klamath Tribes terminate water compact, potentially devastating ranchers, farmers

Agriculture, cattle, Klamath Tribe, Tribes, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

Free Range Report.com

April 24, 2017

In April 2014, ranchers and the Tribes signed the Upper Basin Comprehensive Agreement. The ranchers agreed to retire 18,000 acres of land or 30,000 acre feet of water and do riparian repair work on the rivers in exchange for an allotment of water each year…

At the end of February, the Tribes indicated to the ranchers they wanted to terminate the agreement…

Gerry O’Brien

Herald and News

Tribes issue water claim, ranchers fear the worst

There are few options for the Upper Klamath Basin ranchers who are now under a call for water from the Klamath Tribes, just as irrigation season is fast approaching.

The ranchers believe their livelihood is at stake and so may be much of the economy for the county. The issue affects some 300,000 acres of land and 1,000 or more ranchers north and east of Klamath Falls.

Two weeks ago, the Tribes called on its water rights for “flood plain” water on the Sprague and Williamson Rivers, which are running high due to spring runoff. The Wood River is under the same call, which is expected to take effect Monday, experts predict. All three feed into Upper Klamath Lake.

The Tribes have primary water rights, which supersede any secondary rights of the ranchers and irrigators.

The Herald and News was unable to get a comment from the tribal chairman for this story, but Chairman Don Gentry has said in the past the call was necessary now to benefit fish habitat in high water zones, basically flushing out the river to allow for new growth. That will help endangered fish, such as Lost River and short-nosed suckers, downstream.

The ranchers say that by June or July, pastures will be turning brown and those without underground wells and adequate stock water for cattle will be forced to ship cattle elsewhere for forage, an expensive proposition.

Options are limited

Ranchers hope to get the Tribes to either remove the call, or return to the bargaining table and hammer out a deal that would benefit both sides. Also, the state could join the negotiations or Congress could step in to help by pushing legislation to resolve the issue.

Those who have their water shut off, may file an appeal with the watermaster, which would put a hold on the shutoff unless the state rules otherwise. That could buy some time for the ranchers and the upper Basin irrigators are exploring that avenue.

Any federal appeal, such as seeking an injunction to the call, would be a costly proposition, experts say.

“This would not have happened if the unprecedented agreement (KBRA) produced by tribes, irrigators and conservationists had not been blocked. I stand ready to put in the work again to resolve this longstanding issue with an agreement that addresses the long-term needs of all the parties,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in an email.

(One reason the bill failed was it was tied to removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. Congressmen in Northern California were opposed to the dam removal).

Andrew Malcolm, spokesman for Rep. Greg Walden, said, “This shows the continued need for a long-lasting solution in the Basin. Greg’s been working on these issues a long time, and continues to work with stakeholders to find a solution that has the needed support with the public and in Congress.”

What the call means

A few of the ranchers and irrigators met with the Herald and News editorial board last week to lay out their concerns.

In April 2014, ranchers and the Tribes signed the Upper Basin Comprehensive Agreement. The ranchers agreed to retire 18,000 acres of land or 30,000 acre feet of water and do riparian repair work on the rivers in exchange for an allotment of water each year. That pact was linked to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) for the lower basin that eventually failed to gain congressional approval. Without it, the agreements had no money to be carried out.

At the end of February, the Tribes indicated to the ranchers they wanted to terminate the agreement, but have yet to file formal notice of termination with the Interior Department.

“Last year, we worked under the agreement and there was no call,” said Larry Nicholson, a fourth-generation Forth Klamath rancher. He’s also a member of the Klamath Tribes. “Now there is no communication with the Tribes, and everything just fell apart. We have nothing else to give.”

The way the call works is: Any amount of water flowing above 2,190 cfs can be called on by the tribes; When flows get down to 2,190 cfs, the call ends and irrigators will be able to irrigate again. When flows hit 1,440 cfs the water is shut off for the summer.

So, once ranchers are able to turn the water back on, nearly all of them will begin irrigating as fast and as much as possible. Some experts say that could be a short window of just a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

“On the Wood, this a straight up call to shut the whole Wood River down for the summer,” said Larry Nicholson. “Unless we can come up with an agreement, it will be like a domino effect and the Wood River will be the first one to fall.”

Economic fallout

Roger Nicholson, a cousin of Larry’s, also has a longtime family ranch in the valley.

“It is going to start hurting shortly. These are Draconian instream flow levels. What adjudication has meant for us is a taking of our water,” he said. “We’re the whipping boy now.”

The economic impacts could be “a $1 billion hit” Roger Nicholson predicts. Not only will Klamath County suffer, the region will suffer, he said.

“We send cattle to the San Joaquin Valley for feed; we send them to the state of Washington as feeders and for the packing industry. I send 7,000 head alone. All that could go away,” Nicholson said. Plus, the ripple effects will be felt across the county, he warned.

Klamath Tribes terminate water compact, potentially devastating ranchers, farmers

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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Klamath Tribe wants all the water

Agriculture, Agriculture - California, Air, Climate & Weather, cattle, Klamath Tribe, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

Herald and News.com

Ranchers in the Upper Basin react

Tribal water call: ‘Devastating’

The call on water by the Klamath Tribes will be devastating economically for the cattlemen in the Upper Basin, affected ranchers said Tuesday.

The Tribes made the call last week. A water call puts the rest of the secondary water users on notice that the Tribes intend to use its water allocation in the Williamson, Sprague and possibly the Wood rivers for the benefit of fish habitat over irrigation for farming and cattle operations.

“This call is potentially devastating to both irrigators and the Tribes,” said Becky Hyde, a member of a long-time cattle ranching family in the Upper Basin above Upper Klamath Lake. “Our ag communities want what is best for the fish as well, but this puts a tremendous strain on our relationship with the Tribes.”

 While the call focuses on the current high water flows in the rivers — and if they fall to a certain level, irrigators can actually irrigate — there is still the concern that the irrigation window will be short-lived.

This is the first time the regulations have taken effect with spring runoff, which could run to June 1 or end sooner.

Water agreement

Hyde and several other ranchers spent years hammering out an Upper Basin agreement over water use with the Tribes. That agreement is still on the books, but has no funding behind it, hence is moot. The agreement would retire some 18,000 acres of land from use to put water back into the streams. In turn, there will be water security for ranchers.

Larry Nicholson, whose family also has historic cattle ranches on the Wood River, said the economic impact will be huge. A water call has not been made on the Wood, but Nicholson expects it.

“There are some 30,000 head of cattle that are moved into the area from ranches in California,” Nicholson said. “The grass in the Fort Klamath area is highly nutritious, but it is only good in the summer as it’s too cold to keep cattle there in the winter. Most ranches are not setup for stock water. If there is no water, the cattle will be kept in California, crowding out those ranch resources.”

After that …

“We have yearlings who need to grow all summer on grass,” Hyde said. “It’s a scramble to find alternative grazing. If you multiply that across the region, the water call a big deal,” she said. “We will be OK in the spring thanks to the early moisture and growing grasses. After that, it could be devastating.”

A couple of years back, Hyde shipped some cattle out after water supplies dwindled.

“This will be worse. There will be no water,” Hyde said.

Randall Kiser, who is a fifth-generation rancher on the Sprague and Wood, said, “When you have a snowpack at 138 of average and there is still a call for water, something is wrong.” Kiser, too, worked on the water pact with the tribes. Some 150 large and small ranches on the Sprague will be affected by the call.

“It’s a serious situation,” Kizer said.

“It would be nice if we could negotiate a settlement, finalize it and keep moving” he said. “This call affects everybody in the Upper Basin. When we last met in February, the Tribes told us they were ‘settlement-minded.’”

Fisheries status

Tribal Chairman Don Gentry said of the call Monday, “I understand the concerns for the agricultural community, but there needs to be concerns for the status of our fisheries.”

Both Hyde and Nicholson point out that the agreements work both ways. The idea was to have cattlemen build fences to keep cattle out of the rivers so fish habitat could grow.

“If you don’t have fences, it stands to reason the cattle will be drinking from the river,” Nicholson said, damaging habitat and eroding banks.

“Just having water doesn’t restore habitat,” Hyde said. “That’s where everyone loses. The Klamath Tribes have a powerful card that they are playing, but that doesn’t, mean they win in the end.”

READ it here

http://www.heraldandnews.com/news/local_news/ranchers-in-the-upper-basin-react-to-water-call/article_2e958a6e-14be-5def-bd13-7f69b6db4517.html

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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CA. Fish and Wildlife (DFG) will be doing fly-overs in Siskiyou Co. today

Agriculture, California Rivers, Dept. Fish & Game, Property rights, Ranch life, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

I learned that CA F&G will be conducting low level flights over Scott Valley with a small plane in the coming days. The County has requested they stay above the required 500-foot level with respect to spooking cattle etc.

We also requested Elizabeth Nielsen, Siskiyou Co. Natural Resource Specialist, be able to fly with them to understand what they are looking for and with respect to the former elevation requirement. That request has been denied.

Ray A. Haupt

(530) 925-0444

PNP comment: Irrigation season began, in earnest, in Scott Valley on April 1, 2017, when most land owners were then able to open their headgates to legally obtain their water right. There are some water rights that do not begin until April 15.  Why DFG is flying this early in the season, when there is plenty of water for  irrigation, stock water and fish in the river is a BIG question mark? — Editor Liz Bowen

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Support Siskiyou Supervisors in application as groundwater agency

Ranch life, Siskiyou County, State gov, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

Please attend the Siskiyou Co. Board of Supervisors’ meeting

April 4, 2017

Siskiyou Co. Supervisors meeting room on 2nd story of courthouse in Yreka

Time is 1:30 p.m.

Please be willing to speak even if only to voice your support of the county’s application to the State.

 

Synopsis of this issue is below:

Elizabeth Nielsen, Siskiyou County Natural Resources Specialist, did a thorough job explaining the new state law regarding groundwater at the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting last week. This situation is a bit ominous.

If the county does not create its own Groundwater Sustainable Agency and submit its application for that agency by June 30, 2017, the State Water Board will intervene to manage groundwater extraction activities in Siskiyou County. The State Water Board will have the power to assess fees for its involvement and will levy fees of $100 per well and in unmanaged areas the cost will be $10 per acre foot per year if the well is metered and $25 per year if not the well is not metered. Yep, this is scary and costly. Oh, and will start on July 1, 2017!

Our county supervisors are proposing that the Siskiyou Flood Control and Conservation District serve as the agency that will oversee the Sustainable Groundwater Management Plan. The plan must be operable by 2022 using information developed by local landowner committees in the four subbasins that are affected. Those subbasins are: Scott Valley, Shasta Valley, Butte Valley and the Tulelake area.

Actually, a sub-type of agency will be developed in each of these subbasins. The important key is that the agency members will be local landowners and groundwater users, including water districts and municipalities.

Ray Haupt, Siskiyou Co. Dist. 5 Supervisor, said the county hopes the citizens will support its application to the state. He wants to “seize this process” and keep control local over groundwater instead of the state’s one-size-fits-all demands. Ray said the county supervisors voiced vigorous opposition to the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. But it passed the state legislature and Gov. Brown signed it into law.

Elizabeth is asking individuals with groundwater wells to attend and express support at the April 4th hearing. She has been tasked with completing the county’s application. The hearing will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the supervisors’ chambers at the courthouse in Yreka. This is next week folks. Please attend or write-in comments of support.

For more on the GSA law and process, go to Elizabeth’s website for a power point presentation. The easiest way to find the site is to Google “Siskiyou County Natural Resources Department” and when you reach the site, scroll down and in the middle is a list with “Natural Resources – Groundwater” in it. Or give Elizabeth a call at 530-842-8012.

 

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