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Browsing the archives for the John Menke Ph.D. category.

Klamath Co. Oregon: Another letter opposing Klamath dam removal in Advisory vote on Nov. 8th

John Menke Ph.D., Klamath River & Dams

Oct. 25, 2016

For 22-years I studied the flawed arguments on supposed benefits of Klamath River dams removal.  I told USDI rep. John Bezdek at his first public meeting in Yreka, CA:  “the Klamath River watershed is the poorest possible situation to consider removal of dams in North America”, maybe worldwide.

This river frequently dried up in summer prior to construction of the first of the dams.  The high-phosphorus content of parent rock, soils, water and sediments have always created naturally very poor water quality, even long before Indians and later white man settled in the Upper Klamath Basin (UKB).

Couple that with California and Oregon agendas including carbon credit accounting for electricity production, a switch-over to natural gas will provide the means for high pricing of electricity beyond an affordable level for everyone.

UC Davis Professor of fish biology Dr. Peter Moyle’s Ph.D. student Dr. Ken Gobalet, Professor of biology at CA State Univ. Bakersfield, would long ago have identified Chinook and coho salmon bones in Indian middens in the UKB if those species of fish ever frequented the UKB.  Gobalet is the expert on that subject.  The reef barrier near the site of the current Keno water diversion disallowed fish to migrate past that point most years.

Dr. Moyle and his colleagues including me have stated that slowing down the water passage rate in the Klamath River by the dams allows natural bioremediation of the high phosphorus levels in the water by blue-green algae sequestration into reservoir sediments—dead algae muck.  Water quality below the dams is better with the dams than without.

Reservoir sediments can be harvested economically and supply phosphorus for food production on a sustainable basis.

John W. Menke. A.A. Mathematics (1966), B.S. Range and Wildlands Science (1969), M.S. Agronomy (1970), Ph.D. Range Systems Ecology and Management (1973), professor UC Davis and Berkeley (1973-98).

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USFWS sage grouse conclusion called unbelievable

Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, John Menke Ph.D.

PNP comment by John Menke Ph.D. —

A candid exposure in the November 3rd issue of Western Livestock Journal—by Congressman Amodei who I do not know! See article below.

During the late 70s and early 80s I took my University of California, Davis summer field courses in range management to Sheldon Antelope Range in NW Nevada and Hart Mountain Antelope Range in Oregon with fieldtrip leadership by Dave Franzen (USFWS), a highly skilled and experienced range professional in USFWS. At that time both ranges were thriving with excellent condition wetlands where prescribed cattle grazing helped make otherwise too-competitive rank forage species of sedges and rushes out compete native forbs. Broadleaved herbaceous forbs are critical to pronghorn antelope diets and certainly sage grouse, and cattle use of the sedges and rushes caused high diversity forb communities. Additionally we learned that coyote control by livestock grazing permitees was critical to antelope kid survival. About a decade ago I learned the antelope populations had crashed.

Last year I communicated with Dave for the first time in more than 2-decades and learned of the destruction of Sheldon Antelope Range by unchecked populations of wild horses—it in fact has become a wild horse sancturary with the consequences of too many wild horses! Dave also told me the 800 water developments and related projects that he installed on these ranges had been removed/destroyed and now the wild horses have destroyed spring source waters as well. What a disaster by irresponsible agencies. It is time to make them accountable!

Congressman Amodei needs to secure a Congressional Review of the current conditions at Sheldon and Hart Mountain where Dave and I could share the previous excellent cattle management history of both antelope ranges to a few key congressmen and women. Dave was let go by USFWS and then became NRCS State Range Conservationist for the State of Oregon.

As an aside, Jim Yoakum, BLM State Office-Nevada did not like me citing this field experience I observed at Sheldon and Hart Mountain when I spoke at a conference at Northshore Tahoe in the mid-80s. These agency folks have an agenda and its name is 21.

John W. Menke, Ph.D. in range science, retired professor UC Berkeley and Davis (1973-98) and rancher since 1993.


USFWS sage grouse conclusion called unbelievable

wlj, 11-03-2014 » Page 15

Life lessons are often learned the hard way. One such lesson—be careful what you put in writing—may have been handed down to a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) employee.
USFWS Pacific Southwest Regional Director Ren Lohoefener sent a letter to the Nevada Sagebrush Ecosystem Council, and that letter ended up in Congressman Mark Amodei’s hands. Amodie, a staunch supporter of Sage Grouse conservation initiatives, said the letter was filled with factual errors and conclusions he found to be “unbelievable, incredible and without anything resembling documentary or scientific support.”
A scathing letter, shared with the media, was sent to Lohoefener from Amodei pointing out the lack of transparency from USFWS, along with a number of disturbing conclusions and practices USFWS has already begun implementing on the Nevada Sage Grouse plan.
“Your approach continues to ignore the federal habitat ownership reality in Nevada,” he wrote. “While I appreciate the Service’s vast historical experience with the Endangered Species Act on state and private lands, Nevada is unique in that your sister Interior agencies own and administer 86 percent of the state. Your steadfast refusal to recognize this fact undermines the credibility needed to fashion a responsible habitat solution.”
The ongoing battle over the possible listing of the sage grouse or sage hen under the Endangered Species Act has successfully ruffled lots of feathers, including Amodie’s, across a number of states, with Nevada at the top of the list.
Last June, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA’s landmark agreement to accelerate and focus conservation efforts benefitting ranchers and the bi-state population of sage grouse straddling the Nevada/California border, in hopes to avoid a listing. USDA provided up to $25.5 million of conservation investments as part of its contribution to delivering the federal, state and local 2012 Bi-State Action Plan. USDA’s announcement was bolstered by Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) companion announcement, which provided an additional $6.5 million boost to proactive bi-state recovery.
This combined announcement marked the single largest sage grouse restoration commitment in history, but it appears there may be a conflict or lack of mutual understanding on how this effort or agreement is working in Nevada.
“I see that there is a recent focus on what is referred to as “key non-federal habitats.” I am aware of the Natural Resources Conservation Service report that USFWS Nevada State Supervisor Ted Koch mischaracterized to conclude that such a resource exists. I’d like to know if the Service believes that key “federal” habitat exists in Nevada. Given the small percentage of private land ownership, the claim that the most important habitat acreage lies in 14 percent of Nevada while there is none in the federal 86 percent of the state is frankly incredible,” Amodie wrote in his letter.
“The Service’s conclusion, as adopted in your letter, represents an individual interpretation of one report. Is this how the Service makes an administrative record? Eighty-six percent federal ownership of Nevada, but the wet meadows are all in the private, state and municipal 14 percent? Simply put, this is unbelievable, incredible and without anything resembling documentary or scientific support,” he continued, following with a request for a copy of the map.
According to Amodei, the conclusion from the correspondence leaves little hope for sage grouse habitat growth.
“Given the uncertainty of being able to create sagebrush habitat and, if habitat can be created, the added uncertainty of use by sage grouse, the loss of good occupied sagebrush habitat has to be considered a serious consequence with low likelihood of mitigation success.
Creating sage grouse habitat is not mitigation for loss of occupied sage grouse habitat,” Lohoefener’s letter reads.
But Amodie requested the supporting evidence for this claim.
“Ren, I had no idea, based on conversations from USFWS Director Dan Ashe on down through Sacramento, Denver and in Nevada, that the Service had come to the conclusion that sagebrush habitat could not be “created!” I am further surprised to learn that the Service concluded the sage hen will not use restored habitat. Please provide the supporting data that you and your Service consultants are relying on to support these conclusions. I am intrigued to hear why $32 million from NRCS and other agencies for habitat work for the bi-state subspecies is a good thing; and the Service has recently put forth cost estimates for habitat work for the greater sage hen across the West for $1 billion and yet, as of October 1, you indicate to Nevada that habitat creation is not looked upon favorably by the Service. Wow!” Amodie wrote in his letter.
According to Amodei, the biggest threat to the Nevada sage hen habitat is wildfires.
“Cheatgrass does not precede fire in Nevada’s sagebrush steppe ecosystem. In Nevada, BLM alone has burned more than 6.8 million acres in the past 20 years. Compare this to the fact that at the same time BLM and FS district managers and district rangers have permitted about 150,000 acres for mining operations. Additionally, the number of cattle grazing on federal allotments is down 20 percent. The sheep grazing on federal allotments is down 80 percent.
If it is really about habitat, Ren, the inescapable conclusion is that we are losing habitat to fire, not decisions made by federal land managers in Nevada. There can be no clearer illustration of this fact than the reality that mining permits, for example, represent approximately two percent of total acreage lost to fire in Nevada in the last 20 years,” he wrote.
Another question brought up in Amodei’s letter was Nevada’s growing wild horse and burro population. According the Nevada’s Fish and Wildlife website, “The horse and burro populations on Sheldon are causing negative impacts to native wildlife and their habitats. Conflicts over scarce water in this desert environment include trampling of vegetation along stream banks and at springheads, physical exclusion of other species by dominant stud horses and burros, and contamination from feces and urine. Horses and burros also cause habitat degradation by trampling and destroying vegetation in the upland areas. Together, these areas provide important habitat for native species such as sage grouse… especially during the brooding seasons.”
A recent study supports the idea that grazing plays no part in the declining sage grouse population.
On Oct. 15, the State of Nevada released “A Case Study in Grazing and Sage Grouse,” with the following summary: “Livestock grazing was eliminated entirely on the Sheldon Antelope Refuge in 1994. Removal was predicted to result in substantial increases in wildlife, including sage grouse. Grazing had begun to be cut back earlier, starting in the late 1960s. An aggressive predator control program also existed there from the early 1940s to 1967. Following the removal of livestock, not only did the population of sage grouse and other game species NOT expand, they in fact declined, with sage grouse reaching their lowest population ever recorded in 2013.” — Traci Eatherton, WLJ Editor

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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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John W. Menke Ph.D. comments on Water Quality Fee Schedule

Agriculture - California, John Menke Ph.D., Scott River & Valley, Shasta River, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

PNP comment: Please check out how small the acreage is — down to 10 acres! — Editor Liz Bowen

To All:

Below is the proposed applicable fee schedule for agriculture.  This needs to be attacked at the meeting.  Like the DWR Watermaster fee, the Water Boards are going to try to run us out of business financially.  It is time to draw a line in the sand.

Scott Valley for one is not nutrient impaired and at least for Shackleford and Mill Creeks these riparian systems lack sufficient fines for salmon, so any agricultural activity producing a minute additional fine sediment in Quartz Valley is benign and any fines contributed would be a positive benefit to the health of this subwatershed.  Fish need insects to feed on and plants need to grow in streams to support insects–fines support aquatic plants.

Patterson Creek is an example of a sterile granitic-parent-material-based stream with virtually no plant life because of meager fine sediments other than decomposed granite that is acid in nature, thus this stream is maladapted to good growth of coho salmon juveniles attempting to rear in this system.  This situation is purely a function of the way Nature built that riparian system.  Nothing can be done by man to help.  I find it amusing that the underskilled folks that sit on the board of the Scott River Watershed Council recently accepted $40,000 to put large woody debris in Patterson Creek.  Such a prescription is without scientific justification.  The debris will wash out in the next big flood event and likely cause severe scour in isolated locations doing harm to the watershed and riparian zone below the sites where the material is placed.  The blind are leading the blind in this instance.

The decomposed granite sands in the Scott River are a natural result of the parent materials of the uplands coupled with the steep escarpment of the Marble Mountains interacting with rain-on-snow flood-generated erosion–all natural, and nothing at this point can be done by man to ameliorate the situation.  The channelization of the Scott River decades ago by the Corps of Engineers to protect agricultural soils has certainly facilitated transport of granitic sands downstream, but nothing done by agriculture at this point could ever ameliorate that sediment situation.  Historical logging not agriculture accelerated erosion in the past but no logging has taken place for nearly 20 years on these uplands and none is likely given the depressed demand for lumber.

Science and resource management understanding must prevail.  This new fee schedule is nothing more than another CDFG/ITP-like trespass ticket with an alternative fee payment program to pay for poorly analyzed watersheds and poorly trained staff of the NCRWQCB.  Maybe the housing developments and roads along French Creek are to blame for some of the DG, but not agriculture.

This fee schedule is on the fast track after last week’s Board meeting in Yreka.  I attended the September 12 meeting held by the Waterboards on the “Proposed Statewide Policy for Biological Objectives in Perennial Wadeable Streams” and was promised to be emailed details to my email address which I gave them.  This program is going to use benthic arthropod insects collected in streams as an indicator for stream health.  This program likewise is a trespass ticket onto private property and certainly fees will be sought for this as well.  The promised materials have not been sent to me and the deadline for comments for the Perennial Wadeable Streams Program is likewise on October 18th.

Haying season is over, you had better get involved.  Call your aggie friends and neighbors!  I don’t have email addresses for aggies in Shasta Valley, so please forward this message!  Maybe the Shasta RCD could help with mailing Don?

John Menke

Section 2200.6. Annual Agricultural and Irrigated Lands Fee Schedule

No ambient water monitoring surcharge shall apply to annual fees specified in this section.

(a) Annual fees for waste discharge requirements and waivers of waste discharge requirements for discharges from agricultural lands, including irrigated lands, shall be as follows:

(1) Tier I: If a discharger is a member of a group that has been approved by the State Board to manage fee collection and payment, then the fee shall be $100 per group plus $0.56 per acre of land.

(2) Tier II: If a discharger is a member of a group that has been approved by the State Board but that does not manage fee collection and payment, then the fee shall be $100 per farm plus $0.94 per acre of land.

(3)(A) Tier III: If a discharger is not a member of a group that has been approved by the State Board, the following fee schedule applies:

(b) Upon approval by the Regional Board to join a group subject to waste discharge requirements or waivers of waste discharge requirements for discharges from agricultural lands, including irrigated lands, the discharger shall submit to the State Water Board an application fee, unless such fee is not required by the Regional Board. The application fee is a one-time fee of $200 for dischargers that have received a California Water Code §13267 Order and $50 for all other dischargers. This application fee shall not apply to dischargers who were members of a group on or before June 30, 2008.

(c) For purposes of this section, the words “agricultural lands,” “irrigated lands,” “farm,” and “discharger” have the meaning contained in the applicable Regional Board or State Board waste discharge requirements or waiver of waste discharge requirements for discharges from agricultural lands, including irrigated lands.

Note: Authority cited: Sections 185 and 1058 of the Water Code. Reference: Section 13269 of the Water Code.


Fee   Rate

Min Fee  

Max Fee  


$300 +   $10/Acre




$750 +   $5/Acre




$2,000 +   $2.5/Acre



501 or More

$4,000 +   $2/Acre



2011-12 Fee Schedules
2200.7 Annual Fee Schedule for Waivers of Waste Discharge Requirements

(a) Any person for whom waste discharge requirements have been waived pursuant to Section 13269 of the Water Code shall submit an annual fee to the State Board if a fee is specified for the waiver in this section.

No ambient water monitoring surcharge shall apply to annual fees specified in this section. (b) [reserved]

Note: Authority cited: Sections 185 and 1058 of the Water Code. Reference: Section 13269 of the Water Code.

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John W. Menke Ph.D. gave testimony to California Fish and Game Commission

Agriculture - California, California Rivers, Dept. Fish & Game, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, John Menke Ph.D., Klamath River & Dams, Salmon and fish, Scott River & Valley, State gov

October 5, 2012

When I spoke at the Open Forum session of the California Fish and Game Commission meeting in Sacramento last Wednesday, October 3rd, and requested the Commission do the following:

1) Stop maxillary clipping (maiming) 75,000+ coho juveniles each year before they are released from Iron Gate Hatchery, and the same for Lewiston Hatchery for coho reared in the Trinity River, and instead mark them with a coded-wire tag.

2) Stop killing any returning spawner coho salmon not needed for egg or sperm take at Iron Gate and Lewiston hatcheries and return them to their respective rivers to spawn naturally.  Do the same for all salmonids on the American and Feather rivers.

3) Stop continuing to feed Chinook salmon at Iron Gate and Lewiston hatcheries to nearly a year of age prior to release since they prey on smaller escaping coho juveniles.

4) Replace the blocking video weir on the Scott River with a benign sonar weir so that all returning spawning coho salmon can reach fine existing slow-water spawning habitat upstream of the weir including habitats in Quartz Valley.

5) Reinstall the sonar weir on the Smith River and use the weir to set periods of no fishing to allow all salmonids to spawn after flood scour events where most redds are lost periodically.  Fish and Game just ceased this contracted monitoring station for very fishy reasons–they don’t want the information to come to light.

6) Install a sonar weir in the lower Klamath River to monitor escapement of all salmonids from the ocean year-round.

7) Install a sonar weir in the lower gorge reach of the Trinity River above Weitchpec to monitor all upstream salmonids entering the Trinity River.

8) Install a sonar weir in the mainstem Klamath River just above Weitchpec to monitor all salmonids migrating up the Klamath River above the mouth of the Trinity River.

9) Reinstitute night-time monitoring of all gill net harvest by Yurok and Hoopa Tribes.

If the agricultural community is being held in a “prisoners’ dilemma situation” (in sensu of Common Pool Resource [CPR] Economics terminology) by ocean-commercial, ocean and in-river sport-fishing, and ocean and in-river tribal harvest of salmonids, it is high time that meaningful monitoring of fish numbers commence with monitoring team contractors made up from the agricultural and harvest interests for each team.  That is, 24-hour teams with at least one agriculture representative and one fisher interest representative.  NOAA/NMFS can supply the funding from their coho recovery funds, not from California Department of Fish and Game since they demonstrated their contempt for the agricultural community in its highest form in listing the grey wolf as a candidate species for CESA listing in one year even before a female has entered California to join OR-7 and following the oppositing views of the Commission’s legal counsel (all this is on the audio/video record).

The jocular response by the Vice Chairman of the Fish and Game Commission in stating that the KBRA and dams removal on the Klamath River would supplant the need for all of the above demonstrated where the Commission and the California Department of Fish and Game’s motives are and those stances are incongruent with the agricultural community.

John W. Menke, Ph.D.

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Yreka Tea Party meets July 31, 2012

John Menke Ph.D., Op-ed, TEA Party

Yreka Tea Party Patriots

Meeting for

Tuesday, July 31, 2012  

6:30 PM

Decision Life Church

Corner of Main and Oberlin — 1301 South Main St.


“Black Bear Commune Expose`” by Mark Baird

You won’t want to miss this one, it will be juicy!!!

Public Welcome.  Contact Louise for more information at


Comment from John Menke Ph.D. —

We really need to be at Mark’s presentation since it directly connects with all that is going on in Siskiyou County — removal of the dam in Shasta Valley (lawsuit by the Riverkeepers on the Montague Water Conservation District), the ramping up of the Trinity River beginning August 15th by BOR, and the wolves reintroduction in Butte Valley by California Department of Fish and Game very likely.


Petey Brucker of the BB Commune is involved in all three.  He and Mark Hampton and now Tom Cannon are conspiring to link the low flows this year in the Scott and Shasta Rivers with fish die offs by promoting ramping up the Trinity River beginning August 15, when the Klamath River will be way too warm for healthy salmon occupancy and no added flow out of Iron Gate Dam because BOR already dumped the water out of Upper Klamath Lake last winter creating low Upper Klamath Lake levels.


The Department of Water Resource watermaster called me in the last week of August in 2009 and told me “they are going to kill a bunch more salmon”.  

That year when he called he said the Trinity River was up to over 2,200 cfs from a base of less than 700 cfs–that was a pulse 6-day event, not an extended ramp up like is planned this August, but the triggering of salmon will commence anyway as soon as the first new water (3,600 cfs this time) gets to the estuary.  

The watermaster let me know that Brucker was doing his annual complaint that the Shasta Valley irrigators need to turn their diversions off in late August.  Hampton who worked for CDFG at the time said the kegged up salmon in the canyon reach of the Shasta River were doing fine–lie!!!!!  

Now Hampton works for NMFS and is not complaining about the ramp up flows in the Trinity River which he should.  

The Hoopas should not be wanting to trigger salmon to leave the estuary until at least September 15th.  

The Klamath is too inhospitable to salmon before that date, especially for large runs which are very likely this year.  This whole affair is related to dam removal on the Klamath River and the trouble US DOI is in with the whistleblower Dr. Paul Houser.


Brucker chaired the Klamath Basin Fisheries Task Force Technical Workgroup for which I was the Siskiyou County representative in 2005-6.  

The last meeting after Brucker thanked me for serving for the year as a volunteer, in the same breathe stated he was going to do everything he could to get wolves introduced to Scott Valley.  

Well CDFG is starting with Butte Valley on the wolves because OR7 is there and available for planted females to be added and apparently that has happened already.  This new director of Fish and Game moves fast and furiously at the end of Obama’s first term just in case.

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Comment on CA. Dept. of Fish and Game by John W. Menke Ph.D.

Agriculture - California, Dept. Fish & Game, Federal gov & land grabs, John Menke Ph.D., Paul R. Houser Ph.D. scientist, POW

May 29, 2012

California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) has failed on several occasions in recent years to take control of private property in Siskiyou County–clearly part of the Agenda 21 movement.  Currently the Farm Bureau (Siskiyou County) vs. CDFG lawsuit court case is on hold until June 25th, just put off from the restart scheduled for May 29th.  Three CDFG administrators from Redding (Stopher, Manji, and Babcock) perjured themselves repeatedly during the case a couple of weeks ago.  Their answers while under oath didn’t agree with their previous sworn depositions and they don’t care!  These guys are patent liars and by law they should lose their jobs and pensions.  The legislature is coming to their rescue with AB 2179!  Author Legislator Allen is from the Agenda 21 Transition City of Santa Rosa!

Several months ago when Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey arranged to have the new director of CDFG Chuck Bonham meet in a round table discussion with members of the public from Siskiyou County, Bonham voluntarily brought up the topic of the Bay Delta Smelt and CDFG’s failed attempt to get the striped bass bag and size limit fishing regulations changed from 2 fish18-inches or larger per day to 12 fish 12-inches or larger per day to reduce the striped bass population.  Bonham told us that the striper fishermen lobbied the Fish and Game Commission so hard that the newly CDFG-proposed regulations  were rejected.  This was a patent lie.  My former colleague at UC Davis Dr. Peter Moyle (long-term fish biologist) with the help of Mr. Tom Cannon, Fish Biologist, Fish Foundation (Sacramento), submitted a scientifically sound report to the Commission stating that the new regulations would be damaging to the Delta Smelt because stripers actually control 27 other non-native fish populations in the Bay Delta to the benefit of Delta Smelt because many of these other 27 species could have more severe effects on the Smelt if striped bass abundance declined due to the proposed new regulation.  The Commission agreed with Dr. Moyle and Mr. Cannon and rejected the CDFG proposed change in regulations.  Bonham has no respect for the truth nor science-based decision making and should not be confirmed by the Legislature.

Bonham previously worked for Trout Unlimited for 10-years as an attorney.  Whistle Blower and former US Department of Interior Scientific Integrity Advisor Dr. Paul Houser’s (George Mason University Professor) supervisor in Washington DC was likewise a former employee with Trout Unlimited.  She told Dr. Houser he was not a “team player” when USDI was about to release an untruthful press story claiming assured benefits of Klamath River dams removal when two previous expert scientific panels were much more uncertain about benefits to the Klamath River fishery from dams removal.  Dr. Houser upheld the integrity of the science and got fired for it!  That issue is now before a Congressional Committee.

AB 2179 is an end run on existing law giving too much police power to Game Wardens statewide.  Former CDFG Director John McCamman immediately removed Mr. Stopher and two other CDFG employees in Scott and Shasta Valleys involved in the proposed CDFG Scott and Shasta Valleys Watershed-Wide Permitting Program the day after he met with Assemblyman Nielson and local landowner Mr. Mark Baird (Vice President of Scott Valley Protect Our Water organization).  Nielsen and Baird showed Director McCamman in his office in Sacramento a video re-inacting the color-of authority violations by Game Wardens in Scott Valley and a letter from an attorney describing the multiple Penal Code violations including threatening warnings of $25,000 fines and up to 6-months in jail if agricultural diverters of water did not sign up for the new watershed program–extortion action clearly.  Later a court threw out the CDFG program because CDFG had not documented take of coho salmon in their EIR/EIS for the new program.  This failed effort by CDFG cost taxpayers in California more than $1,000,000!


John W. Menke,

Quartz Valley, Fort Jones, CA.

A.A., B.S., M.S., Ph.D. and retired Professor University of California, Berkeley and Davis for 25 years of service and rancher since retirement in 1998.

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John W. Menke Ph.D. comments on Quartz Valley Indian Reservation’s newest project

Agriculture - California, Endangered Species Act, John Menke Ph.D., Salmon and fish, Scott River & Valley

PNP comment: QVIR is a federally recognized Indian group closely connected with the Karuk Tribe. The reservation was originally designated through the tremendous efforts of Shasta natives in the 1930s and is located in the pine trees near several cattle ranches in Quartz Valley.  — Editor Liz Bowen

May 13, 2012

From John W. Menke Ph.D. and Red Angus cattle rancher:

At last month’s (Siskiyou County WaterMaster District) watermaster meeting Kim Mattson gave me a copy of his CDFG/NMFS $183,000 proposal for study of the (QVIR) Quartz Valley groundwater and streambed structures including possible project assessment a-la Craig Tucker in Scott Valley.  While this email is not my review of that proposal I do have a few related comments:

It is well understood by Tom Shaw (USFWS), Al Olson (USFS), Tom Wesaloh (formerly CalTrout), Tom Cannon (fish biologist) and others who have looked, that Upper Shackleford lacks fines for salmon spawning.  Tom coined the phrase “bowling ball habitat” with too large cobble/boulders for spawning.   All agree the gradient is too steep and the flows too high seasonally to support fines for spawning.  Similar principles apply to Kidder Creek.  Steep escarpment mountains in combination with periodic high elevation deep snow packs coupled with ‘pineapple express’ warm rain-on-snow events disallow good spawning habitats except in isolated spots.  Mattson with no training in geomorphology has proposed expensive consultants to consider a bioengineering project including removal of “bowling balls” near the QVIR.  We have such expertise locally!

Earlier I arranged field trips for Cannon and others on our properties in Quartrz Valley with an eye to place large isolated rocks in lower Mill and Shackleford Creeks to increase carrying capacity for coho rearing in an already outstanding spawning and rearing habitat.  Previously large pine and fir root wads in lower Mill and Shackleford Creeks had produced great pool spawning and rearing habitat as observed many years ago by the Haydens, and Cannon suggested the large rock additions as a surrogate for the wads.  In fact, Larry Lastelle (coho expert) and Cannon confirmed these reaches as the finest rearing habitat they had ever seen at this high elevation on the West Coast of North America, and with more pools the productivity could even be greater.  Cannon estimated 200,000 coho juveniles in lower Mill and Shackleford Creeks.

Previously Cannon proposed creation of pool rearing habitat in upper Mill Creek being completely naive of the limited summertime seasonal flows in that reach.  Mattson is proceeding down a similar naive path with his proposal for Upper Shackleford Creek.  Mattson proposes a pool construction study on Upper Shackleford Creek and is similarly naive, maintenance of which would be in violation of adjudicated water rights, and will certainly lead to a failed, too warm pool habitat like that which occurred by the Siskiyou RCD’s (Resource Conservation District) fiasco on the Farmers Ditch in moving the point of diversion upstream.  That Scott River water got so warm nothing but bass and catfish could be raised. The Hammond’s lost their irrigation water in that naive project.

Cannon recently had the gall to refer to upper adjudicated Mill Creek Water as “coho gold”.  That of course assumes the associated water right holders for that conduit get on the governments’ gravey train and stop their agricultural activites and participate in sure to fail bioengineeering of fish production in an incapable location.

In the case of upper Shackleford, the commission of adjudicated water to that reach would mean inadequate water to maintain the prime existing habitats on lower Mill and Shackleford Creeks.  It is the mere juxtaposition of the QVIR to upper Shackleford Creek that gives QVIR ‘stakeholder’ status, a very abused term in Siskiyou County generally.  The QVIR is located on a dry alluvial fan too far from Shackleford Creek to maintain a dense population of existing wells and septic systems.  The extensive coverage by paving and sidewalks on QVIR speed overland flows of precipitation off the site to the detriment of groundwater recharge.  A grant from Bureau of Reclamation of all things spent $50,000 to dig 17 wells to tap the groundwater.  Such a high population of folks on such a site, and government willingness from many angles fosters or does not discourage such ill-conceived development.

This possible proposal funding expenditure is indictative of past 20-year Klamath Act expenditures of $1,000,000/year–welfare using salmon as a justification!  The consequences of the proposed project on Upper Shackelford Creek could severely compromise or destroy the already fine existing coho habitats on Lower Mill and Shackleford Creeks.


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Hanky-Panky harms Klamath River Watershed

John Menke Ph.D., Klamath River & Dams, Salmon and fish

By John Menke

Posted on My Outdoor Buddy.com

05/04/12 —

To help facilitate a yes on the Klamath River dams-removal decision, it appears California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), NOAA/National Marine Fisheries Service and USDI Bureau of Reclamation (BOR-Trinity River Restoration Program) have conspired to harm the functionality of the Klamath River Watershed fishery. BOR-approved late-summer pulse-flow actions have and continue to foment anger by coastal fishermen and enviros at irrigators.

The first pulse action caused the big fish die-off in 2002 by falsely triggering spawners to prematurely leave the Klamath River estuary when the water was too warm upstream of the Trinity River confluence. They tried again and nearly killed more returning spawning salmon in 2009 (warning was given by California Department of Water Resources Watermaster Joe Scott to me by phone alert–“they are going to kill a bunch more salmon John”) and 2011 (Toz Soto, Yurok Fisheries, alerted us to stressed salmon following the BOR-approved pulse flow).

CDFG has and continues to maim hundreds of thousands of hatchery reared coho salmon and steelhead by maxillary clipping juveniles (since 1995) prior to release from Iron Gate and Lewiston hatcheries in violation of the US Supreme Court Iron Gate Dam Mitigation Order to rear fish un-maimed (CDFG take-permitted by NOAA/NMFS). One would think HSUS would disallow this treatment of animals since they influence CDFG policy.

CDFG unnecessarily killed returning coho salmon spawners, beyond those wild-reared as well as hatchery reared coho spawners needed for egg/sperm take, nearly 2,000 returning spawning coho salmon (1997-2004) that could have produced larger future low brood-year coho salmon runs, and larger coho salmon runs to the Shasta River.

CDFG have blocked and caused poor-choice tributary habitat-selection for returning spawner coho salmon by using spawner-unfriendly video censusing weirs especially in the Scott River when benign sonar weirs could be used (again CDFG take-permitted by NOAA/NMFS).

CDFG have reared and continue to rear Chinook salmon juveniles to near yearling if not post-yearling age causing predation of 0+ coho juveniles (remarkably this has been funded by coastal fishermen at both Iron Gate and Trinity hatcheries–no longer paid for at Trinity Hatchery according to Wade Sinnen–CDFG-Arcata, pers. comm.).

The National Research Council (2004) report on rare fishes of the Klamath River watershed led by Dr. Peter Moyle (UC Davis) identified residualized steelhead predation on coho salmon juveniles as the prime negative effect of Iron Gate and Lewiston hatcheries.  Residualization is where reared fish stay in freshwater for extended periods of time following release as juveniles.

CDFG has seen fit since that report to rear more predators–in this case too-large/too-old Chinook juveniles that residualize just like steelhead below Iron Gate and Lewiston hatcheries.  Adding to the steelhead residualization problem by raising more predatory Chinook when coho are Federally and State listed in inexcusable and certainly against the law!

Chinook should not be in freshwater at these older ages and sizes–Nature didn’t intend that.  I wonder if NOAA/NMFS has and continues to issue CDFG take permits for this extended size/age rearing practice?

Ocean fishermen fund this practice (pay for hatchery staff and fish food rations) because they think it produces higher Chinook populations when ,in fact, the Earth’s decadal oscillation cycle is the primary driver of ocean current upwelling and salmon survival and growth in the ocean through food and baitfish for adult salmon in the ocean.  So, even the ocean fishermen are being misled by agency staff agendas.

In effect, we have a ‘conspiracy to oppress’ rural agriculture going on in the Klamath River Watershed, led by agenda 21-motivated enviros and willing agency staffs.

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Dr. John W. Menke and Dr. Steve Kaffka on TMDL assessments

Agriculture, Agriculture - California, California Rivers, California water, Federal gov & land grabs, John Menke Ph.D., OR Senator Doug Whitsett, Oregon governments, Property rights, State gov

PNP comment: TMDL stands for “Total Maximum Daily Loads” of a negative that will be allowed (Permitted eventually) the the Regional Water Quality Control Board. It is all smoke and mirrors to control water. — Editor Liz Bowen

Read Senator Whitsett’s comment:

Non-Point Source Water Regulations, Senator Doug Whitsett, posted to KBC 4/29/12

Dr. John W. Menke’s response:

Dr. Steve Kaffka (my former colleague at UC Davis) did a multi-year water quality study on the Tulelake Irrigation District in the late 1990s and published it in 2001 or 2002.

He came to the conclusion that the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s TMDL assessment was “not rational”–temperature and phosphorus impairments in the Upper Klamath Basin cannot be fully mitigated.

 Agricultural practices on the TID results in cleaner water accretion to the upper Klamath River than source water for that irrigation district.  In effect, TID sequesters phosphorous in crop exports from the Upper Klamath Basin.

Agriculture in this case is a mitigation tool for Nature’s wrath–natural high phosphorus parent materials and spring water, and landscape-level point source concentration of phosphorus by Nature’s waterfowl.

 The Oregon statute is obviously a way to get Oregon law applied through the court system like it is Federal law, and that process is proceeding according to Senator Whitsett’s information. 

I know from friends in Yamhill, OR that horse owners in Oregon cannot put a horse manure pile on the surface of the ground, it must be contained on concrete or an impermeable fabric, and the effluent from manure piles has to be managed regardless how small the pile.

 Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality is in bed with the enviros and urban dwellers in Oregon.

Eliminating flood irrigation as presented in the Whitsett statement would take away the best management practice for maintaining cold ground water accretion to streams especially during hot summer periods in sub-basins like Scott Valley.  Flood irrigated pastures in Quartz Valley, for example, are the primary reason for successful rearing of coho salmon.

 Shasta Valley, not being primarily stream-alluvium-derived does not have as beneficial a cold water accretion process working, thus coho salmon cannot be successfully reared in that system except possibly in the Big Springs area with its very isolated cold water source from Mt. Shasta lava tubes.


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