Oct 7, 2012
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.
Jul 30, 2012
Yreka Tea Party Patriots
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
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.
Jun 1, 2012
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.
May 5, 2012
By John Menke
Posted on My Outdoor Buddy.com
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.
Jan 7, 2012
Audubon’s annual bird count in Scott Valley
Folks come to our ranch annually for the Christmas bird count–they did it late this year–just a few days ago. A gut pile from a slaughtered cow with a bad hip attracted two bald eagles, one immature and one golden eagle–they said we should do that every year. — John Menke, Ph.D.
Dec 12, 2011
Now it is all coming together. CDFG like the state of California is broke. They want money from us or from anybody they can get it from, but they are doing nothing for the resource anymore but measure it and hurt the fish and wildlife in the process. Look at the way CDFG stands by and lets the spotted owl become extirpated with no fire or thinning on the Klamath National Forest–this is criminal behavior by what should be professionalism on the part of CDFG! In the late late 1970s through the late 1980s CDFG would lobby Forest Service to create more seral habitat for wildlife–not any more–lock it up and let it burn is the current attitude–and consult the lay public all the time for their ideas–BS.
Look at what they are doing to coho salmon at the local hatcheries. Look at their blocking of returning spawners to Scott River tributaries with their mal-designed video weirs–I guess these young folks grew up with too many video games and thought they could sit in their offices and let the cameras do their work. When I asked the head of the CDFG deer program a few years ago what they were doing with the Hill Bill funding–he told me they were using it to pay salaries–not what the bill was intended for–to enhance deer habitat. When I came to Scott Valley, CDFG was removing beaver dams whole hog. I now understand beaver dams are critically important for coho salmon rearing habitat. Hell, Scott Valley was originally named Beaver Valley by the trappers. We no longer let CDFG on our properties because these folks are looking for what is ours and they don’t know how to make better habitats like we do. They learned to build fish screens but now they even make those so they disallow users to get their adjudicated water.
In our area of Siskiyou County CDFG is spending all their time trying to take private property, water, from farmers as well as the farmers’/ranchers’ money. They made DWR so worried that they are having to stop providing watermaster service. They need an early-out program and a significant cutback in staff like the University of California had years ago when I was a professor at UC Davis. 55 years of age or older, give 5 years work credit and $25,000 and kiss them good-by like the University did.
When I visited the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area last spring I found three California Department of Fish and Game staff in their office at 10 am all at their computers looking at women in waterfowl hunting garb judging which woman looked the best. These were pictures of local people who hunt waterfowl. These were unsupervised CDFG staff screwing around inappropriately with no supervision.
I had gone out to the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area that morning to do a reassessment of replicated native and exotic perennial grass plots I helped establish years ago to screen possible species for habitat enhancement. It continues to be a valuable source of information for making recommendations for seedings in the area–I was looking for my best recommendation for John Ballestin’s ranch. I selected the best 30+ species, we put in four replications of 5 x 25 foot plots in a completely randomized designed with a split-block to look at augmented irrigation to help in establishment for the relatively dry Shasta Valley sites. I did the project in cooperation with Bob Smith and cooperative extension folks Dan Drake and Steve Orloff years ago with Ducks Unlimited funding. A great project I must say.
At about 1:30 pm when I passed by the office having finished my plot review, the CDFG staffers were just leaving the office to get to work after conditions had warmed up outside–yes it was cold reviewing the grass plots, but it was fine weather for me.
CDFG bought the ranch property in the early 1990s and have made it into a duck and goose habitat–the Shasta Valley Wildlife Area. They now are a major diverter of the Little Shasta River in winter and early spring to fill duck ponds when that water should be ushering fish out of the valley and diluting natural high phosphorus runoff. They have the largest center pivot irrigation system in Shasta Valley and they have become grain farmers with time to look at women in duck hunting garb while we are paying their salaries. I can just imagine the porn viewing going on in this office when no one is around. If this is what Strategic Vision of California Department of Fish and Game is all about, becoming ”farmers” at the taxpayers’ expense, this is sick. These outlying offices with administrators in way off Redding is no way to manage a program.
We have experienced similar distant administration initiatives of California Department of Fish and Game in their efforts to bill us out of existence in the Watershed-Wide Incidental Take Permit program, and as Gary Cadd spoke about–the reinterpretation of the 1602 Permit Program.
CDFG’s own-approved removal of flashboard irrigation dams and releasing natural high-phosphorus sediments that have accumulated for about 100 years in the Shasta River has likely caused the infectious zone in the Klamath River infecting the majority of escaping juvenile salmonids passing downstream of the mouth of the Shasta River. CDFG staff have not even read the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Shasta River TMDL document describing the risk of releasing sediments from streambed alteration actions in the Shasta River. They are replacing concrete abutment dams with boulder weirs to facilitate upstream movement of coho juveniles to Big Springs, and in the process of release of sediments they have extirpated the coho from Shasta Valley.
Coho habitat needs do not mesh with the habitats of the Shasta River. The Shasta TMDL analysis purposely did not include the HeatSource temperature modeling analysis like that done for the Scott River, or the limitation of heat load in the Shasta River would have been blatantly clear. I served on the advisory committee for the Scott River TMDL and we developed a fine HeatSouce model describing Scott River’s heat dynamics. Just too much exposed dark-colored water in the Shasta River to ever sustain summer rearing habitat for coho juveniles. Bioengineering-wishful folks led by Mike Deas and his too-distant professor Jay Lund at UC Davis have mis-lead CDFG and others that the Shasta River has coho potential which it clearly does not. Having been fostering coho habitat in Quartz Valley now for 18+ years, I know their needs and the Shasta River cannot supply those needs.
The Strategic Vision tenet of having CDFG find its own funding will not work. This is unsupervised agency design–look above what happens with that model! Local RCDs tried that approach and it has failed. There are not enough grants out there and there is not enough money being made in agriculture or forestry to pay CDFG staff or their retirements. I am sure agency folks view the ranch and farm owner as wealthy, and they are on paper, but realizing that wealth as cash requires liquidation and sale of the principle. I know many have used home equity loans to temporarily live the high-society life–well, travel around Scott and Shasta valleys and you will not find many fancy vehicles, boats or travel trailers. The home equity loan program contributed greatly to the state of homeowners today with many owing more than their property is worth. Ranchers and farmers in Scott and Shasta valleys want to be left alone and take care of themselves. Stop the harassment!
Nov 26, 2011
The potential increase of salmon and steelhead trout production in the Klamath River Watershed from dam removal has been severely compromised by the Federal government’s deal (KBRA–Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement) with the Upper Klamath Basin Indian Tribes to send most of the previously used Upper Klamath Basin irrigators’ water down the river year-round.
The benefit of very low natural (pre-1918 dams) summertime flows will continue to be foregone because the agreed-upon flows following dam removal will be too high to allow the sun to kill diseases in the ’infectious zone’ below the mouth of the Shasta River where most of the out-migrating juvenile steelhead trout, coho salmon and Chinook salmon linger and get infected most years. The most sensitive steelhead has essentially been eliminated in returns to Iron Gate Fish Hatchery, and the same has occurred to coho salmon returns to the Shasta River.
Chinook salmon returns are maintained purely due to excessive hatchery rearing, and also production of yearling Chinook salmon juveniles wholly unnatural for this species to be in freshwater at this advanced age.
The multi-mile-long infectious zone in the Klamath River has been thoroughly studied by Oregon State University fish pathologists, and the only solution to that death-trap is to allow mother Nature to do what she always did for millions of years, desiccate the mostly-dry Klamath River streambed by sunshine each summer.
This is a unique need of this river because of the extremely high natural phosphorus soils and parent volcanic rock materials of the Upper Klamath Basin, and the unusually warm headwaters of the upper Klamath River. Too warm water coupled with too high a concentration of available nutrients maximize disease incidence and algaes which have their own effects.
Before the dams were built low summertime flows naturally caused a die-off of native polychaete worm populations living in the streambed below aquatic plants rooted on the streambed due to solarization (intense desiccating heat and solar radiation by the sun). The polychaete worm is the vector of disease to the fish.
Since 1918 the dams on the Klamath River have intercepted sediments from the Upper Klamath Basin, but replacement of irrigators’ concrete irrigation diversion dams on the Shasta River by boulder weirs or pumps to facilitate upstream migration of juvenile coho salmon since Federal listing in 1997, has enhanced the downstream Klamath River rooting habitat for aquatic plants and caused the infectious zone due to sediment deposition from the Shasta River. This unintended consequence of diversion dam removal was not understood until the nutrient Total Maximum Daily Load assessment was done for the Shasta River in 2006
Since COPO built the dams beginning in 1918, their and PacifiCorp’s desire to generate power all summer long every year has allowed this disease vector to develop unknowingly and caused massive death of out-migrating juvenile salmon and steelhead from Iron Gate Hatchery, Bogus Creek and the Shasta River–so-called ‘salmon heaven’ by CalTrout and the Shasta Resource Conservation District.
Had a simple condition been required for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) re-licensing of PacifiCorp’s hydroelectric power generation permit–extremely low flows during a month to six-weeks each summer–the infectious zone and depressed salmon and steelhead production in the Klamath River Basin could have been avoided or could be avoided without dam removal now. One Environmental Protection Agency joint-staff person also with a California State Water Quality Control Board staff-appointment stopped the FERC re-license to bring PacifiCorp under control. The Santa Rosa, California, Agenda 21 Transition City-based staffer almost single-handedly assured the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) by stopping FERC re-licensing of PacifiCorp’s dams.
The never-let-a-crisis-go-to-waste attitude of the Federal government caused it to modify its mission mid-stream to kill off agricultural enterprises in the Upper Klamath Basin, Shasta Valley and Scott Valley, re-wild the whole Klamath River Watershed, and propose the most massive reconstruction of wetland habitat in the history of the World.
Since the late-1980s maturity of the 1905-initiated, now 106-year-old, Klamath Project of replacing putrid wetlands and contaminated water with a fine agricultural production system of land use and superbly bio-remediated downstream Klamath River water below the dams, now the Federal government proposes, in effect, reconstructing the pre-1905 condition. The only winner in this proposed program is government agency employment to oversee the regressive projects involved. Delusional on-project agricultural producers have banked on the honesty of KBRA stakeholders to allow them to practice agriculture. Nothing could be further from the truthful outcome of this melodrama of the future if the KBRA/KHSA happens.
The remarkable willingness of the Department of Interior agencies and California and Oregon State agencies to flush 21-million cubic yards of sediment down the Wild and Scenic Klamath River in the face of Clean Water Act restrictions is a clear indication that this Klamath River Watershed issue is not about the fish, it is about control of private land and water rights pure and simple and taxpayer money paid to agencies and lobbying stakeholders.
In actuality, the estimated 20.4 million cubic yards of sediment assuming that 84% washes down the Klamath River, is the equivalent sediment to cover a 2-lane, 24-foot-wide standard highway one-foot-deep in sediment the equivalent of 3,651 miles which is farther than the distance from San Francisco to New York City. As the expert panel statement implied, it would likely kill the Klamath River for at least 100 years. The sediment must be dredged out prior to dam removal. The behavior of the Federal and State agencies involved is scientific misconduct pure and simple!
John W. Menke, A.A., B.S., M.S., Ph.D., retired professor UC Davis and UC Berkeley (1973-98) and rancher in Quartz Valley, Fort Jones, CA, Klamath River Watershed for 18+ years.