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Browsing the archives for the Shasta River category.

Klamath Basin: Water pact crumbles in Congress after years of work

Agriculture, Agriculture - California, California water, Endangered Species Act, Federal gov & land grabs, KBRA or KHSA, Klamath County, Klamath River & Dams, Oregon governments, Property rights, Salmon and fish, Scott River & Valley, Shasta River, Siskiyou County, State gov, Threats to agriculture, Tribes

PNP comment: Destruction of the four hydro-electric Klamath dams and the resulting affect it would have on water rights in Oregon and California should have never been part of the KBRA. The Counties of Siskiyou and Oregon in a Bi-state Alliance asked that Klamath dam removal be taken out of the KBRA, but the stakeholders would have nothing to do with it. Demolition of Klamath dams will set a precedent that Congress was not willing to do and, more importantly, had nothing to do with irrigation in the Klamath Project as they store their water as part of the “reclamation” project. Please understand that the KBRA could have moved forward, but Klamath dam removal should not have been part of the agreement. It is environmentally ludicrous to take out the Klamath dams. The dams provide needed flood control, summer water flow sustainability for fish; and grow millions of salmon through the Irongate Fish Hatchery. — Editor Liz Bowen

By Jeff Mapes | The Oregonian/OregonLive

on December 19, 2015 at 10:00 AM, updated December 19, 2015 at 10:02 AM

For years, the Klamath Basin water agreement was a feel-good story about racial reconciliation, environmental recovery and the power of working together.

It was an uplifting sequel to the huge protests by farmers during an irrigation shutoff in 2001 and the death of thousands of salmon in the overheated waters of the Klamath River a year later.

After years of negotiation, ranchers, farmers and tribes in the Klamath Basin on the border of Oregon and California reached a water-sharing agreement that included the bold step of removing four aged dams on the Klamath River to restore the health of one of the West’s main salmon-producing waterways.

It became clear this week, however, that there won’t be any storybook ending, at least that anyone can see now.

Congress once again failed to pass legislation implementing the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and its associated pacts. The agreement is set to expire Jan. 1, and nobody’s quite sure what’s going to happen next.

“We collectively as a society missed an opportunity here, and I don’t think we’ll have it again,” said Greg Addington of the Klamath Water Users Association, one of the main players in the saga. “What it means for us in a nutshell is more continued uncertainty.”

The inspiring tale that attracted so much attention masked the fact that not everyone was singing Kumbaya. The agreement never sold well either in solidly Republican Klamath County or on the California side of the border, where the idea of removing dams and tilting the scale toward environmental and tribal purposes was regarded suspiciously.

“They try to say the community is for it, and it’s not true at all,” said Klamath County Chairman Tom Mallams, noting that almost all successful candidates in the area run against the agreement.

Legislation implementing the basin agreement has languished in Congress in the years since Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger staged a celebratory signing in Oregon’s Capitol in 2010.

Among western Republicans, the idea of removing the dams has been viewed with great suspicion, even though the aged structures are relatively small hydroelectric producers, aren’t used for irrigation and have major fish-passage problems. PacifiCorp, which owns the dams, has agreed to remove them instead of going through the uncertainty and huge expense of relicensing them.

But congressional critics have long fretted that it could create a precedent for fulfilling environmentalist fantasies for widespread dam removal in the West.

Republican Rep. Greg Walden, who represents the Oregon side of the basin, kept a careful distance from the agreement, particularly when it came to dam removal. In the last year, he softened his rhetoric about removing dams and has been negotiating with Oregon’s two senators, Democrats Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, on legislation to move the agreement forward.

But those talks came to an end two weeks ago after Walden unveiled a legislative draft that left out dam removal and called for turning over 100,000 acres of federal land to Klamath County and to California’s Siskiyou County.

Walden, suggesting that the dams could potentially be taken out through the regulatory process, said he was trying to figure out a creative way to build support for the agreement among his fellow Republicans.

In the short run, Walden’s proposal appeared to drive away Wyden and Merkley. They said the idea of turning federal forests over to the counties was a nonstarter in the Senate. The omnibus spending bill — once seen as a potential vehicle for Klamath Basin language – passed Friday, and Congress went home for holidays.

“We’re going to continue to work to find a solution that works for the people in the basin and that can be passed in the House and signed into law,” said Walden spokesman Andrew Malcolm. “We’re looking for a viable resolution.”

The senators released their own statement Friday, saying they hope they can make progress when Congress returns next month – but it’s clear they expect Walden to drop his more controversial ideas if anything is going to happen.

“We are hopeful that a path forward can still be found,” the senators said, “if there is an immediate commitment to put aside unnecessary and unrelated policy disputes and instead work toward legislative action first thing in January on an earnest attempt to implement the locally developed agreements.”

The path is getting rockier. One of the three tribes that signed the agreement – the Yuroks in California – have backed away from it, and Addington said some of the groups on the farm side are starting to peel away as well.

A PacifiCorp official told the Capitol Press, an agricultural newspaper, that the company will now seek to relicense its dams. Conversely, WaterWatch, a Portland-based environmental group that never supported the agreement, argues the dams can’t be brought up to modern standards and that it hopes to force their removal through the federal regulatory process.

Meanwhile, Addington said irrigators will probably have to unleash their lawyers to go into court to fight the Klamath Tribes over water rights in the upper basin. The tribes won a 2013 ruling that they hold the superior water rights, but there are still avenues for appeal.

Don Gentry, the Klamath tribal chairman, agreed that more litigation looms.

“We’re going to be basically back in court with one another,” Gentry said, “and that’s a difficult thing. But we have to represent our interests as best we can.”

Gentry noted that many of his tribal members are feeling restless. While they’ve lived within the terms of the agreement for five years, “we haven’t gotten any closer to all the things we want.”

The various signatories to the agreement are planning a conference call Dec. 28 to talk over what might happen next. Addington and Gentry say they hope the good will the signatories have built up over the years while help them continue to negotiate.

One thing everyone hopes for is a good water year to help smooth over conflicts.

In the meantime, Gentry said, supporters of the Klamath agreement are feeling shell-shocked.

“As one person said today,” he explained in a telephone interview, “we’re still going through the stages of grief.”

–Jeff Mapes




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 Quality Control Board will hold meeting in Siskiyou 10-8-14

Scott River & Valley, Shasta River, State gov, Water, Resources & Quality

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is holding its monthly meeting in Siskiyou County this Wednesday.

It will be held at the Mount Shasta Fish Hatchery Museum at 1 North Old Stage Road in Mount Shasta.

Starts at 9 a.m.

Item # 6 will be just before lunch or more likely right after lunch around 1 p.m. This one may get into the Shasta and Scott Rivers and water flow. It would be a good time for those who really understand the rivers — land owners, farmers and ranchers — to show up and voice your concerns over the presentation.

— Editor Liz Bowen

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Stormy debate between environmentalists, ranchers over river flows

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

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


Stormy debate between environmentalists, ranchers over river flows



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


Photo by Jenny Espino // Buy this photo

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

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

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


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Statement by the Montague Water Conservation District on the lawsuit settlement with the Klamath RiverKeepers and Karuk Tribal leadership

Agriculture, Agriculture - California, Karuk Tribe on Klamath, Property rights, Ranch life, Salmon and fish, Shasta River, Threats to agriculture, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

P R E S S    R E L E A S E

From Montague Water Conservation District

For Immediate Release: December 23, 2013

Montague Water Conservation District Settle ESA Suit with Karuk Tribe and Klamath Riverkeeper

MWCD is pleased to announce that on December 20, 2013 it settled a lawsuit brought by the Klamath Riverkeeper and Karuk Tribe in 2012 regarding coho salmon in the Shasta River. The Klamath

Riverkeeper and the Karuk Tribe sued the Montague Water Conservation District (MWCD) in 2012 alleging violations of the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) for take of threatened Coho salmon within the Shasta River watershed, a major tributary to the Klamath River. MWCD denies that it violated the ESA. In fact, MWCD maintains its past and future operations provide substantial benefits to the fisheries in the watershed

MWCD owns and operates several irrigation diversions within the Shasta River watershed including its storage facility, Lake Shastina. MWCD is the largest irrigation district in the Shasta Valley providing water to over 220 agricultural operations producing pasture and hay as well as municipal water to the City of


Conflict between the water needs of agricultural production and those advocating for increased instream cold water habitats has been an issue in the Shasta Valley for many years, largely centering

around the extensive cumulative irrigation diversions that may impact cold water habitats for Coho salmon.

MWCD is pleased that the terms of the settlement agreement are consistent with the long established conservation objectives that the district has long been promoting and implementing. In 2006 MWCD and other proactive agricultural operators in the Scott and Shasta Rivers attempted to acquire ESA coverage for incidental take of Coho salmon through standard agricultural operational activities in exchange for collectively protecting, expanding and enhancing Coho salmon habitat. This was a community and agency supported effort intended to protect fishery resources while also preventing legal challenges against proactive family farms. However, this effort was thwarted by environmental groups, including Klamath Riverkeeper and the Karuk Tribe, that successfully sued in 2011to prevent the implementation of the fully developed program. MWCD found it extremely disheartening to then be sued by the very entities that eliminated a locally developed program for not having the take coverage that program would have provided.

Terms of the recent settlement include interim objectives of increased water releases from Lake Shastina to the Shasta River and additional by-pass flows on Parks Creek, a major tributary to the Shasta River. MWCD also agreed to install a fish screen on Parks Creek and improve operational infrastructure for release flows from Lake Shastina. MWCD will also develop operational plans and has agreed to pay legal fees for Klamath Riverkeeper and Karuk Tribe totaling $550,000 over six years. Finally, MWCD

agreed to continue its efforts to obtain incidental take coverage of Coho salmon.

All told the lawsuit likely cost the community over two million dollars between the three parties.

MWCD’s annual gross income is between $400,000 – $500,000 annually while Klamath Riverkeeper and the Karuk Tribe’s combined annual gross income exceeds $30 million. The financial reality was that MWCD had to settle the lawsuit or permanently close its doors for the simple fact it could not afford to continue and defend itself in this complex, aggressive lawsuit. MWCD credits the Karuk Tribal Council who eventually empathized with the irrigation district and the citizens of the City of Montague, many

whom belong to the Karuk Tribe, and sought ways to find a resolution.

MWCD appreciates the support provided by the community, especially the City of Montague. If it were not for the aid of the community, MWCD would certainly be closed. Still, MWCD has had to lay off all but one of its staff and faces many serious financial challenges as it meets the financial obligations of the

settlement terms. While MWCD is financially strained as a result of the legal challenge, it will steadfastly meet the objectives of the agreement, meet the needs of its users, and provide water for the City of Montague. Montague Water Conservation District will not fail.

Finally, MWCD does not promote or hold anger towards the Karuk Tribe. The Karuk Tribe and its members are a critical and vital component of our community and it is the involvement of Tribal Council and their sense of community ultimately made settlement possible. However, it was apparent through this process that the recent financial growth and diversification of the Karuk Tribe has led to actions extending beyond the steady management of the Council.

Signed by the Directors of the Montague Water Conservation District

Stan Sears President

Tristan Allen

Greta Hockaday

Hans Peters

Keith Smith

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Riverkeeper and Karuk tribe settle suit against Montague Water Conservation District

Agriculture, Salmon and fish, Shasta River, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality, Wildlife

PNP comment: Shasta River is teaming with chinook salmon, steelhead, trout and other fish. It is a healthy river. These fish do quite well with the agricultural irrigation systems. There is enough water for these fish. Making coho try to live in a river that isn’t “naturally” a positive habitat is cruel and inhumane. This has been scientifically proven. Klamath River Keepers and Karuk Tribal leaders are using the court system to demean and destroy the City of Montague, Lake Shastina home owners and Shasta Valley farmers and ranchers. Bottom line: The cost of continuing this lawsuit was just too much. I am disgusted and disheartened at our corrupt court system that allows Greenies and political interests to beat law abiding citizens and used environmental lies as the basis for the lawsuit to begin with. Mark my words, this is not the end of the persecution from Klamath RiverKeepers and Karuk Tribal leaders. — Editor Liz Bowen

By David Smith

Posted Dec. 24, 2013 @ 8:42 am

Lake Shastina’s future as a source of agricultural and environmental water was clarified last week as parties signed an agreement that ends a lawsuit alleging harm to Coho salmon in the Shasta River system.

Klamath Riverkeeper initiated the suit in 2012, alleging that actions under the Montague Water Conservation District’s jurisdiction – including operation of Dwinnell Dam and Lake Shastina – result in the illegal “take” of Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast Coho salmon, a species unit listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The settlement agreement lays out the required allocations of water coming from Lake Shastina into the Shasta River system.

The standard is prescribed as 2,250 or 3,000 acre-feet per year, dependent on whether the the water storage volume in Lake Shastina is less than or greater than 18,000 acre-feet.

The agreement also guarantees that each year the MWCD will receive at least 20,500 dedicated acre-feet for irrigation, domestic and municipal purposes.

In addition to minimum water deliveries for environmental and agricultural purposes, the agreement requires MWCD to obtain Clean Water Act permits and California Environmental Quality Act review, and provides a number of requisite changes to the Shasta River system to address environmental quality standards. Included in the list is a fish screen at the Parks Creek diversion, the installation of a lining on the MWCD’s main canal, a maintenance plan for the proposed changes and a water management and operations plan for the operation of MWCD’s facilities.

The agreement calls for the reimbursement of attorney’s fees and costs incurred by the litigation, which requires MWCD to pay $550,000 to Klamath Riverkeeper and the Karuk Tribe over the course of six years, beginning with an initial payment of $150,000 within 10 days of the signing of the agreement.

In exchange for the agreement, the plaintiffs – the Karuk Tribe and Riverkeeper – agree to not file court claims requiring that MWCD: build fish ladders at Dwinnell Dam, pay for fish passage measures beyond Lake Shastina or remove Dwinnell Dam. According to the agreement, the court claim requirement will be in effect for 30 years.

Each of the parties involved in the suit released statements Monday. “We worked hard to find a solution that would start the fisheries restoration process but keep our neighbors in agriculture whole,” Karuk chairman Buster Attebery said in a Karuk Tribe release. Karuk senior fisheries biologist Toz Soto added, “This is a big increase in flows for fish and we expect the fisheries benefits will be seen immediately.”

Riverkeeper spokesperson Malena Marvin said in an email Monday, “De-watering on the Scott and Shasta Rivers hurts fishing-dependent small businesses and Native families up and down the river, not to mention commercial fishermen up and down the coast.

“This settlement shows that enforcing existing environmental law can get water back for fish, and we plan to continue pursuing enforcement as long as de-watering remains a chronic issue on the Scott and Shasta Rivers.”


Read more: http://www.siskiyoudaily.com/article/20131224/NEWS/131229928#ixzz2ojxkpuVL

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Siskiyou court ruling bolsters water rights

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

Siskiyou court ruling bolsters water rights


 Capital Press

Issue Date: January 9, 2013

By Steve Adler


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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Shasta Valley meeting for newest DFG biased stream flow study is Dec. 11 in Yreka, CA.

Dept. Fish & Game, Salmon and fish, Shasta River, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

Attend. BE a watchdog. Speak your knowledge. Do not back down. Most of all, do NOT participate in this pre-determined, biased workshop! We said NO at the Scott River Watershed workshop last week. Hold strong Shasta Valley. — Editor Liz Bowen

Shasta Watershed workshop

Normandeau Associates will facilitate a meeting for the CA. Dept. of Fish and Game to create yet another stream flow study of the Shasta River. This study will set the “minimum” flow amounts that the STATE will allow in the river.

  Wonder if Normandeau and DFG has included NATURE in this workshop?

December 11, 2012

9 AM to 4 PM

Holiday Inn Express Yreka
707 Montague Road
Yreka, CA

Workshop Debrief Each LIAM Workshop

will be followed two days later

December 13, 

 with a Debrief Meeting  from 4 pm. to 7 p.m at the

Holiday Inn Express Yreka.

Note: Debriefing meetings are informal and attendees can drop-in anytime between 4-7 p.m. There will be three short re-cap presentations at 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30 p.m.

*LIAM (Legal-Institutional Analysis Model) engages participants in a formal structured decision-making process in which their concerns are clearly identified and acknowledged. It also helps participants better understand their potential role in conducting or evaluating the technical studies.

LIAM is nothing, but another way to control the out-come, just like Delphi Technique.  

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DFG tries again in Siskiyou County

Dept. Fish & Game, Salmon and fish, Scott River & Valley, Shasta River, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

PNP comment: Once again, the STATE and its contracted company start with a huge bias against landowners for this project. Allowing “stake holders” to participate is outrageteous. The landowners are the only ones that should be making decisions regarding their property.

Remember the Water Right is part of their property. A Water Right is legal. When the snow in the mountains has melted, there isn’t enough water for irrigation and the creeks naturally reduce flow.

The State Dept. of Water Resources has 20 years of stream flow data for the Scott and Shasta Rivers. Landowners have improved and enhanced the rivers and habitat for fish for 20 years. There is definitely a different outcome (BIAS) designed by DFG in spending $200,000 on a NEW flow study.

And, remember, DFG is RE-interpretating their codes to meet THEIR needs! — Editor Liz Bowen

Doubt and distrust – Yreka, CA – Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA


Doubt and distrust

By John Bowman

Siskiyou Daily News

November 16, 2012

At meetings in Fort Jones and Yreka, Curtis Thalken of Normandeau Environmental Consultants explained the first phase of CDFG’s efforts to develop a minimum in-stream flow recommendation for the Scott and Shasta rivers.

Representatives of the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) faced tough crowds at two meetings on Nov. 13 and 14 where they introduced the first phase of a process that will ultimately yield minimum in-stream flow recommendations for the Scott and Shasta rivers.

The agency says they are required by the California Public Resources Code to make the recommendations to the California Water Resources Control Board for a list of streams across the state. They told audiences in Fort Jones and Yreka that the first phase of the process will gather input and recruit participation from landowners and interest groups in order to form a study plan that considers as many perspectives as possible.

Judging by questions and comments from the audiences, strong doubts and distrust in CDFG will make landowner participation in the process a hard sell.

The “orientation” meeting opened with an introduction by Curtis Thalken, a hydrologic engineer from Normandeau Environmental Consultants and a former commander for the Army Corp of Engineers. Normandeau was awarded a CDFG contract to perform the initial study planning phase of the flow studies.

“We like to pride ourselves on the fact that what we do is just solid science,” Thalken told the audience of about 100 at the Holiday Inn Express in Yreka on Wednesday night. “It’s not shaded one way or the other.”

Thalken said he grew up in Nebraska and his grandparents, on both sides of his family, were farmers. He assured the audience that his upbringing made him familiar with issues of farming and irrigation.

Curtis Milliron, CDFG’s northern region fisheries program manager acknowledged the agency’s local trust deficit. He said his agency’s effort to work through the difficulties of resource management in Siskiyou County “have been going on for a long time.”

In October of 2009 a CDFG attempt to develop  an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) program in the Scott and Shasta rivers was halted by lawsuits by environmental and tribal groups. Milliron said Wednesday night he understands “… that failure resulted in a lot of people getting burned. And a lot of trust was lost.”

He said that situation left “… a large hole to dig ourselves out of. And yet, we are here and we’re going to try again,” he added.

Milliron’s statement in Yreka was no exaggeration. He, Thalken and other agency representatives spent the rest of the meeting listening to criticisms and charges of deceit and hypocrisy by state and federal officials.

County supervisor Michael Kobseff told Thalken several times that the process would be flawed from the outset. He said that the study’s baseline information and assumptions were biased because they were supplied by what he alleges are biased government studies.

Several audience members questioned the authority by which the state intends to make and implement the flow recommendations.

Retired rangeland ecologist and Scott Valley rancher John Menke said he questions one of the underlying assumptions of the process – the assertion by CDFG and environmentalists that fish numbers have been declining in the Scott and Shasta rivers over the past few decades.

“We’ve got a hell of an accounting problem,” Menke said, referring to the way fish populations and harvest quotas are monitored. He also accused the agencies of trying to displace agricultural producers. He pointed to the CDFG biologists saying, “These guys right up here, they want us out of here,” to which the audience offered loud applause.

Later in the meeting, Menke also charged that the demise of coho salmon in coastal rivers was the fault of “drug junkies diverting water to grow marijuana.”

Another audience member said he was tired of seeing his friends and neighbors leaving the county because of environmental regulations. He added, “God made us in his likeness and we have been given dominion over [nature]. Fish are not the most important thing. The people and our way of life should be way, way above all that stuff.”

While some audience comments drifted into theology and philosophy, others focused on scientific factors that would influence the outcome of the flow study, such as upland forest management, domestic groundwater use and the effects of suction dredge mining on habitat and stream flows.

Shasta Valley rancher Don Meamber said he fears if the ultimate flow recommendations are moderate enough to be acceptable to the agricultural community they will likely be challenged in court by environmentalists. He cited the failed ITP process as an example.

Lake Shastina Community Services District President Tom Wetter agreed with Meamber’s concerns over the potential for lawsuits. Summing up the fears of many in the audience, he said, “It’s very difficult to be forthcoming and forthright and come up with ideas  because, you know, you’re putting bullets in somebody else’s gun.”

Throughout the meeting, Thalken responded to most questions and comments by saying that the issues raised need to be included in the next round of meetings. Those meetings will be guided by a participatory model known as a Legal Institutional  Analysis Model (LIAM) designed to integrate a wide variety of perspectives in decision making processes.

The LIAM workshops will be used to choose 60 representatives and form a technical advisory group to gather the input of interest groups, including landowners.
The first round of LIAM workshops will be held on Dec. 4 in Fort Jones and Dec. 11 in Yreka. Those interested in being part of the LIAM process may complete an interest form at normandeau.com/scottshasta.

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

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

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BOS questions flow study

Agriculture - California, American Stewards of Liberty, Dept. Fish & Game, Salmon and fish, Scott River & Valley, Shasta River, Threats to agriculture

PNP comment: Cal-Wild, formerly known as Dept. of Fish and Game, is grasping at straws. You see, its sister California agency, Dept. of Water Resources, has 30 years of data, flow studies, along with continued in-stream flow monitors in the Scott River and creeks.

The Shasta and Siskiyou Resource Conservation Districts has also completed years of water flow, instream flow and snow accumulation and rainfall accumulation. THIS INFORMATION is all available, but it does not come up with the CONCLUSION that the Greenies and Cal-Wild want.

What is that conclusion you ask? 

Answer: To blame any loss of water during the summer, especially when the creeks NATURALLY dry up (snow has melted in the mountains and little rainfall) on water right diversions of irrigation water (ditches).

POW thanks the Board of Supervisors for their complaints and factual comments — because the info is already available, but not sufficiently skewed for Cal-Wild to get the end result that it needs. — Editor Liz Bowen

BOS questions flow study – Yreka, CA – Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA


By John Bowman

Siskiyou Daily News

November 9, 2012

Summer and fall flows in the Scott River (above) and Shasta River have been the subject of scrutiny by state and federal fisheries agencies. On Tuesday, the board of supervisors discussed a flow study being developed by the California Department of Fish and Game.

YREKA — Stream flows in the Scott and Shasta rivers were the subject of discussion again at the Siskiyou Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. The board hosted representatives of the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) who briefed them on the agency’s progress in developing an in-stream flow study for the two rivers.

Curtis Milliron, fisheries program manager for CDFG’s northern region, and Mark Wheetley, CDFG flow study project spokesman, appeared before the board to give an update of the department’s progress in developing the flow study that will be used to make recommendations to the state water board regarding the flow needs of salmonid species in the two rivers.

Milliron told the board that a series of 10 public workshops will be held to seek landowner and stakeholder input that will be used to help define the scope of the study. A meeting will be held at the Fort Jones Community Center Nov. 13 from 6-8 p.m., followed by a second meeting on Nov. 14 from 6-8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express in Yreka.

Milliron repeatedly expressed his belief that landowner input will be essential in utilizing local knowledge and local concerns when designing the study plan.

But District 1 Supervisor Jim Cook told Milliron and Wheetley, “These meetings are not going to get you what you claim you want.”

Cook added, “This is not 25 years ago.” He said that 25 years ago landowners in the Shasta River watershed offered to help with a water study. “We’ve been burned so badly by your agency since then,” he said.

Cook explained that he doesn’t expect frustrated landowners to make the effort to attend a meeting. He told the CDFG scientists that public meetings may have worked before “your agency went rogue on us and went nuts and you lost all the support you had 20 years ago.”

Cook insisted that the agency representatives would have to go to the landowners now, rather than expecting the landowners to come to them.

District 5 Supervisor Marcia Armstrong told Milliron and Wheetley that she doesn’t see how CDFG has any authority on the matter of stream flows. She said the Scott and Shasta rivers’ water rights adjudications were established under the authority of the Superior Court of the State of California. Therefore, she believes the state waterboard’s influence is limited to their ability to make recommendations to the court.

Armstrong also expressed her concern that the flow study appears to focus on the in-stream flow needs of fisheries only and does not address other beneficial uses such as agriculture and recreation.

Milliron told Armstrong, “I think you have made some excellent comments and I think you represent the views of many stakeholders that we would like to incorporate into this process.” He added, “I’m hopeful, and I am asking that you would join us next week and bring those comments forward in this process.” He said that, as biologists, he and Wheetley were not equiped to answer many of the regulatory questions but added that they deserved answers. “It will benefit us all to get past those sticking points,” he said, adding that there is a “legal constitutional analysis phase” in the process that will consider the legal and regulatory issues connected to the flow study.

Supervisors Armstrong, Cook and Kobseff all took issue with Milliron’s suggestion that supervisors bring their comments and questions to the public meetings.
Cook said the suggestion “implies that you aren’t going to listen to people except at these meetings.”

District 3 Supervisor Michael Kobseff told Milliron, “I take great offense for you to say to any one of these board members, ‘come to the meeting and give those comments.’ When we’re giving you comments and asking questions here, it’s as good as gold as being at the meeting and if it’s not, don’t show up here again. Because I’m giving you information that you should be hearing and writing down. This is the elected body of the county. You should be paying attention.”

Regarding the authority under which CDFG intends to carry out a flow study and make flow recommendations, the agency states, “Pursuant to Public Resources Code (PRC) Section 10000-10005, CDFG is required to develop stream flow recommendations for the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) for the Scott River and Shasta River.”

According to section 10000 of the code, “… fish and wildlife resources are important for the entire state and are inextricably linked to the continued economic viability of industries, such as the fishing industry, which are desirable and important components of the state’s economy.”

Section 10001 states, “The Director of Fish and Game shall identify and list those streams and watercourses throughout the state for which minimum flow levels need to be established in order to assure the continued viability of stream-related fish and wildlife resources.”

Section 10002 states, “The Director of Fish and Game shall prepare proposed stream flow requirements, which shall be specified in terms of cubic feet of water per second, for each stream or watercourse identified pursuant to Section 10001,” and “The State Water Resources Control Board shall consider these requirements within a stream as set forth in Section 1257.5 of the Water Code.”

The code, adopted by the state legislature, does clearly require the flow studies and subsequent recommendations, but does not specify the authority under which the recommendations would be enforceable.

However, according to Section 4 of the PRC, “No action or proceeding commenced before this code takes effect, and no right accrued, is affected by the provisions of this code, but all procedure thereafter taken therein shall conform to the provisions of this code so far as possible.”


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

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

No Comments

The Nature Conservancy invites the public to see fall salmon run on Shasta River Ranch

Greenies & grant $, Salmon and fish, Shasta River

PNP comment: In truth, cattle do not affect temperature in streams. What ludicrous statements are made in this invitation — continuing to villainize agriculture, when farmers and ranchers desire abundant returning salmon just as much as Greenies like The Nature Conservancy do. At this point, agriculture provides the OPEN SPACE needed for wildlife, including fish in rivers. Save Agriculture and you will Save the Fish. — Editor Liz Bowen



October 10, 2012              Kathleen Goldstein


Nature Conservancy Invites Public to a Unique Look at the Fall Salmon Run

Open House at Shasta Big Springs Ranch a great opportunity for families, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts

WHAT: Fall Chinook salmon are spawning in local rivers, giving Northern Californians a rare opportunity to see these majestic fish as they swim back upstream to spawn after spending several years in the ocean.

“We are opening the gates of Shasta Big Springs Ranch for a couple of days so people in the area can see these amazing fish up-close in a way that is rarely possible anymore in California,” said Amy Hoss, The Nature Conservancy, Shasta River Project Director. “Salmon are icons of our natural heritage and important to California’s economy.  This might be a record year for Chinook, so visitors will be treated to a sight not seen in many years.”

Shasta Big Springs is a picturesque working ranch with the peaks of Mt. Shasta visible in near distance.  With thousands of salmon moving up a small, restored stream, visitors will be able to get a rare glimpse of female salmon guarding and building nests and males competing with each other for spawning opportunities.  There is also an underwater camera for guests to get a fish-eye view.

Staff from The Nature Conservancy, National Marine Fisheries Service, the Shasta Valley Resource Conservation District, California Trout, and the Department of Fish and Game will be available to answer questions and lead short walks to see spawning salmon.

“There are not many places in Northern California where you can see salmon spawning.  This is a wonderful opportunity to both enjoy the beauty of Shasta Big Springs Ranch and see one of nature’s most extraordinary phenomena,” said Hoss.


WHEN:                 Friday, October 26, 2012 -1-4 pm

Saturday, October 27, 2012 – 10 am – 3 pm


LOCATION:         Parking near the Louie Road Bridge over the Shasta River (North of Mt. Shasta & Weed, 4 miles east of I-5 on Louie Road)



At Big Springs Ranch near Mt. Shasta, The Conservancy is working with ranchers to create sustainable practices that improve water quality for salmon. By keeping cattle out of streams, and changing the way irrigation water is managed, we have been able to decrease water temperatures during periods that are critical for salmon. We are currently working with local ranchers and agencies as part of a valley-wide effort to improve conditions for salmon.  For more information – http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/california/explore/shasta-big-springs-ranch-protected.xml

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