Some farmers, ranchers and landowners believe they will lose their legal Water Right, or the amount of volume of that Water Right will be reduced, through two separate permitting programs designed, updated and written by the California Dept. of Fish and Game or an umbrella permit written by the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District.
The State Fish and Game has used fear of prosecution, steep fines and possible jail-time to coerce these farmers, ranchers and landowners in Siskiyou County to sign these permits. Many are deciding to say “no” as this is changing an adjudicated legal Water Right.
A Water Right is part of property and, as such, is a property right.
On May 27, 2010, the California Department of Fish and Game planned to hold a Scott River Watershed-wide Permitting Program Workshop at 7 p.m. at the Etna City Council Chambers located at 442 Main Street. Fish and Game officials and directors and staff of the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District have actively pushed folks to sign up through several workshops that have been held.
But when government Fish and Game officials heard that a protest by farmers and ranchers was brewing, the meeting was canceled at approximately 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 27, 2010.
No matter, as about 100 concerned citizens showed up anyway and held a meeting. New information was shared.
It was also learned that the Dept. of Fish and Game has extended the deadline for these farmers, ranchers and landowners to sign-on to these permits from May 31, 2010 to June 4, 2010.
The following information was announced by the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District (RCD) regarding the reason for the workshops:
“The purpose of this workshop is to provide information to agricultural irrigation water rights holders about participation in the Watershed-wide Program (Program) available through the Siskiyou RCD, as well as, the requirements for individually obtaining 1602 Streambed Alteration Agreements and Incidental Take Permits (ITP).
“As the end of the enrollment period, as determined by the by the Department, for participating in the Program through the Siskiyou RCD is fast approaching on May 31, 2010 a short-form Notice of Interest Form can be filled out and submitted at this meeting with the $100 application fee.”
Some landowners said they will not participate.
Some have already signed.
Some are still contemplating.
All have a life-changing decision to make — by June 4, 2010.