May 13, 2012
By Liz Bowen
I was not able to attend the Trial this week, but received several reports.
This is a simple issue: Does opening a headgate to remove legal irrigation water create a physical alteration to the streambed and thus, through new language by the DFG, require a Streambed Alteration 1600 Permit?
Landowners in Siskiyou County claim that opening a headgate does NOT affect the streambed and a Permit is not needed. Siskiyou County Farm Bureau has sued the CA. DFG over this issue.
The TRIAL finally began last week in Siskiyou Superior Court. DFG attorneys previously tried to move the Trial to Sacramento or San Francisco, but Farm Bureau’s attorney Darrin Mercier prevailed. We agree. It is a Siskiyou issue and must be tried in Siskiyou Court.
DFG’s in-house attorneys were recently replaced by 3 attorneys from the State Attorney General’s office! Wow, a bit of high power brought in, huh?
Several points made this week as Attorney Mercier presented the Farm Bureau’s case.
1: An expert witness on the 1600 Permit stated that the Streambed Alteration Permit was never about “water” but about protecting the streambed and bank during specific projects. Originally these were big projects like bridge building, road building near creeks, streams and rivers, etc.
2: DFG officials from the Redding Regional Office, Mark Stopher and Neil Manji, can’t seem to remember previous statements they made in their depositions acting like air-heads! And these people are running government programs and agencies!
3: It looks like Mark Stopher, the previous Interim Regional Manager at the Redding office, is the designer of the NEW 1602 Permit. He wrote a NEW definition of requirements for water diversions (irrigators) and did NOT follow correct government procedure. He did not send the new language through the required Administrative Procedures Act process, which is required by law. (Makes us wonder if Mark Stopher believes he is above the law!)
The TRIAL will reconvene on May 29 in the Siskiyou Superior Court.
P.S. Mark Stopher is also the lead for the CA. DFG on the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement as a Stakeholder. The KBRA, if approved, will have a huge impact against our irrigation water in Siskiyou County. You guessed it, we don’t much care for Mark Stopher in Siskiyou.
May 13, 2012
(SACRAMENTO) – Senator Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) today commented on Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s demand that the Legislature abandon its review of the $75 billion high-speed rail project and simply borrow at least $2.6 billion in funding immediately:
“It is obvious that Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood doesn’t understand what is truly at stake in California. This state is facing $14 billion deficit, our students have seen their tuition double, and he wants California to invest in a high speed rail scheme that has a $61 billion shortfall without reviewing the plan’s risks?” asked LaMalfa. “Secretary LaHood’s demand boils down to a belief that Washington, D.C. knows best, a point of view I couldn’t disagree with more strongly.”
California’s High Speed Rail Authority is now pushing its fifth plan in barely four years, one which is both dramatically smaller and costlier than the project promised to voters in 2008. The project now excludes San Diego and Sacramento and at $75 billion costs more than twice what the Authority told voters. LaMalfa has authored Senate Bill 985 to place the project back on the ballot, a proposal the Field Poll found two-thirds of Californians support.
“The two-thirds of Californians who want a vote on the project carry a lot more weight with me than a Washington, D.C. bureaucrat who isn’t worried about how California will fund schools and public safety,” added LaMalfa. “It’s as if he’s unaware of the fact that California can’t simply print money in the way the Obama administration has.”
Senator Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing the fourth Senate District including Shasta, Tehama, Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Siskiyou, Sutter, Del Norte, Placer, Trinity, Yuba and Nevada counties.
May 13, 2012
PNP comment: The West is not running out of water — statements that are incorrectly made. A simple solution to drought years is to build more reservoirs and get better at recycling. If we can put a man on the moon, this is not out of our capability. — Editor Liz Bowen
Aerial photo of goosenecks on the Colorado River above Cataract Canyon in southern Utah, July 28, 2008.
Tom Smart, Deseret News
Published: Saturday, May 12 2012 1:00 p.m. MDT
Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part series on the impacts of the West’s shrinking water supply and the costly battle to find solutions.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The West is running out of water.
Its lifeblood, the Colorado River, is being hemorrhaged by cities, by farms and ranches, by power plants and by the more than 30 million people who depend on its water in the United States and another 6 million people in Mexico.
This year’s flows are near historic lows with runoff about a third of average, pushing the seven states that share the river toward another year of drought. But those stresses are trumped by dire predictions from the agency managing the Colorado River system, forecasting demand far outstripping supply during the next 50 years, reaching crisis levels within two decades.
It reveals a coming tug-of-war over water resources that may pit Utah against other states in the fight for new development, jobs, housing and force an answer to one of the West’s most enduring questions: Who is entitled to the water?
The answer will determine just how much it will cost you to turn on your tap at home or what type of lawn or garden you can have. And the answer is hidden within an expansive, multibillion-dollar effort being waged to keep the river flowing.
“There are no innocent parties,” said Nevada’s Pat Mulroy, who manages a water-delivery system for more than two thirds of her state’s residents. “No one on the river has the luxury of doing nothing.”
The reason? Colorado River flows are shrinking.
Dealing with drought
Even before drought gripped the river system beginning in 2000, a nearly three-decade look at data shows the combination of water use and loss in the Colorado River increased 23 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Think of it as a 23 percent increase in stress on the river system.
The bureau is shepherding a supply-demand study to be released in July that says residents of Utah and the other six basin states should expect droughts lasting five years or more 40 percent of the time over the next 50 years.
A warmer, more volatile climate will mean a drier Colorado River basin overall, with more water lost from the ground through evaporation and transpiration by plants; less snowfall; but more rainfall, which behaves differently in terms of shaping water supply.