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Browsing the blog archives for August, 2013.

North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board will hold meeting Nov. 21, 2013

State gov, Water, Resources & Quality

This is a message from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, North Coast Region (1).

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a public hearing will be held by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Water Board) on November 21, 2013 to consider adoption of an amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan for the North Coast Region incorporating a Policy for the Implementation of the Water Quality Objectives for Temperature, and Action Plans to Address Temperature Impairments in the Mattole, Navarro, and Eel River Watersheds.  The Regional Water Board will hold a public workshop on September26, 2013, to solicit comments on the draft Policy and Action Plans.

The draft Policy, Action Plans, and supporting documents are available for review at the Regional Water Board website: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/water_issues/programs/basin_plan/temperature_amendment.shtml.

Public Comment Period

The draft Policy, Action Plans, Public Notice, and Staff Report are available for public review beginning on August 30, 2013, ending at 5:00 p.m. on October 14, 2013.  Persons wishing to comment on the proposed Policy and associated documents must submit comments in writing to the Regional Board no later than 5:00 p.m. on October 14, 2013.

If you have questions, or if you have any problems accessing the documents via the website, please contact Bryan McFadin at 707-576-2751 or bryan.mcfadin@waterboards.ca.gov.


Bryan McFadin, P.E.

Senior Water Resource Control Engineer

North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board

(707) 576-2751 (desk)

(707) 523-0135 (fax)

5550 Skylane Blvd., Suite. A

Santa Rosa CA 95403

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Vilsack defends forest management amid fires

Agriculture, Federal gov & land grabs, FIRES, Forestry & USFS

PNP comment: Sec. Vilsack is disgusting in his comments. Either he truly does not understand Forest Ecology 101 or just can’t help but lie. USFS managed lands are a disaster. Trees must be thinned to create healthy stands that will withstand wildfire. What a pack of poop our Ag. Secretary expounds! He produces as much as a feedlot of growing cattle! Read this article with your hip-boots on! — Editor Liz Bowen

 Capital Press

Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013 11:00 AM

By Tim Hearden

Capital Press

SACRAMENTO — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack largely defended the federal government’s management of national forests amid criticisms that massive buildups of hazardous fuels have added to wildfires’ intensity.

Vilsack said there’s “no question there’s been more intense fires,” but the total number of fires this summer is down a bit from a normal year. He said his agency is committed to efforts like the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, a series of conservation projects on federal lands.

The secretary blamed this year’s budget sequestration for cutting the agency’s funding and said he’ll be working with Congress this fall to establish “a larger and more significant commitment to fire suppression.”

“We are treating more board-feet and we are committed to restoration,” Vilsack told the Capital Press during a conference call with reporters on Aug. 28. “In the meantime we’re going to have to fight these fires aggressively and do it in a way that doesn’t threaten life or limb.”

Vilsack’s comments come as about 50 major wildfires continue to burn throughout the West. Many of them are on U.S. Forest Service land, including the nearly 300-square-mile Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, which has quickly grown into one of the largest wildfires in California history.

The fires have displaced or killed thousands of head of cattle, burned up federal grazing allotments and devastated timberland, prompting many ranchers and timber operators to call for more thinning of forests to reduce fires’ catastrophic effects.

For instance, ranchers suffering significant cattle losses and more than 280,000 acres of burned-out grazing land in the rugged Boise National Forest in Idaho voiced frustration last week with the Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management. They said the government won’t allow grazing and timber cuts, so it just burns.

The fires’ intensity prompted U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Idaho Republican Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo to promise an effort this fall to pass a forest management plan that includes more thinning of overgrown forest stands and proper grazing.

In the House of Representatives, Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., is advancing the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, which aims to re-establish a priority for actively managing federal lands through timber production and other measures.

Running out of money to fight wildfires at the peak of the season, the Forest Service recently diverted $600 million from timber, recreation and other areas to use for fire suppression. The nation’s top wildfire-fighting agency was down to $50 million after spending $967 million as of mid-August, according to The Associated Press.

The mandatory budget-cutting measure known as sequestration reduced the Forest Service’s budget 5 percent, forcing cuts of 500 firefighters and 50 engines.

Vilsack said the government should start treating wildfires in the same way it deals with hurricanes and tornadoes. He said fire suppression often has to override prevention activities in the Forest Service’s budget.

“We don’t have to do that in other disaster situations,” he said. “That’s why we’re going to work with Congress, with members of Congress who are concerned about this, to establish a larger and more significant commitment to fire suppression so we don’t have to compromise resources in the Forest Service budget.”




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Calif. cattlemen scramble to save herds, find feed

Agriculture - California, cattle, Federal gov & land grabs, Forestry & USFS

Capital Press

Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 10:48 AM

By Tim Hearden

Capital Press

SONORA, Calif. — One of the largest wildfires in California history has displaced or killed hundreds of head of cattle, burned up federal grazing allotments and devastated commercial timberland, including 12,000 acres owned by Sierra Pacific Industries.

At least a half-dozen ranchers lost their permitted grazing land and were scrambling to get their animals out of the way of the 280-square-mile Rim Fire, which was burning near Yosemite National Park and was about 20 percent contained as of Aug. 27.

Some cattle producers have not been able to find all their animals. Among them were Sherri Brennan, a rancher and Tuolumne County supervisor.

“We are anticipating some losses just because of the area that we’re in,” Brennan said. “These cattle are moving quite a bit. We’ve brought out some of our neighbors’ cattle, so we’re hoping some of ours have surfaced. But there are some ranchers that have had really substantial losses.”

Along the Highway 120 corridor, one family lost a cabin, a corral, water systems and an untold number of cattle, said Dick Gaiser, president of the Tuolumne County Farm Bureau.

“I know people have been finding pockets where there’s 25 or 30 cattle dead,” Brennan said. “There’s going to be a lot of that.”

The nearly 2-week-old blaze — now the seventh-largest California wildfire in records dating to 1932 — was threatening about 4,500 structures and had destroyed at least 23 as of Aug. 27. Thousands of firefighters have arrived since the fire erupted Aug. 17 west of Yosemite in the Stanislaus National Forest, where the slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range begin to rise above the eastern side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The fire’s 300-foot walls of flame have swept through steep river canyons and stands of thick oak and pine, closing in on Tuolumne City and other mountain communities. The fire has also threatened the main reservoir serving San Francisco, prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency for the city.

Sierra Pacific owns 18,000 acres of private timberland in the area, of which 12,000 acres have burned, spokesman Mark Pawlicki said. The Anderson, Calif.-based company has not yet estimated a dollar amount for the loss.

“The smoke is so thick we can’t assess it yet,” Pawlicki said. “We’re doing rough estimates.”

SPI’s foresters have been out helping the firefighters by providing maps and designating fire breaks, Pawlicki said. The company can harvest burned areas once the fire is out, and will stop harvesting green timber in the area until the burned timber is salvaged, he said.

The destruction of federal grazing land has forced producers to bring their cattle down from the hills a month or two early, which will leave them scrambling for hay and other supplemental feed. The local Farm Bureau has teamed with the Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority to put out an appeal for hay and other feed.

The organizations are willing to pay market value, though donations would be appreciated, Gaiser said. Those with feed to sell or donate are encouraged to call Gaiser at (209) 984-5922 or (209) 541-8098.

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency has been in contact with county Agricultural Commissioner Vicki Helmar’s office about disaster assistance, which will become available after the county quantifies losses, Helmar said.

“We’re all trying to get as much information as promptly as we can,” she said. “Things are changing daily. We have all kinds of evacuations going on. This is a fire that has many fronts, so it’s difficult.”

Ranchers with federal grazing allotments typically aren’t allowed to bring their animals onto fire-scorched land in the first year after a blaze, but the county will urge the U.S. Forest Service to let livestock back in as quickly as possible, Brennan said.

“Come next spring, there’s going to be some real issues with trying to find feed,” Brennan said, adding there could be lots of displaced cattle.

For SPI, it’s the second straight year that a large swath of timberland has been damaged by fire. Last year’s Ponderosa Fire in Northeastern California burned 17,600 acres of SPI-owned timberland — the worst damage the company has ever seen from a wildfire.

The company spent nearly a year salvaging the trees left standing. The bark protects the wood inside, so trees can still produce lumber even though they’ve been killed.

The latest wildfire only underscores the need for better management of federal forest lands, Pawlicki said.

“We’re just seeing … drier conditions, particularly on federal land where we’re seeing this massive fuel buildup,” he said. “It gets roaring hot and burns onto our land. It’s just more evidence that these lands need to be managed.”

Timber can’t be insured, Pawlicki has said. Cattle on grazing allotments can, Gaiser said, but the premiums are too cost-prohibitive when you consider the rarity of wildfires.

“But if they don’t start doing something about these forests, you’re probably going to see more of it,” he said.


Current California fire information: http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_current

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Drought promotes duck die-off at Ore. refuge

Agriculture, Air, Climate & Weather, Water rights, Wildlife

PNP comment: Remember that most of the lack of irrigation water in the Upper Klamath is because the Klamath Tribe took priority Water Right and shut-off Water Rights to ranchers. Please read between the lines on this article as it should have made that point extremely clear ! — Editor Liz Bowen

    Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013 8:30 AM

 Capital Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The drought that has forced irrigation shutoffs at cattle ranches in the upper Klamath Basin is also causing hardship for waterfowl on national wildlife refuges in the region.

Thousands of ducks are dying from a disease called avian botulism on the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Tule Lake, Calif., due to overcrowded marshes.

While the Tule Lake refuge gets water running off a federal irrigation project that’s getting water, current management plans allow none this summer for the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, which is practically dry.

That leads to overcrowding on the marshes at Tule Lake, which promotes the spread of the disease, said refuges biologist Dave Mauser. The 13,000 acres of marsh is supporting some 150,000 birds. So far volunteers have picked up 4,500 dead birds, most of them mallards and other kinds of ducks, in an effort to stop the spread of the disease. Mauser estimates the disease has killed about 9,000, putting this year on track to be one of the worst this decade.

The ducks can’t fly somewhere else, because they are molting and have lost their flight feathers, leaving them stranded for a month, he added.

The refuges are a key stop on the Pacific Flyway, and the outlook for this fall is not good, Mauser said. Normally, Lower Klamath would have 20,000 acres flooded now, with water to flood several thousand acres more this fall, after irrigation season is done. But overall the marsh will be about half of normal, and drought is drying up marshes up and down the West Coast, Mauser said. Birds that survive the outbreak may well spread it to other marshes once they embark on their fall migration.

“It’s frustrating,” Mauser said. “The way water policies are, we’re last in line for water.”

Drought this year has reverberated through the basin. The Klamath Tribes are exercising newly recognized senior water rights to protect fish on rivers on former reservation lands in the upper basin. That has forced irrigation shutoffs to ranches drawing water for cattle pasture. Meanwhile, a federal irrigation project is getting most of the water it needs for farms. But that has left none for Lower Klamath refuge, which is at the end of the line. Meanwhile, water that would normally go to farms in central California is being released to keep Klamath River salmon from dying.

Botulism is a toxic bacterium that grows in low oxygen conditions on protein, such as dead fish or birds. Maggots feeding on the rotting flesh take in the toxin, and ducks eating the maggots get sick and die. This strain of botulism does not affect humans, Mauser said.

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Nowhere to roam

Endangered Species Act


Jul 13, 2013

Environmental groups and forest service-connected agencies keep crying wolf with more than 1,000 “endangered” species, while more are to be added to their endless list. As for Tahoe National Forest, now the yellow-legged frog family is so important that a public land grab, 2 million acre-takings agenda lies down the road, which I have paraphrased here:

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, propose to designate critical habitat for the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog … and the Yosemite toad under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 presently projected to affect Nevada County and 16 other California counties.

The greatest concern with the frog, apparently is predation by non-native trout in mountain waterways, drifting pesticides, disease and climate change. However, scientists neglected to mention the massive “let it burn” fires in the habitat destruction assessment, which allows millions of acres to burn every year. Was this an oversight?

If this “bio region” goes into effect, kiss old Tahoe National Forest goodbye and the rest of the Sierra as our forest service agencies will continue to use wildfire and “endangered species” to push their bogus agendas and also us out of the Sierra into major cities for the sole purpose of control.

Wasn’t there already enough damage done when the road closures began in the 1990s, when logging was brought to a near standstill and whole rural economies were devastated and brought to dire poverty throughout the Sierra? Just start counting the thousands of trailers and run-down mobile homes. So this what the hard-working public gets for paying their taxes for roughly 45 years of their life, but now they will have nowhere to roam?

If this proposal passes, expect more forest service road closures and a lot less recreation, if any. So far, the forestry agencies are careful not to reveal what new restrictions will be in effect if their massive, Marxist endangered species proposal is implemented. No transparency here, but on the horizon, less access will surely follow while there could very well be an end to the following: logging, mining, hiking trails, fishing, horseback riding, camping, swimming, hunting, trail bike paths, firewood cutting, normal travel by vehicles and regular access with off-road vehicles, such as ATVs or dirt bikes.

The forests in question are public lands that were set aside for the people’s enjoyment and not a family of frogs, owls and wolves. Teddy Roosevelt, who was instrumental in bringing us our first national park, was a hunter. Is there anyone out there who is ready to chisel him off of Mount Rushmore because he might have enjoyed hunting for elk in the Rocky Mountains? When it’s all said and done, will a person even be able to pan for gold along the Yuba River?

The charade of the environmental protection saddled with enviro lawsuits and forestry regulations is being used against a people that are already oppressed with rock bottom wages, unemployment, foreclosures and inflation. Only a sadistic mind-set would want to limit or prevent the public from the enjoyment of their forests, which in all actuality, belong to them anyway. We, as a people, cannot afford to give the government one more inch of land, which was originally meant for the public good and their welfare, and we certainly don’t need those rights taken away that are already inalienable God-given rights to begin with, which by the way, was the rock of freedom that this nation was founded upon.

Shall we now offer these rights back to the “keepers of the forest,”

who are saying that they no longer have enough money to fight every last forest fire in 2013, while the state of California charges Sierra Nevada homeowners an extra tax that will go into Cal Fire’s coffers for, what, their retirement? Where is the outrage?

Chuck Frank lives in Penn Valley.

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Update on Klamath National Forest Fires 8-31-13

FIRES, Forestry & USFS

As of Aug. 30, 3013 at 6 p.m. the Salmon River Complex Fires are completely contained !!!!

KNF Initial Attack Fires
One new fire was reported on the forest yesterday. The one-tenth acre Snow Slide Fire near a lake of that name is burning in the Trinity Alps Wilderness on the Salmon-Scott Ranger District. A helicopter was used to insert firefighters. Three personnel remained through the night and continue working today to assure this fire is contained.

Forks Complex
On the Butler Fire, a hot shot crew is back in the Nordheimer Creek area again today constructing handline and extinguishing hot spots so the fire is not allowed to spread out of this drainage.  Helicopters are assisting with this effort as well.  Firefighters working on other sections of the Butler Fire are performing mop up to a distance of 300 feet from the edge of the fireline where possible.

Crews are continuing suppression repair on the northern edge of the Salmon River Fire and are cooling hot spots remaining from recent fire activity in the Jackass Gulch area.


Ken Sandusky, Public Affairs Officer

Klamath National Forest

530-841-4485 (o)

541-891-7321 (c)

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Some Budweiser Commerials that are worth watching


Several Budweiser Commercials   compiled together…


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Elk herd found dead in northeastern N.M.




By   Tina Jensen

       Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013, 3:07 PM MDT
  • Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 11:21 PM MDT

MORA, N.M. (KRQE) – State biologists are trying to unravel a mystery of what killed a herd of elk in northeastern New Mexico.

More than 100 elk found were dead on a ranch about 20 miles north of Las Vegas this week.

Sky News 13 flew over the gruesome discovery on the sprawling 75,000-acre Buena Vista Ranch near Mora.

The elk weren’t shot, so the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is investigating just what caused the deaths.

Their top suspicion: something called Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, or EHD.  The often-fatal disease is caused by insect bites.

“With EHD, an elk could get a fever,” said Game and Fish spokesperson Rachel Shockley. “It’s usually a pretty fast illness, and up to eight to 36 hours later the animals go into shock, and then they die.”

With elk bow hunting season starting on Sunday, some guided expeditions in the area may be called off.

Biologists are sending tissue samples from the elk and water samples from the area for testing.

If it is EHD, Game and Fish says it’s not contagious to humans.  The disease is spread from insect bites, not animal to animal.

Game and Fish say no other die-offs of elk have been reported in New Mexico so far this year.

They say hunters should avoid harvesting elk that appear sick and to call and report anything unusual.


Klamath Basin Crisis.org news 8-28-13

Klamath Basin Crisis.org

(Klamath) Racism and Land Theft, Oregon-Style, by Erika Bentsen, posted to KBC 8/28/13. “What does this mean to the future of Klamath County? Are tribal members going to be the only ones allowed to own land? Now that irrigation is taken out of production, property values are plummeting. But only tribal members will be compensated; all others will be bankrupted. Who gets the land next? Will the tribes buy it for pennies on the dollar? Then what? Will the water in the rivers no longer be called, like it was before the tribes sold the reservation?”

                        No water, no cattle. Shipping out: Cattle moved from Modoc Point. Without water, ranchers cannot feed cattle in the upper Basin, H&N posted to KBC 8/28/13.

Focus on who was not invited to water solutions, James Finses, posted to KBC 8/4/13. “On the invite list are the following special interest groups: California Trout, Waterwatch of Oregon, Oregon Wild, Sustainable Northwest, American Rivers, Klamath Tribes, Yurok Tribes, Karuk Tribes, and Hoopa Valley Trial Council… voters like you and me are not invited. In both Klamath and Siskiyou counties, voters elect the county boards of commissioners or supervisors to represent the voters. Where are they on the list of invited stockholders?”

Science of (Klamath) fish mortality should be challenged, by Jerry Jones, Chiloquin H&N, posted to KBC 8/28/13. “Most of the summer is gone with no resumption of water deliveries to Upper Basin irrigators…The state and federal governments conspired with the tribes to create this problem and destroy the opposition to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement…”

Senator Doug Whitsett:
* Oregon’s workforce and its consumers suffer each time that our governments impose new costs on private businesses. 8/27/13
* More than a dozen bills relating to firearms were introduced 8/14/13
* The Oregon Water Resources Department is no longer a friend of agriculture. 8/1/13. “More than 250 water users holding Allottee and Walton water rights dating to 1864 are being forced to turn off their irrigation water…The Department’s final determination gave the Tribes such a huge amount of water that virtually no additional water will be available for irrigation in a normal year…”
* The Assembly had two primary tasks; to balance the budgets and to take meaningful action to address an unsustainable Public Employment retirement System. We failed both tests. 7/13/13


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New fire from weekend lightning strikes

FIRES, Forestry & USFS

KNF Initial Attack Fires

One new start was identified yesterday. This is the Elk Fire on the Happy Camp Ranger District at one-half acre in size. A crew has responded to contain and control this wildfire. The Elk Fire is being investigated as human-caused.

With conditions still ripe for more wildfire, it pays to be careful with anything possibly causing a spark. Simple actions may prevent costly fires: Shorten towing safety chains to be sure they do not drag on the roadway; check tire pressure, wheel bearings, breaks and make sure no metal parts are dragging underneath the vehicle. More fire safety information is available at http://www.preventwildfireca.org. Please report all fires or any suspicious activity by calling 9-1-1.

Forks Complex
Firefighters on the Butler Fire are securing hand lines. They are actively engaged with rehabilitation of dozer lines south of Orleans Mountain and mopping up to within 100 feet containment lines where it is safe to do so.  They are also monitoring fire activity in Nordheimer Creek, China Creek and east of Orleans Mountain.

On the Salmon River Fire, firefighters are helping keep fire even as it backs down to the road and containment line near Sawyers Bar in the Jackass Gulch area. Additionally, firefighters are holding and mopping up lines, doing suppression repair work and patrolling for spot fires.

Ken Sandusky, Public Affairs Officer

Klamath National Forest

530-841-4485 (o)

541-891-7321 (c)

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