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Browsing the blog archives for August, 2016.

Emergency Closure Order for Gap Fire 8-31-16

FIRES, Forestry & USFS

Yreka, CA. – An emergency closure order has been implemented on both the Klamath and Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest lands to provide for public safety and to facilitate wildfire suppression efforts around the Gap Fire. The temporary closure order was implemented due to extreme fire behavior on the Gap Fire—the result of many years of drought, heavy fuel loading and strong erratic winds. The closure order will remain in effect until the fire is declared out.

Going into or being on National Forest lands, roads, or trails within the closure area is prohibited. This includes approximately 23 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail north of Seiad, California.

The Gap Fire Closure Area boundary begins at the intersection of Highway 96 and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and continues north and east to the intersection of the PCT and Forest Road No. 47N01 at Warps Gap. The boundary continues southeast along the northeastern edge of West Beaver Road (Forest Road No. 47N01) to the intersection with Beaver Creek Road (Forest Road 11).  The boundary continues south along the western edge of Beaver Creek Road to the intersection with Highway 96.  From that intersection the boundary continues west along the northern edge of Highway 96 to the intersection with the PCT.

A full description and map of the closure area is available on the Klamath National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/klamath

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Siskiyou Co: Gap Fire update 8-31-16

FIRES, Forestry & USFS

Upcoming public meetings:
Scott Bar Community Center at 6 p.m., TONIGHT

Happy Camp, CA – The Gap Fire is burning on the Klamath National Forest. As of 6am this morning, it is 12,829 acres and 5% contained. Over 1120 firefighters are currently assigned to the fire.

There are NO mandatory evacuations at this time. All have been reduced to advisory. The previous advisory evacuation remains in effect.

The fire was active overnight. Crews worked in the area around Robinson Gulch to contain small spot fires, and began to slowly bring fire to the containment line. They continued to open old dozer lines from the 2014 Beaver Fire north of White Cloud Mountain toward the Pacific Crest Trail. Yesterday evening’s spot fires south of Highway 96 in the Horse Creek drainage were contained. The fire continued overnight to back toward the river at Howard’s Gulch and move toward Johnny O’Neill Ridge.

Crews will work today to continue line construction north from White Cloud Mountain, They will hold existing line and re-establish lines on Buckhorn Ridge northeast toward Dry Lake, working to keep the fire north of Highway 96, and to hold completed containment line around Schutt’s Gulch. Firefighters are looking for opportunities to build line along Johnny O’Neill Ridge as fire approaches.

The operational objectives of the fire remain the same: to keep the fire north of Highway 96, south of the Siskiyou Crest, east of Seiad Creek, and west of the 2014 Beaver Fire footprint.
Mop up and assessment continues along Horse Creek and Middle Creek Roads, where nine structures and twelve outbuildings were destroyed by the Gap Fire on the evening of August 27, 2016. No further structures have been reported damaged or destroyed since that date.

Highway 96 is now open, with controlled, piloted traffic through the fire area. Burned material, rocks, and vegetation loosened by the fire may roll onto the road and drivers are urged to use extreme caution. The road could be closed at any time, should fire conditions change.

Weather today is predicted to be a few degrees cooler than yesterday, with slightly higher relative humidities. Winds are predicted to be light: 3-6mph in the morning with gusts to 15mph predicted for the afternoon.

If you have information about the cause of the fire, please contact the US Forest Service Tipline for the Klamath National Forest at 530-841-4474.

Siskiyou County County has instituted a rapid emergency notification service called CodeRED®. Please visit https://www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/content/codered-emergency-alert-system for more information or to register for CodeRED®. This is the service used to notify residents about evacuations. If residents are not registered with CodeRED they risk no being notified about emergency situations.

For additional information and pictures, please visit http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4997/

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Siskiyou Co. Klamath National Forest update on Gap Fire 8-29-16

FIRES, Forestry & USFS

Upcoming public meetings: Seiad Volunteer Fire Department at 6pm on

August 30, 2016,

Scott Bar Community Center at 6pm on August 31, 2016.

Happy Camp, CA – The Gap Fire is burning on the Klamath National Forest approximately 20 miles west of Yreka and 35 miles east of Happy Camp. As of 6pm this evening, the fire is at approximately 5,500 acres and is still 0% contained. There are 659 resources assigned to the fire, working shifts during the day and overnight.

After burning actively until about midnight, fire growth slowed considerably today, with a heavy inversion of clouds and smoke keeping activity moderate for most of the day. Crews worked to scout and build indirect fireline from White Cloud Mountain down into Robinson Gulch, and to continue building direct line into Schutt’s Gulch and between Buckhorn Ridge and the Beaver Fire scar from 2014. The fire continued to back toward the river today, and crews were able to contain the spot across the river from last night. Fire activity picked up somewhat into the evening as the inversion lifted, with most activity during day shift observed in the Maple Creek and Howard’s Gulch areas.

All evacuations remain in place this evening. Structures in the fire area are being assessed, and property owners are aware of damage to their properties. To date, nine structures have been confirmed destroyed by the Gap Fire.

Highway 96 is now open, with controlled, piloted traffic through the fire area. Burned material, rocks, and vegetation loosened by the fire may roll onto the road and drivers are urged to use extreme caution. The road could be closed at any time, should fire conditions change.

If you have information about the cause of the fire, please contact the US Forest Service Tipline for the Klamath National Forest at 530-841-4470.

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UPDATE: Gap Fire grows to 5,000 acres in Siskiyou County

FIRES, Forestry & USFS

Redding Record Searhlight

Aug. 29, 2016

Updated at 1:10 p.m.

The U.S. Forest Service has told residents of Scott Bar, south of Horse Creek, to get ready to evacuate their homes due to the Gap Fire.

The communities of Horse Creek and Hamburg have been under evacuation orders since Sunday evening, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

What began as a fire on Saturday evening in the Klamath National Forest, the Gap Fire exploded over Sunday night to burn around 5,000 acres and jumping over the Klamath River.

The Siskiyou County Fairgrounds, 1712 Fairlane Rd in Yreka was set up as an emergency shelter. The shelter is also accepting large animals.

Highway 96 is closed from the intersection of Highway 263 to the intersection of Scott River Rd.

Original story

The Gap Fire in Siskiyou County exploded overnight and has grown to around 5,000 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The fire is burning on the Klamath National Forest on both the Seiad Creek and Horse Creek sides of O’Neil Ridge. The fire is in the area of Highway 96, northeast of Yreka.

A map of the Gap Fire can be found here.

Chris Mattern, a volunteer at Quigley’s General Store in Klamath River, said about a dozen people spent most of the night at the store, leaving around 3 a.m. Monday.

Several structures in Horse Creek were destroyed, including homes, Mattern said, adding Klamath River residents have not received instructions from authorities to evacuate.

Mattern said the fire jumped the river sometime during the night.

The last U.S. Forest Service update on the fire was issued Sunday afternoon, at which time officials said the blaze was 700 acres.

Forest Service officials did not immediately return phone messages left by the Record Searchlight.

http://www.redding.com/news/local/Residents-say-Gap-Fire-at-5000-acres-391614841.html?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_content=&utm_campaign=TopHeadlines_Newsletter

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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Klamath River: Gap Fire update from Ray Haupt 8-29-16

FIRES, Forestry & USFS, Ray Haupt, Siskiyou County

PNP comment:  This info came to me this morning from Ray Haupt, our Siskiyou Co. Supervisor for Dist. 5. — Editor Liz Bowen

Gap Fire

Early reports this morning are saying 5 homes lost last night and  one to two dozen outbuildings. Hamburg and Scott Bar under evacuation advisories, safe for now. The fire jumped the river at the mouth of horse Creek last night around 10pm and reports are a 10 to 40 acre fire on the south side of the river. They did use the Cobra helicopter with the FLUR unit on it last night but don’t have the info downloaded yet. That will tell how much fire we have scattered across the landscape and where it wants to move.

Near as I can tell CAL Fire and FS threw everything at their disposal last night at the fire but according to the Siskiyou Unit Chief they were breaking small fires over the county that was detracting from additional response. I’m talking to leadership in OES, CAL Fire and USFS who seem to be working very well together at this time. I don’t know the source of the smaller fires but is very odd. We are under red flag warnings for low humidity and winds today. The IC Team takes over at 0600 today.

Incidentally, that smoke plume is exceptional given they hit this thing all day with air tankers beginning around 0800. They hit it with everything they had on the ground and still this. This is extreme fire behavior only seen by me a few times in my career. What happened last night reminded me of the 2009 Caribou Fire on the Salmon where that fire moved 6.5 miles in 30 minutes.

Evacuation centers are open for residents of Horse Creek, Hamburg and now Scott Bar under advisory evacuation too. The fire jumped the Klamath River around 10pm last night, Sunday.

I am briefing Doug’s office. (Congressman Doug LaMalfa).

Ray A. Haupt

(530) 925-0444

CA RPF #2938

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California high court upholds ban on dredges to extract gold

Courts, Federal gov & land grabs, Lawsuits, Mining

Los Angeles Times

Associated Press
August 22, 2016

California’s ban on the use of suction dredges to extract gold from rivers is legal and not overridden by a 19th century federal law that allows mining on federal land, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The court’s unanimous decision was a victory for environmentalists and a blow to miners, who argued that the ban essentially stopped gold mining because doing it by hand is labor-intensive and makes the enterprise unprofitable.

Environmentalists say suction dredge mining risks killing fish and stirring up toxic mercury.

The high court’s ruling came in an appeal of a criminal case in which miner Brandon Rinehart was convicted of a misdemeanor for suction dredge mining without a permit in 2012 and sentenced to three years’ probation.

Associate Justice Kathryn Werdegar, writing for the court, said the federal Mining Law of 1872 did not guarantee a right to mine free from regulation.

Instead, its goal was to protect miners’ property rights involving the federal land to which they laid claim, she said.

“The mining laws were neither a guarantee that mining would prove feasible nor a grant of immunity against local regulation, but simply an assurance that the ultimate original landowner, the United States, would not interfere by asserting its own property rights,” she wrote.

Rinehart’s attorney, James Buchal, said the high court showed a “casual disregard” for federal law.

He said Rinehart would probably ask the court to review its ruling or appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Suction dredges are powerful underwater vacuums that suck up rocks, gravel and sand from riverbeds to filter out gold.

Miners countered that the state failed to show suction dredge mining killed any fish.

The court’s ruling came more than a century after the famous California gold rush that brought tens of thousands of miners to the state from around the country.

California has experienced a mini-gold rush of sorts in recent years, as low water levels caused by the drought have lured amateur prospectors to riverbed spots that have been out of reach for decades.

There are more than 20,000 mining claims on federal lands in California. Suction dredge mining largely occurs in mountain regions.

California passed a law last year that allows state officials to resume granting permits for suction dredge mining under certain conditions that include making sure the practice does not have any significant effect on fish and wildlife. The conditions have not yet been met, so no permits have been granted.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-gold-prospecting-20160822-snap-story.html

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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Local landowner, Rex Cozzalio, talks Klamath River flows

Klamath Project - BOR, Klamath River & Dams

PNP comment: Sorry, I meant to post this last week, when Rex Cozzalio sent it to me. It is still good info to have from some one who lives below the hydro-electric dams. His family has been there for 4 generations. Thanks for sending Rex. — Editor Liz Bowen

Aug. 21, 2016

Good evening all,

Well, now that we have the hottest days of the year and lowest tributary levels, dam removal proponents have jacked the flows in the Klamath up, using water from the dams that ‘don’t store water’, to trigger a large run of salmon waiting at the ocean up during the normally and naturally worst conditions possible.  What does that suggest?  The only thing they would have liked better are hot night temperatures which we often also get near this time of year, allowing the day/night averaging downriver Klamath water temperatures to rise exacerbating conditions conducive to disease during the period of minimal upriver available spawning habitat.  Likely better to hold the water back to keep salmon at the coast as historically occurred until the natural conditions alter.  However, whichever ‘opinion’ is more accurate, if sincere about intended outcome, both inescapably reveal the agenda of dams’ removals to be totally hypocritical.

As sent to some of you previously, the current data being produced now proves the tremendous improvement dams have made to the historic regional fisheries’ habitat, which local experience and salmon return statistics to the upper river, before and after, have long since repeatedly shown.  Only problem is, like the prior studies, experience, and historical documentation available before, that new data seems to have NO current intent of ‘analysis’ and NO revisions allowed to the ‘Biological Opinions’ until AFTER dams are scheduled to be removed, and the damages to environment, citizenry, property, economics, and reason are irreversible.  Under their current iteration of intimidation, blackmail, and compelled dams’ removals, the one constant is the complete lack of accountability or liability for the losses to regional environment, life, and vested property.   The newly created ‘Dam Removal Entity’ so far is comprised entirely of the same self-benefitting removal proponents responsible for fabricating the removal agenda and ‘premise’ to begin with.  Under their ‘selection’ of taxpayer paid insurance for removals, it will be up to individual damaged parties to lose everything suing first the ‘company’ for compensation, and then the ‘pennyless non-profit’ DRE when the insurance company’s narrowly defined liability ‘protections’ being offered only to government agencies and ‘agreement’ organizers doesn’t extend to the communities and public.

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Water rights discussion at Yreka Patriots meeting 8-30-16

TEA Party, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

Yreka Tea Party Patriots

Meeting for Tuesday, Aug. 30th

6:30 PM at the Covenant Chapel Church

200 Greenhorn Rd.   Yreka 

Speakers:

Angelina Cook

Stewardship Coordinator

Mt. Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center

                 Speaking in favor of Measure H

Groundwater Management Initiative Seeking to Amend Siskiyou County Code

and

Andy Fusso

Treasurer Mt. Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center 

Speaking against “Measure G” 

            The Siskiyou County General Retail Sales Tax Measure”

                                                                                                                    Be an informed voter, plan to attend                  

                                                                                     

Free….no membership.  Doors open at 6PM, come early to socialize with likeminded people.

Questions, Contact Louise @ 530-842-5443

I highly recommend that you read the measures before you come to the meeting so that you can ask informed questions. See instructions below on where to find the ballot measures:

To read text of Measures H and G go to:

https://www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/page/clerk-registrar-of-voters

Click on Elections, Registrar of Voters  (first paragraph on the page)

Scroll down the page to find G and H

Here is a very short description of the ballot measures that will be discussed at  this meeting.

MEASURE H

Groundwater Management Initiative Seeking to Amend Siskiyou County Code.

Shall the County of Siskiyou amend Articles 1 through 3 of Chapter 13 of Title 3 of the Siskiyou County Code to extend the requirement to obtain a groundwater extraction permit to all other groundwater sources in the County not currently defined as a groundwater basin when groundwater is extracted for use outside the County, and to remove the permitting exemption for commercial water bottling enterprises?

Measure G

.25% general sales tax for the County which can be used to pay on a loan for a new jail.  The tas  will end when the loan is paid off.

 

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‘Massive’ ESA lawsuit threatened—again

Agriculture, Congress - Senate, CORRUPTION, Courts, Endangered Species Act, Greenies & grant $, Lawsuits

NEWS

Western Livestock Journal

AUG 26, 2016

By THEODORA JOHNSON, WLJ CORRESPONDENT

—History set to repeat itself; environmental group tries to force USFWS’ hand

Is it 2016 or 2011? Or perhaps just a bad case of déjà vu?

Last Tuesday saw the history of 2011 repeated as an environmental litigation group threatened to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to force Endangered Species Act (ESA) decisions on 417 species.

Five years ago saw an ESA “mega-settlement” which forced USFWS to crank out over 1,200 backlogged listing and critical habitat decisions. In return, the two environmental groups that brought the case—Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and WildEarth Guardians—were expected (although not required) to back off on further litigation and additional listing petitions.

But now, the CBD is threatening to sue again, hoping to force “12-month finding” decisions on this new group of species. In fact, CBD and other groups never did stop filing petitions or lawsuits. Since the 2011 settlement, CBD and others have petitioned roughly 140 species, and CBD and WildEarth Guardians alone have filed over 130 of them since 2013, according to CBD’s own website.

Legal details

The 12-month finding is one step in the ESA listing process. One year after a species is petitioned for listing, USFWS is required to determine whether listing is “not warranted;” “warranted,” which leads to 60 days of public comments, then a final listing decision; or “warranted but precluded,” which places the species on the “candidate” list.

According to CBD, those 12-month findings on the 417 species are anywhere from one to seven years late. The species’ locations span from Washington State to Florida. They include 235 invertebrates (mussels, snails, beetles, etc.), 87 plants, 58 amphibians and reptiles, 27 fish, six birds, and seven mammals.

“This is precisely why the [ESA] is broken,” said Ethan Lane of the Public Lands Council (PLC) and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) in the groups’ statement.

“Groups like [CBD] are attempting to force their agenda on [USFWS] through litigation abuse. Substantive ESA reform is needed now to allow [USFWS] the autonomy necessary to prioritize species conservation according to need, rather than political agenda.”

Litigation: exception or rule?

CBD cites a recent study that found that “lawsuits from conservation groups … have played a key role in speeding protection for imperiled species.” The study was co-authored by CBD’s own Endangered Species Director, Noah Greenwald, and published last month in the academic journal, Biological Conservation.

Under the ESA, anyone can petition to list a species as threatened or endangered. From that point on, USFWS faces multiple deadlines and must issue multiple decisions. Wyoming attorney Karen Budd-Falen, who testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on April 20, said the listing process for just one species provides environmental groups with eight different opportunities to sue USFWS. And, she added, the ESA allows litigants to reap attorney fees. She told WLJ that she has seen groups charge $775 per hour for attorney fees. ESA litigation, she said, is a “business decision” on the part of environmental groups, and said it’s having the effect of “shutting down the [USFWS] from implementing the entirety of the ESA.”

Budd-Falen said USFWS is so swamped with petitions and the ensuing lawsuits that species recovery has become an afterthought. As of April, only 63 of the total 2,258 listed species had been delisted. Many of those delisted were not actually recovered; 19 of them were removed because of an error in the original data, and 10 of them, she said, had gone extinct.

Budd-Falen said USFWS is trending away from creating species recovery plans, which are usually a prerequisite to delisting a species.

In the 1990s, 843 species had recovery plans. From 2010 to today, only 177 species have been included in recovery plans.

The ESA requires USFWS to develop recovery plans and measurable objectives that would trigger a species’ delisting. However, the law doesn’t put a time frame on recovery plans and objectives. The lack of an enforceable time frame, Budd-Falen said, adds to USFWS’ propensity of putting recovery plans on the back burner.

Litigation versus science

Budd-Falen stated that one effect of all the litigation has been a shift away from science-based decision making and recovery plan development. Instead, USFWS has turned its focus to meeting court-ordered deadlines.

One of USFWS’ documents says as much: A memorandum from May 20, 2014 states, “Our primary (and perhaps only) focus will be on meeting court-ordered and settlement deadlines for findings…we do not plan to carry out… non-[2011 settlement] findings and proposed rules, or recovery plan revisions.”

The imposition of litigation deadlines has been felt on the ground in various ways, according to Budd-Falen. For example, according to the USFWS, the 2011 settlement prevented it from delaying its listing decision on the lesser-prairie chicken, rather than give the locally-driven and USFWS-approved range-wide conservation plan a chance to work (the decision has since been overturned nationwide by court order).

Similarly, the agency did not have enough time to update the Mexican wolf recovery plan in light of litigation-imposed deadlines.

“In other cases, USFWS has denied requests for extensions of time to comment on [experimental population rules] or has stated that certain activities have not been done because of the requirement imposed by litigation deadlines,” Budd- Falen testified.

Solutions?

In May of 2015, the Obama administration proposed new regulations to slow down listing petitions by requiring more scientific documentation and consultation with state wildlife agencies. However, Budd-Falen told WLJ that USFWS backed off on their proposal after receiving pushback from environmental groups. The revised proposal, she said, makes very little changes to the current procedures.

“Congress needs to fix [the ESA] so that there’s either an annual limit on petitions, or added flexibility on time frames,” she told WLJ.

Budd-Falen reported she has testified at least seven times on ESA problems over the years, but that so far Congress hasn’t enacted any reforms to the 1972 act. Several worthy bills have been introduced in recent years though, she said. They would have required more scientific rigor in ESA decisions; public posting of scientific documentation; capping of attorney fees; and specific involvement of state, local and tribal governments for species on their land.

“Congress has got to take away the cause of action— the courts can’t do it,” Budd- Falen said. “Congress has got to get its collective act together.” — Theodora Johnson, WLJ Correspondent

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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Vote to save the Klamath dams

Klamath Basin Crisis.org

PNP comment: Once again, the Herald & News is pushing the destruction of the Klamath dams. Do not understand why they are so biased.

Please vote in H&N poll for saving the dams.

More information on H&N’s latest escapade is in the top article from Klamath Basin Crisis News, below.

Thanks

Liz Bowen, editor

Herald and News Survey: Should the Klamath River dams be removed: http://www.heraldandnews.com/local_surveys/should-the-klamath-river-hydroelectric-dams-be-removed/poll_16d9daac-6bad-11e6-8b9e-7f0d9c4a110d.html

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