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Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Thursday, April 6th, 2017.

Washington wolf group charts quicker path to lethal control


Washington’s Wolf Advisory Group revises lethal-control protocol, with goal of saving livestock and wolves

Don Jenkins

Capital Press

Published on March 31, 2017

OLYMPIA — Washington’s Wolf Advisory Group settled on a lethal-control policy Thursday that if in place last year would have allowed wildlife managers to shoot wolves in the Profanity Peak pack nearly three weeks earlier to stop attacks on cattle in the Colville National Forest.

The new policy lowers the threshold for lethal removal and gives the Department of Fish and Wildlife more leeway to act as a pack shows signs of habitually targeting livestock.

WDFW hopes earlier intervention will mean shooting fewer wolves to change the pack’s behavior, the department’s wolf policy coordinator Donny Martorello said. “This could save the lives of livestock and wolves,” he said.

The group represents producers, environmentalists, hunters and animal-rights advocates. Members accepted the lethal-removal protocol to end a two-day meeting to review last year’s policy and to revise it for the upcoming grazing season. WDFW will issue a written protocol in the coming weeks.

Martorello said he called WDFW Director Jim Unsworth during a break and got the director’s support. Ultimately, the decision rests with Unsworth whether to shoot wolves to stop depredations.

Following a policy approved by the advisory group a year ago, Unsworth ordered wolves in the Profanity Peak to be culled after the fourth confirmed attack on livestock. The fourth depredation was confirmed 26 days after the first. WDFW eventually shot seven wolves, leaving four survivors in the pack.

Under the new policy, WDFW will consider lethal removal after three depredations within 30 days. Significantly, one depredation could be classified as “probable.” Previously, only confirmed depredations counted toward triggering lethal removal. To confirm a wolf attack, WDFW investigators look for wounds to the flesh, but in some suspected cases only bones remain.

If in place last summer, WDFW could have initiated lethal removal seven days after the first depredation.

Also, WDFW would have considered shooting wolves last fall in the Smackout pack. WDFW documented one probable and two confirmed depredations within eight days. Under the existing policy, the pack was still two confirmed depredations away from being a candidate for lethal removal.

In cases in which attacks are farther apart, four depredations will remain the threshold, though the window will be shortened to 10 months from 12 months. One probable attack could be counted.

Stevens County Commissioner Don Dashiell, a member of the advisory group, said the new policy improves the lethal-removal protocol. But he said it still doesn’t give WDFW the room to act as soon as attacks begin.

“I’m not that enthused because my vision was one depredation, and we do something,” he said.

The policy also calls for ranchers and WDFW to agree on tactics to prevent and respond to depredations before using lethal control as a last resort. Martorello said the department will not require ranchers to sign damage-prevention contracts. “It can be a dialogue,” he said.

Conservation Northwest’s representative on the advisory group, Paula Swedeen, said the changes were sensible.

“It’s at least a conversation between the (WDFW) conflict specialist and the producer,” she said.

WDFW also pledged to make more information available about what it and ranchers are doing to keep wolves and livestock apart. Swedeen said the on-the-ground measures should reassure wolf advocates. “I think it keeps temperatures down when people have more of a description,” she said.


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Nearly Doubling Cascade/Siskiyou Monument Sets Up Battle

Federal gov & land grabs

March 30, 2017

by Mateusz Perkowski

Capital Press

To rancher Lee Bradshaw, the presidential order nearly doubling the size of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was both shocking and predictable. Ever since the original 53,000 acres of public land were designated as a monument in 2000, there had been whispers about enlarging it. Even so, the announcement during the final days of President Barack Obama’s administration in early 2017 appeared rushed to Bradshaw, particularly since a handful of meetings held about the expansion were more about creating hype than seeking public input, he said.

“I knew it was coming our way, but it was unexpected about the way they did it,” Bradshaw said. With the federal government adding 47,000 acres to the monument, the ranching and timber industries in Southern Oregon are bracing for the worst. Critics of the monument say they’ve seen the economic damage caused by the original designation, leading them to expect similar restrictions on grazing and logging within the expanded boundary.

“Through no fault of their own, their operations are in jeopardy,” said John O’Keeffe, president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. This time, though, the timber industry and county governments are spearheading a legal battle against the monument expansion, arguing the federal government lacks the authority to restrict logging on much of the newly included property. If the litigation proves successful in scaling back the monument’s size, it would also effectively thwart potential restrictions on cattle grazing.

Although inclusion in the monument doesn’t automatically prohibit grazing — as it does most commercial logging — critics say ranchers will inevitably face increased scrutiny and curtailments. “Even though the language of the proclamation says grazing can continue, they just regulate you out of business,” said Karen Budd-Falen, an attorney specializing in public land disputes.

Under the original Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument proclamation issued by President Bill Clinton, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had to analyze whether grazing interferes with “protecting the objects of biological interest.” If necessary, the agency was ordered to retire allotments.

In 2008, the study found “negative interactions between livestock and individual biological objects of interest,” meaning that grazing was “not compatible” with their protection in some locations. This determination convinced Mike Dauenhauer and several other ranchers to sell their grazing rights to environmental groups for an undisclosed amount…more


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Trump administration boosts Mojave Desert water project

Agriculture - California, California water, Dams other than Klamath

The Trump administration has removed a major roadblock to plans by a Santa Monica company to pump ancient groundwater from below the Mojave Desert and sell it to urban areas of Southern California.

The federal Bureau of Land Management has rescinded a 2015 administrative finding that Cadiz, Inc. needed to obtain a federal right of way permit and thus had to complete comprehensive environmental studies before it could build a water pipeline within 43 miles of railroad right of way owned by the Arizona & California Railroad.

The move follows a January decision by the Trump transition team to put Cadiz on a list of priority infrastructure projects, and a state appellate court’s rejection last year of a lawsuit filed by environmental groups challenging the project.

The $225 million Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project still needs approval from the powerful Metropolitan Water District to use the Colorado River Aqueduct to ferry the water to urban Southern California.

Cadiz company officials said in statement that they are pleased with the Trump administration’s decision. The statement said they have always believed “the BLM’s 2015 evaluation was contrary to law and policy.”

In 2008, Cadiz entered into a lease agreement with the railroad company to build a pipeline in between the wells it owns in the Mojave Desert area, west of Needles and south of Interstate 40, to the Colorado River, using the railroad’s right of way over federal land.

From the river area, the water could be ferried to urban Southern California using the aqueduct and reservoir system operated by the Metropolitan Water District.

“Our discussions are continuing about what would be required before they can put water in the Colorado River Aqueduct,” said water district spokesman Bob Muir.

In 2002, the water district’s board voted down an earlier version of the Cadiz project that also needed to use the aqueduct.

The project is staunchly opposed by environmental and desert advocates, who say it would rob the desert of the water that plants and wildlife need to survive.

“Many of the springs and seeps are going to dry up because of groundwater extraction,” said Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity.

She is particularly concerned that the pumping would harm the Mojave National Preserve and recently created Mojave Trails National Preserve.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement that the new administration was muscling through the project without proper reviews. Feinstein is an ardent desert supporter who authored the California Desert Protection Act that created the preserve and other protections more than 20 years ago.

“The Trump administration wants to open the door for a private company to exploit a natural desert aquifer and destroy pristine public land purely for profit,” her statement said.

“The administration is completely undermining federal oversight of railroad rights-of-way.“


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Oroville Dam fix to span two years, but some key work due before winter rains

Agriculture - California, California Rivers, California water, Dams other than Klamath

April 6, 2017

Sac Bee.com

Read more here:


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Mighty L.A. water agency wants a share of Valley’s Sites Reservoir – and is willing to pay

Agriculture, Air, Climate & Weather, California water, Dams other than Klamath

Sac Bee.com

April 6, 2017

Southern California’s most powerful water agency is prepared to invest in Sacramento Valley’s proposed Sites Reservoir, a move that could broaden support for the $4.4 billion project but also raise alarms about a south state “water grab.”

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California would pour $1.5 million into pre-development work at Sites if Metropolitan’s board accepts a recommendation made by its executive staff Wednesday. The board plans to vote on the investment next Tuesday.

Metropolitan could increase its investment later in the project, which has the backing of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration. That would entitle the Southern California agency to control as many as 50,000 acre-feet of storage once the reservoir gets built, according to the Metropolitan staff report. Sites, to be built at a remote location straddling the Glenn-Colusa county line, would be able to hold up to 1.8 million acre-feet.

Metropolitan’s interest “further shows the value of Sites Reservoir as a solution,” said Jim Watson, general manager of the Sites Project Joint Powers Authority.

Watson acknowledged that Metropolitan’s involvement could create backlash about Southern California siphoning more water from the Sacramento Valley. But he said Metropolitan wouldn’t get a seat on the reservoir’s governing board. By state law, the board must be made up of representatives of Sacramento Valley water agencies, he said.

The advocacy group Restore the Delta, however, said Metropolitan is simply angling to take more water from the north. “They are really coming in as an outside power to control that watershed…the Sacramento River watershed,” said the group’s director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla.

Proponents say Sites would improve water storage and the environment, making water available to improve conditions of endangered fish species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Sites would be California’s seventh largest reservoir, and the largest built in the state since New Melones opened on the Stanislaus River in 1979. It would be an “off-river” reservoir fed by an underground 14-mile pipeline from the Sacramento River.

Until now, Metropolitan has been hesitant to commit to Sites. General Manager Jeff Kightlinger, in an interview last November, said the reservoir would have little value for Metropolitan unless the state builds its controversial twin tunnels in the Delta. Metropolitan is one of the leading backers of the $15.5 billion tunnels plan, which is designed to re-engineer the troubled Delta and smooth the delivery of Northern California’s water to points south.

Metropolitan is signing on to help with planning work on Sites, including preparation of an application to the State Water Commission for funding from Proposition 1, the voter-approved water bond that has set aside $2.7 billion for reservoirs and other infrastructure. Sites backers are seeking up to $2.2 billion from in Proposition 1 money, or half the total cost.

Under Proposition 1 rules, the state would gain control of up to half of Sites’ water for environmental purposes if it subsidizes the reservoir with bond money.

Read more here:


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LaMalfa Announces Redding Town Hall Meeting 4-19-17

Doug LaMalfa Congressman CA

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after announcing a town hall meeting to take place in Redding, California in April.

LaMalfa said: “I invite residents of Shasta County and surrounding areas to join me at the McLaughlin Auditorium at Sequoia Middle School on April 19th for an in-person town hall meeting. The 115th Congress is well under way, so come prepared to share your ideas and engage in a productive community discussion on our goals moving forward. I look forward to seeing you all there.”


Who: Congressman Doug LaMalfa

What: In-person Town Hall meeting

When: Wednesday, April 19, at 5:30PM PST

Where: McLaughlin Auditorium at Sequoia Middle School

1805 Sequoia Street, Redding, CA 96001


For questions, please contact Representative LaMalfa’s Redding district office at (530)223-5859 or his Washington, D.C. office at (202)225-3076.

*Note: No large signs, banners, signs with sticks, or weapons of any kind will be permitted on the campus.

Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.



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