Judge’s decision unfairly punishes ranching community

By Sens. Ted Ferrioli, Doug Whitsett, Frank Morse, and Fred Girod

Note: Sen. Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day) can be reached at sen.tedferrioli(at)state.or.us. Sen. Doug Whitsett (R-Klamath Falls) can be reached at sen.dougwhitsett(at)state.or.us. Sen. Frank Morse (R-Albany) can be reached at sen.frankmorse(at)state.or.us. Sen. Fred Girod (R-Stayton) can be reached at sen.fredgirod(at)state.or.us.

The Statesman-Journal, March 18, 2023 [here]

U.S. District Court Judge Ancer Haggerty’s decision — to enjoin seven Grant County ranchers from using their forest service grazing allotments — is truly a case of justice gone blind, because it tries to force federal bureaucrats to follow the law by punishing ranching families who had no control over agency failures that brought on the lawsuit.

Cattle ranching in Oregon is already an iffy proposition because of rising costs of fuel and feed and unnecessarily draconian water standards enforced by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Add to these all the special requirements of the Endangered Species Act and ranchers face the toughest performance standards of any agricultural enterprise.

Does Oregon need its ranchers? You bet! Today, cattle production is one of Oregon’s top income producers and a mainstay of Eastern Oregon rural communities. With the near-collapse of the Eastside timber industry, ranching is the only thing keeping the services and supply sector (mostly small family-owned operations) alive.

Because federal permits are required to authorize grazing in upland areas where snow and rainfall create the headwaters of salmon-bearing streams, a U.S. government document called a Biological Opinion must be prepared to demonstrate that grazing on the allotment will not degrade salmon habitat.

Grazing practices are structured so that cattle are continuously moved to prevent overgrazing and damage to stream banks. Both ranchers and forest service range managers are responsible for monitoring grazing operations. The Biological Opinion describes the protocols, actions and practices that protect endangered species habitat.

Judge Haggerty concludes that the Biological Opinion written by federal bureaucrats is inadequate. He has determined that it will not withstand scientific review and fails to meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.

Accordingly, Judge Haggerty has ordered the forest service to prepare a new Biological Opinion. But in our opinion, he has wrongly enjoined the use of grazing allotments until a legally sufficient Biological Opinion is prepared.

In effect, Judge Haggerty is holding the ranching community hostage for the failures of federal bureaucrats, transferring all of the financial and social harm to families that had no control over the agency that so miserably failed to perform its duties under the law to craft an opinion that preserves both cattle grazing and salmon habitat.

While federal bureaucrats suffer no consequences for their poor performance, ranching families face financial ruin. This must not become the model for justice under the Endangered Species Act.

Perhaps it would have been wiser for Judge Haggerty to have ordered the forest service to rewrite the Biological Opinion before June 1, 2011, and to issue temporary “take” permits to the ranchers pending approval of the Biological Opinion.

By doing so, Haggerty would have held the agency accountable for protecting salmon runs without destroying what’s left of rural economies.

Additional Notes:

1. Yesterday Judge Ancer Haggerty modified his ruling to allow 15 of 19 ranchers involved in the case to use their alloments for one more season [here].

2. The lawsuit was brought by the Oregon Natural Desert Association and the Western Watersheds Project. Those eco-litigious sue-sue-sue groups were recently gifted $22 million by the El Paso Corp who are building the Ruby (natural gas) Pipeline. See [here, here, here, here, here]. The “deal” was an extortion payment [here]. The sue-happy eco-monkey-wrencher groups agreed to not tie up the pipeline project in court in return for the huge payoff.

3. Eco-litigious groups also receive huge windfalls in return for suing the government through the “Judgment Fund” and the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) [here, here, here]. $Billions have been funneled to sue-happy monkey-wrencher groups, much of it directly from Federal land management agency budgets.

4. The Oregon Natural Desert Association is also supported by corporations that include Patagonia, Trader Joe’s, and Bank of the Cascades [here]. Their Board, staff, advisors, and “consultants” are exclusively white liberals with no background in ranching or forestry. In fact, along with WWP, ONDA is virulently anti-ranching and anti-forestry. Their roots go back to monkey-wrencher eco-terrorist groups.

5. More damage to streambanks is done by government protected feral horses and donkeys than by cattle [here].

6. The endangered species allegedly at risk is the steelhead, aka rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). The species has been introduced for food or sport to at least 45 countries, and every continent except Antarctica [here]. The species is in no way, shape, or form “endangered”. In fact, it is considered (by the USFWS) to be a pest and a competitor to other fish in other watersheds.

11 Mar 2011, 4:41pm
Salmon and other fish
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More Job-Killing Unfounded Regulations From ODEQ

Senator Doug Whitsett’s (Klamath Falls, District 28) Newsletter, March 11, 2023 [here]

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is in the process of adopting the most restrictive water quality standards in the nation. The proposed human health criterion standards relate to the highest concentration of a pollutant in water that is alleged to not pose a significant human health risk. The numeric standards being proposed for Oregon are an order of magnitude tougher than any of the other 49 states in the US. Compliance with the new Human Health Toxics standards will be virtually impossible because in many situations the selected numeric standards exceed the normal background concentration of the regulated pollutant. These new rules have the potential to profoundly affect the fiscal soundness of businesses, agriculture and forestry in the state. They may be expected to have an extreme negative effect on Oregon’s future job growth and economic recovery.

These new requirements for water quality standards rules are based upon the amount of fish that ODEQ assumes to be consumed by certain tribal entities in Oregon. However, closer evaluation of the scientific protocol used to delineate the proposed standards reveals an apparent lack of empirical scientific data collection, as well as a lack of reproducibility of the data sets.

When the ODEQ was recently queried in a legislative hearing about the background used to formulate the new rules, they replied in the following written form:

Legislature: “How many Oregonians are eating the amount of fish that (the ODEQ) proposed water quality standards are based upon?

The reply from ODEQ was: “We are not aware of any studies that quantify the fish consumption of all Oregonians.”

Legislature: “Is the DEQ aware of any studies documenting the harm to human beings related to toxins consumed through a fish-oriented diet?”

ODEQ reply: “We are not aware of any such reports.”

Legislature: “Does the DEQ have information on the statistical confidence in the studies that the proposed rules are based upon?”

ODEQ reply: “DEQ convened a Human Health Focus Group…. the group recommended that DEQ rely on five studies, four conducted in the Pacific Northwest and one national study.”

The five studies include one undertaken in 2002 by the EPA (see here, 2002 EPA Estimated Per Capita Fish consumption in the United States).

Examples of the quality of research reported from this study include the following:

P11 “The CSFII surveys have advantages and limitation for estimating per capita fish consumption. One limitation of the CFSII surveys is that individual food consumption data were collected for only two days, a brief period, which does not necessarily depict “usual intake.”

and

“Survey participants provided two non-consecutive, 24 days of dietary data. Both days’ dietary recall information was collected by an in-home interviewer.”

and

P 23 “The day 2 interview occurred three to 10 days after the Day 1 interview, but not on the same day of the week. The interviews allowed participants “three passes” through the daily intake record to maximize recall. Two days of dietary recall data were provided by 20,607 individuals across the four survey years. This constitutes an overall two-day response rate of 77.5%.

In other words, three attempts were made to have the respondents recall from memory the desired intake amount.

and

Sec 1.3 “Low income individuals are oversampled to ensure their representation in the survey.”

This sentence represents a scientific oxymoron because a survey should be represented by unaltered and broadly selected samples, not by manipulated sampling methods.

and

“Because daily averages are estimated from each respondent from only two days, the precision of an individual’s daily average consumption is diminished. Therefore the limited-time period of dietary intake collection does not produce usual intake estimates.”

and

P 27 “Non-consumption of a given food or food group by a majority of individuals, combined with consumption data from high–end consumers can result in a wide range of observations. This can lead to a highly-skewed distribution of consumption values.”

Further evidence of questionable data gathering are found in quotes from the ODEQ’s supposedly “scientifically sound and relevant report” entitled Human Health Focus Group Report: Oregon Fish and Shellfish Consumption Rate Project, June 2008 [here].

This report appears to be nothing more than a literature review wherein the data was exclusively comprised from existing literature.

P3 “The discussion and conclusions presented in this report were generated in one year May 2007-2008, a relatively short time considering the scope of the questions addressed.”

and

P4-5 “Oregon’s current numeric human health criteria are based on EPA’s 2002 recommended Clean Water Act Section 304(a) water quality criteria. EPA derived these criteria by considering the known toxicity of the regulated chemical and the likely exposure people have to these chemicals . EPA’s current recommended CWA Section 304 (a) human health based water quality criteria are calculated using the national fish consumption rate of 17.5g/day. This nationally recommended rate is roughly equivalent to two – 8 oz fish meals per month. This rate represents the 90th percentile of all people who were interviewed from across the US. Until 2003 Oregon’s water quality standards were based on a fish consumption rate of 6.5 g/day consistent with EPA’s default fish consumption rate. EPA increased its recommended rates to a nationally based per capita default level of 17.5 g/day while urging states to rely on local consumption data wherever possible.”

In other words, ODEQ’s proposed fish consumption is 175 g/day, an order of magnitude greater than the recent EPA’s 3- fold increase. Before that three-fold increase the fish consumption standard was about 5 pounds per year. The proposed ODEQ standard is 140 pounds per year!

Another report quoted by the ODEQ is the 17 year old study “Fish Consumption Survey of the Umatilla, Nez Perce, Yakama, and Warm Springs Tribes of the Columbia Basin (CRITFC 1994 [here]. It states:

“The survey of Columbia River Basin Tribes is regarded as the study most relevant to Oregon fish consumers.” “No consumption of any shellfish or open ocean fin fish was reported. Since these questions were not asked in the interview, it is not clear how this may have affected the fish consumption rates reported by the Columbia River Tribes.”

and

P 10 “Although the raw data were not available for re-analysis, there was good documentation of the summary statistics conducted.” “The survey interviewers noted that individuals had difficulties in reporting the quantity of fish they consumed. Overall, there was not sufficient information to calculate reliable fish consumption estimates.”

What is the scientific relevance of a study based on “good documentation of summary statistics” based on information that was not sufficient to even calculate fish consumption estimates?

From the report Fish Consumption Survey of the Suquamish Indian Tribe of the Port Madison Indian Reservation, Puget Sound Region 2000 (an eleven year old survey of a Washington tribe) [here].

“The Suquamish staff chose to include high consumption rates because they were familiar with the individuals eating those large quantities and that the consumption rates reported were likely to reflect real consumption. With no adjustments made for the high consumption rates, it was noted that the reported means may be highly influenced by the consumption of just a few individuals.”

Does this statement imply that the researchers purposely selected individuals who ate large quantities of fish and then used that level of consumption as the average consumption rate in order to inflate the true amount of fish eaten by the average Tribal member?

From the study, A Fish Consumption Survey of the Tulalip and Squaxin Island Tribes of the Puget Sound Region (Troy et al. 1996), another Washington state survey which is 15 years old [here]:

“The Tribes survey is regarded as being relevant to Oregon fish consuming populations although some of the fish and shellfish they consumed may not be found in Oregon waters.”

And the final study quoted for the new ODEQ water quality standards determination, The Lake Whatcome Residential and Angler Fish Consumption Survey (Washington Department of Health 2001) [here]

“The fish consumption rates from this survey were not useful because of inconsistencies on how the interviewee reported their fish consumption. The four week recall diet limited the ability to fully quantify fish consumption due to the low number of people that consumed fish during that period.”

All five of these reports, which are being used to force Oregon’s businesses, agriculture and forestry to comply with the most restrictive water quality standards in the United States, are chocked full of the disclaimer language as exampled above. One of the “sound scientific” reports was nothing more than a literature review. The new ODEQ standards are based on fish consumption rates ten times greater than current EPA national values.

Moreover, the proposed rules appear to assume that the levels of the toxics found in fish are the result of the fish acquiring those levels of toxics exclusively from their contact with fresh water in Oregon. Salmon, steelhead, ocean bottom fish, many shellfish and crabs, and a variety of other fish species spend the preponderance of their life cycle in the ocean. Strict implementation of the proposed rules on Oregon fresh water bodies would have little if any effect on the toxics concentration found in these species.

To summarize, the new rules are based on the amount of fish assumed to be eaten by certain Oregonians. The assumed average annual rate of fish consumption has been recently revised from about 5 pounds to about 140 pounds. That 28 fold increase is based on little more than speculation. The influence ocean water on species that spend most of their lifecycles in that environment appears to be ignored.

In my opinion, the scientific relevance of these studies is at best pathetic and at worst criminally negligent.

Please remember that if we do not stand up for rural Oregon, no one will.

Best regards,

Doug Whitsett

Calamity Jane Lists Pacific Smelt

Lunatic NOAA Admin Jane Lysenko freaked out and put the common Pacific smelt on the Endangered Species last week.

You ask, can Calamity Jane do such a thing? The answer is yes. Only in America, and only when the Commies run the zoo, but yes, yes they can.

The common, abundant Pacific smelt was listed as “threatened” on March 16th by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMS), a vassal sub-sect of NOAA [here].

[T]he ESA requires federal agencies to ensure that activities they authorize, fund or conduct are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species. Prohibitions against harming them would apply only to Pacific smelt in U.S. waters or to U.S. citizens on the high seas, even though the population extends into Canada.

No more smelt dipping under penalty of 5 to life in Leavenworth. The super-abundant, NMS-protected sea lions can have all they want however.

The Pacific smelt or eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) is abundant, has high fecundity, and a demonstrated ability to rebound from periods of low abundance. Even the smelt-brains at NMS know that. But the facts don’t matter with “our” feral gooberment.

The NMS created a “distinct population segment” out of thin air, declared it in danger of going extinct, and slapped a new Law of the Land on an astounded human population, caught unaware and blindsided by the smelt-brains.

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13 Mar 2010, 4:29pm
Homo sapiens Salmon and other fish
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Oregon Supreme Court Upholds Klamath Farmer Water Rights

In a landmark decision issued last Thursday, the Oregon Supreme Court held that Klamath farmers have a valid property interest in their water rights. That means that when the Federal Government steals, appropriates, or cuts off the use of water, Klamath farmers can petition for just compensation under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The OSC decision is [here].

Klamath Irrigation District v. United States, 345 Or 638, 202 P3d 159

“In sum, we find nothing in the text and context of the 1905 statute that would preclude plaintiffs from acquiring a beneficial or equitable property interest in the water right appropriated by the United States.”

The plaintiffs in this case were various Klamath irrigation districts and affected farmers. The defendants were the United States of America and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA). The State of Oregon intervened on behalf of the Feds. The PCFFA was represented by Todd True of Earthjustice. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Klamath Tribes also intervened on behalf of the Feds.

The plaintiffs kicked all their asses.

Nancie G. Marzulla of Marzulla Law, LLC represented the farmers. She reports [here]:

Klamath Water Users Win Big in Oregon Supreme Court’s Ruling

WASHINGTON - (Business Wire) The Oregon Supreme Court issued a groundbreaking decision yesterday, resolving issues that have prevented the water users in the Klamath Reclamation Project (located in southern Oregon and northern California) from obtaining just compensation for the taking of their irrigation water in 2001.

Klamath Irrigation Dist. v. United States, (No. S056275) (Or. Mar. 11, 2010). The Oregon Supreme Court held that the Oregon legislature in 1905 did not give away all of its water rights in the Klamath Reclamation Project to the federal government. Further, the Court stated that whatever rights the federal government did acquire in 1905 were for the benefit of the water users: “[I]n acquiring water rights under the aegis of the Reclamation Act, the United States was not acting for its own benefit, but for the benefit of the persons who Congress intended would put the water to beneficial use reclaiming the land” — in other words, the farmers who are the plaintiffs in this lawsuit.

Finally, the Oregon Supreme Court held that the Klamath Basin adjudication that is currently underway does not deprive the water users of the ability to pursue their taking claim in federal court, explaining that “[a] person asserting only a beneficial or equitable property interest in a water right is not a ‘claimant’ who must appear in the Klamath Basin adjudication and file a claim to determine that interest.”

“We are thrilled with this decision,” stated Nancie G. Marzulla, lead counsel for the Klamath water users in the Court of Federal Claims proceeding. “The trial judge obviously was wrong on Oregon law and plainly misapprehended how federal reclamation law operates. We are glad that we now have some definitive guidance and direction for the trial court as we go forward to complete this litigation.”

The Oregon Supreme Court’s decision was in response to three questions posed to it by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Now that the Oregon Supreme Court has answered these questions, the case will go back to the Federal Circuit and ultimately back to the trial court for final resolution. The case arises from events that took place in 2001. That year the federal government took all of the farmers’ water during the growing season, depriving the farmers of any water with which to grow their crops. The water was used to benefit three species of endangered fish. The water users did not challenge whether the federal government could take their water for endangered fish protection, but instead asked that the federal government compensate them for the taking of their water rights that year—which had inflicted devastating losses on the farmers who had been forced to sit out an entire growing season due to the taking.

Marzulla Law is a Washington, D.C.-based law firm that represents water users and water entities in complex litigation in matters involving water, property, and environmental issues. For further information about Marzulla Law or this decision go to www.marzullalaw.com.

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8 Mar 2010, 8:29pm
Homo sapiens Salmon and other fish
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We Still Need You, Klamath Farmers

By Julie Kay Smithson,  Property Rights Research, March 7, 2023 [here] posted with permission

Nine years after the historic call for help emanated from Klamath Falls, Oregon — a call answered by Americans from all walks of life and places as distant as Ohio, over 2,200 miles east — another crisis looms. Those in positions of power are grinning from ear-to-ear at “historic signing ceremonies.” They chortle with glee at how their “collaboration and “consensus-driven stakeholder process” has been “inked.”

Those few letter writers who continue to stand against the removal of the four dams on the Klamath River — and the three Oregon elected officials who’ve never wavered in their stand to protect the promises made to those on the Klamath Project — are being marginalized by a media that seems to have had its loyalty bought and paid for.

The voices of the original lottery winners have been largely silenced by age and death, but their descendants’ voices may have been silenced by deceit and coercion.

No dictionary perused online or in hard copy has yet to yield synonyms tying words like “independence,” “versatility,” “freedom,” “property rights,” “resource utilization,” etc., to “collaboration,” “consensus,” “stakeholder,” etc.

There are some situations where agreement between factions can never be reached. One such situation was the lords and serfs of Europe. Those that chafed under the heavy hand of the land-LORDs had few options and none that involved remaining in their native lands. A small number of these moxie- and hope-filled, courageous souls set out from “the other side of the pond” on a journey to America, a place about which they had heretofore only known in dreams. The perils known to these immigrants were many — from dying aboard ship from a wide variety of maladies, not the least of which was malnutrition, dysentery, etc., to surviving the journey only to perish before emerging from the indentured servitude which had purchased their passage to a new land.

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No Balancing of Hardship in ESA Cases

Note: the following article is from Ag Alert, a news service of the California Farm Bureau Federation. The article quotes a U.S. District Court judge from a speech he gave at a water conference. The judge says, in so many words, that there is no such thing as justice in the Endangered Species Act. The Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, has been discarded, and there is nothing the judiciary can do about it.


Judge says water problems won’t be solved in court

By Steve Adler, Associate Editor, Ag Alert, February 24, 2023 [here]

His rulings play a crucial role in determining the operation of federal and state water projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but Judge Oliver Wanger said last week that court rulings aren’t to blame for drastic reductions in water deliveries.

Wanger, a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of California, gave the keynote address during the annual Madera County Farm Bureau Water Conference.

He has been instrumental in several recent court cases relating to Central Valley Project and State Water Project water deliveries that have been severely restricted by the Endangered Species Act and other federal laws. Most of those cases revolve around protected species such as the threatened delta smelt, as well as threatened and endangered species of salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and even killer whales — “because they feed on salmon,” Wanger said.

Wanger let it be known at the beginning of his talk that he was speaking as “a private citizen and not on behalf of the United States District Court where I serve,” and that his views were not intended to be a comment on any pending cases.

“I am going to touch on subjects that relate to these cases, but I am going to try to not comment on the cases themselves, because we have issues which have been submitted for a decision, or will be very soon,” he said.

The Fresno-based federal judge said he finds it remarkable that there is, what he called, so little accurate information about how the California “water wars” were created and whether there are any solutions to the dilemma.

“I will start by saying one thing: The one place where there can be no solution is in the courts. That is where these cases are, at present, but there is no question that the courts don’t have resources, the courts don’t have expertise, the courts don’t have political authority or executive authority to do anything to solve the issues that are presented,” he said.

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1 Jan 2010, 10:58pm
Salmon and other fish
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Carbon Dioxide, Acidification of the Oceans, and Tropical Marine Fish

Some folks contend that additional atmospheric CO2 will lead to “acidification” of the world’s oceans.

The word “acidification” has to taken with a grain of salt. The worlds oceans have a pH of ~8.2. That’s alkali, not acid. Neutral is pH 7.0. If the pH went down to 8.0, that would be still be alkali, but less so. That’s what the word “acidification” means in this context.

At any rate, some folks contend that it would be a grave thing to lessen the alkalinity of the oceans because all the fish would die, not to mention coral reefs and whales.

However, all those animals evolved in and do better in oceans that are less alkali than today, perhaps as low as pH 7.4 in Carboniferous times.

Most animals, in fact, are much less alkali than sea water of today, inside their bodies. Human blood has a pH of ~7.4, for example. So has dolphin blood. So has fish blood. Look it up.

Aquarium and pond owners know about testing and buffering the water pH for their fish. From The FishDoc [here]

Each species of fish has its own very narrow range of pH preference and levels outside of this range will cause health problems. For example, koi prefer a range between 7 and 8.5, while some tropical fish prefer water that is slightly acidic. There are several ways that pH can affect fish health.

But carbon paranoia being what it is these days, scientists decided to do the litmus test, scientifically, as part of the tens of $billions spent on “climate change” research every year. We could spend that money on something else, or not spend it at all, but… And to be fair to researchers, they can’t get any funding if their proposals don’t have a global warming hook.

So anyway, some scientists altered the pH in some fish tanks to see how tropical marine fish reacted to “acidification” — some tanks at pH 8.2 like the oceans, and some tanks at pH levels lower than that.

Basically, they replicated the experiment aquarium owners have been performing ever since Robert Boyle invented litmus paper (or perfected the idea) around 1650. But the scientists did it scientifically.

And what did they find?

The punchline is coming…

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13 Oct 2009, 10:07pm
Salmon and other fish
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Diverting Rivers and Dollars

by bear bait

The Oregonian newspaper continues to delude itself and the public regarding the Klamath River, its tributaries, and the water issues therein.  The implication of their coverage is that the PacificCorp dams,  part of the old California Oregon Power Company holdings once controlled by Chicago’s Jay Insull, who was brought to Oregon in chains in the 1930’s by the Oregon Public Utility Commission, are the one limiting factor for salmon survival in the lower Klamath River.

The Oregonian’s claim is that reservoirs hold hot water which is released to make power and in doing so,  heats the river and kills salmon.  But always missing in the discussion is that the Klamath River is, in fact, only half of the watershed. The Trinity River, a 100% a California river, is the other half.

The Trinity and Klamath join 40 odd miles above the ocean.  The major salmon river is the Trinity, and most of the fish that died in the 2002 drought and subsequent die-off were Trinity fish that died below its confluence with the Klamath. The Trinity is a cold water stream with now very restricted flows due to California irrigation withdrawals.

2002 saw strong ocean numbers of chinook and restricted ocean fishing in the Klamath River Protection Zone in the Pacific Ocean. When those fish entered the Klamath, Indian fishing was hot and heavy until they could no longer find markets for the fish.  A large Columbia River run had bloated the net-caught fish market up and down the coast. The summer vacation crowd was now in school, and selling fish out of totes from the back of a pickup was fruitless. SF fish buyers offered a dime a pound and the Indians quit fishing with a river full of fish during a drought.

Too many fish and too little water. The needed cold water of the Trinity had been diverted to Fresno or somewhere south of there. The fish had no claim to cool Trinity River water sucked up by farmers in the Central Valley,  water which might have helped some,   because gill disease from warm water parasites killed more than 35,000 salmon and maybe twice that number.

Instead, Oregon farmers got the blame.  Politics, money, and California spin ruled the day.  An equal die-off happened in the Rogue River,  but there were no Indians with a claim to the fish,  and no ag interests to blame.  Dies-offs happen in trans Coast Range streams in hot, droughty  early fall until the diurnal cycle begins to cool the streams with the sun moving south and  frosts in the highlands of early September.
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2 Apr 2009, 12:02am
Homo sapiens Salmon and other fish
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Siskiyou County Supervisors Threatened by Pompous State Functionary

An unelected California State bureaucrat has threatened to deny the elected Siskiyou County Supervisors a seat at the table in Klamath dam negotiations. Functionary Mike Chrisman, a bureaucrat who does not answer to the voters, fired off his threats because the County Supervisors, who do answer to voters in this democracy, had the temerity to complain about the process and request scientific studies that Chrisman doesn’t want.

Chrisman, the California Resources Agency natural resources secretary, wants to tear down four dams on the Klamath River. He snipes at those who would oppose his grand plan with all the pomposity of a Czarist Inspector General.

The Board of Supervisors is understandably ticked, and responded in a unanimous letter to the Agency that “Both the tone and content [of Chrisman's letter] are inconsistent with the Board’s understanding of appropriate discourse between someone at the Secretary’s level and a group of elected officials.”

The war of words is reported today in the Siskiyou Daily News:

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11 Mar 2009, 11:18pm
Homo sapiens Salmon and other fish
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Upper Mid-Klamath Watershed Council - Citizen and Landowner Survey

The region of the Upper Mid-Klamath Watershed Council is the portion of the Klamath River Watershed from Cade Mountain on the west to the Oregon border, and Siskiyou Mountain Ridgeline on the North, and southerly to the Cities of Yreka and Montague.

Over the past several months the Upper Mid-Klamath Watershed Council (UMKWC) Board has received numerous comments, concerns, and questions regarding the issue of dam removal and/or fish passage on the Klamath River. One of the objectives of the UMKWC is to provide communities within the UMKWC area a forum for outreach and education.

Whether or not the decision is made for dam removal (or alternative mitigation) IT WILL AFFECT ALL OF SISKIYOU COUNTY’S CITIZENS AND PROPERTY OWNERS. The UMKWC believes that any decisions made regarding the existing dams on the Klamath River be based on the best scientific research and data available, and strongly supports the idea that as the investigative process proceeds a neutral scientific peer group be established to review all scientific data that is developed regarding the dam issue. The UMKWC also desires that Siskiyou County government take the lead in the dam planning process and assist the community in responding to the many expressed questions and concerns.

The purpose of this survey is to gather input and summarize the concerns of the citizens and landowners for a presentation to the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors.

Take the survey [here]

6 Mar 2009, 1:04am
Salmon and other fish
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Throwing Klamath Ratepayers Under the Bus

Excerpts from an excellent Editorial was published yesterday in the Wallowa County Chieftain [here]

Editorial: Removing dams costly, unwarranted

By Andy Martin, Wallowa County Chieftain, March 5, 2023

Hundred of miles from Wallowa County, across the border into Northern California, Pacific Power operates three dams on the Klamath River. Those dams, along with another just north of the border near Klamath Falls, produce enough electricity to power 70,000 homes.

Under pressure from environmental groups, tribes and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Power has reached an agreement to tear the dams out, thanks in part to the states of Oregon and California paying a big chunk of the cost, and releasing the power company from much of the liability associated with the dams.

Pacific Power fought to continue operating the dams, but after the Fish and Wildlife Service indicated it would require fish ladders that could top $1 billion as part if its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicense, saw removing the dams would be a cheaper alternative.

Now Pacific Power ratepayers, including those in Wallowa County, are being thrown under the bus, being forced the pay for the removal of dams that not only produce clean, affordable electricity, but also provide water storage in drought-stricken Southern Oregon and Northern California. Oregon’s Senate voted late last month to raise power bills to pay for the dam removal. Oregon ratepayers will be responsible for $180 million, while California power customers will have to pay $20 million. The bill passed mostly on party line votes, with Republicans opposed, except for one, Sen. Jason Atkinson of Central Point. Sen. Dave Nelson, R-Pendleton, and Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, have been vocal in their opposition to dam removal. So has Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner.

Opponents of the dams blame them for poor salmon returns in the river. In reality, salmon populations throughout the West Coast have been struggling. Even rivers without dams experienced horrible fall Chinoook returns last year. The Klamath has actually been a bright spot. This year, 85,000 salmon are expected to return to the river, thanks in part to the hatchery at the base of Iron Gate Dam that the power company provides 80 percent of the funding. You can bet Pacific Power won’t be paying for the annual release of 900,000 salmon smolts and 5.1 million fingerlings once its dams are torn down. These fish fuel ocean commercial and sport salmon fisheries off the Oregon and California coasts. … [more]

Note: for more info regarding the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement see [here]

27 Feb 2009, 9:35pm
Salmon and other fish
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Dehydrating California, Or What’s That Smelt?

Note: The follow excerpts are from an excellent synopsis of the Delta smelt catastrophe. Please visit the link to read the entire piece.

The California Water v. Delta Smelt War

by Procrustes,  The Real Barack Obama, February 21, 2023 [here]

… In 2007, a federal judge ruled state and federal pumps sending some 6 million acre-feet of delta water south to Kern County and other users each year could wipe out the endangered smelt, a tiny silver fish. The court ruled pumping had to be curtailed by about a third until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could weigh in on the problem.

On Monday, the federal agency submitted a 400-page “biological opinion” to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on the effects of pumping by the Federal Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project. The agency concluded pumping was “likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the delta smelt (right) and adversely modify its critical habitat,” and offered a plan to mitigate damage.

The plan would keep current restrictions in place, and even more limits could kick in under certain conditions. Further cuts would be triggered in a variety of scenarios, including limited rainfall during key periods in the fish’s spawning cycle.

Jim Beck, general manager of the Kern County Water Agency, which contracts for water on behalf of agricultural, municipal and industrial water districts in Kern, said “Implementing the plan would reduce water supplies from San Diego to San Jose by 20 to 30 percent on average, but up to 50 percent in some years.”

As always, this is not the end of the story. Other water districts, which “have long argued that pumping isn’t the real culprit in the smelt’s demise,” are “gearing up for a fight.”

Invasive species, pollution and greater municipal and industrial uses of delta water are important factors that have not been given enough attention, said Robert Kunde, assistant engineer manager for the Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa Water Storage District.

“There are a number of good reasons to believe that even if State Water Project pumps were cut entirely, the delta smelt may very well go extinct,” Kunde said.

Al Donner, assistant field supervisor for the Sacramento field office of the Fish and Wildlife Service, said all that has been looked at, but pumping cannot be discounted.

“The indices that track the smelt show the last couple of years, they’ve been at their lowest numbers ever,” he said. “The species clearly is in trouble.”

Back in June 2008, the Bakersfield paper reported on the second year of drought problems for farmers who once grew such products as cotton, pistachios, almonds and alfalfa.

Faced with too little rain and restricted pumping to protect an endangered fish, farmers and ranchers in and around Kern County are facing tough choices. In a typical year, 850,000 acres are irrigated, according to the Kern County Water Agency.

This year, about 45,000 of them will be idle at a cost of $46 million. In addition, 100,000 acres will be “underirrigated,” causing a $59 million loss.

Also in June 2008, the Bakersfield paper reported that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was “further shrinking the amount of water allocated to farmers subject to the Central Valley Project contract, which regulates water use on many farms in the Kern County area.” …

On July 10, 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service changed the status of the “critically imperiled delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) from threatened to endangered” under the federal Endangered Species Act. However, the Bay Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, and Natural Resources Defense Council had “petitioned the Service in 2006 requesting a change in the federal listing. The finding is 25 months late, and a final listing determination is already 13 months overdue.”

“We are seeing a cascading series of crashing Delta fish populations – delta smelt, longfin smelt, chinook salmon, steelhead trout, green sturgeon, Sacramento splittail, striped bass – the warning bells are ringing loud and clear,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The ecological collapse of the Delta threatens more than just our native fish since millions of people depend on the Delta for drinking water, agriculture, and fishing.”

See also:

USFWS Delta Smelt Recovery Site [here]

Shutting off the water pumps to save delta smelt unwarranted [here]

Food Grows Where Water Flows [here]

Schwarzenegger declares Calif. drought emergency [here]

$740 Million Goes to States for Fish and Wildlife Projects

U.S. Fish & Wildlife News Release [here]

Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today more than $740.9 million will be distributed to the fish and wildlife agencies of the 50 states, commonwealths, the District of Columbia, and territories to fund fish and wildlife conservation, boater access to public waters, and hunter and aquatic education. These Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program funds come from excise taxes and import duties on sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, sportfishing equipment, electric outboard motors, and fuel taxes attributable to motorboats and small engines. … [more]

Note that the money comes FROM hunters and fishermen and goes TO something OTHER THAN management of game animals and game fish. That is known is the parlance as bait-and-switch, or more plainly, yet another gummit ripoff.

For more information on this issue please see:

Ripping Off Idaho Hunters and Fishermen [here]

Corruption, Featherbedding, and Looting the Idaho Treasury [here]

The High Costs of Wolves [here]

Secret Meetings, Wolves, Missing Money, and the Next Possible Director of US Fish and Wildlife Service [here]

more »

23 Feb 2009, 8:00pm
Salmon and other fish
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CRP Joins Siskiyou County Resolution Against Dam Removal

From the Klamath Bucket Brigade [here]

The California Republican Party,

Recognizes, the importance of the hydropower facilities of J. C. Boyle, Copco I, Copco II, and Irongate on the Klamath River to California’s renewable energy goals.  That Copco I, Copco II, and Irongate Dams and located in Siskiyou County. That these dams generate 169 megawatts of emission free energy for 70,000 homes, provide flood protection, and a stable water supply for migrating fish, agricultural and community needs,

Recognizes, that the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted for a resolution opposing removal of dams in the Klamath River Basin,

Recognizes, that all impacts to the Klamath Basin, Siskiyou County and the citizens of Siskiyou  County must be openly reviewed by authorities with jurisdiction without compromise of a bias resolve to dam removal,

Recognizes, the five solutions proposed by the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors: construction of the Long Lake Project in Klamath County, Oregon; proposed Clear Creek to Deer Creek (Hart) Bypass for fish passage around Irongate, Copco I and II, implementation of wild fish propagation through ARED program; study of C. Shasta parasite disease effecting 90% mortality of juvenile salmonoid migration to the Pacific Ocean; initiate study of ocean habitat conditions,

more »

17 Feb 2009, 11:20pm
Homo sapiens Salmon and other fish
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Tear Down Those Dams, Mr. Goober

In a hysteric vote today the Oregon Senate okayed Governor Ted “Raze the State” Kulongoski’s bizarre plan to tear down four dams on the Klamath River and charge electricity ratepayers the $4.5 billion tab for the demolition of their clean, safe hydropower plants.

Ore. lawmakers OK rate boost to remove dams

By BRAD CAIN Associated Press Writer, San Jose Mercury, 02/17/2009 [here]

SALEM, Ore.—A bill to impose a surcharge on PacifiCorp customers to pay for removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River was endorsed Tuesday by the Oregon Senate. The bill goes to the House.

State Senate advances Klamath dams removal bill

by Matthew Preusch, The Oregonian, Tuesday February 17, 2009, [here]

The state Senate passed a bill today to build a fund for removing four Klamath River dams with a surcharge on Oregon ratepayers.

Senate Bill 76 was approved 18 to 12 on largely partisan lines with Sen. Jason Atkinson of Central Point the only Republican voting yes.

The bill was introduced by Gov. Ted Kulongoski and is part of tentative dam removal agreement the governor signed in the fall with California, the federal government and Pacificorp, which owns the dams in question.

Funny thing, at the very same time President Barry “Messiah” Obama was signing a record $787 billion pork barrel bill that is targeted at, among other things, building more dams:

Transcript: Obama’s Remarks at Stimulus Bill Signing

Denver, CO, Feb 17, 2023 [here]

… Because of this investment, nearly 400,000 men and women will go to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, repairing our faulty dams and levees…

The ratepayers will foot that bill, too, and their children and grandchildren. We all will.

Tear them down, build them up, throw money away, “create” jobs, bankrupt the taxpayers, drain the economy, pour cement, jackhammer cement, run around in circles like chickens with their heads cut off — it’s all a three ring circus of absolute dunces.

We elected these idiots. We pay their salaries, and handsome salaries they are, too.

Wouldn’t it be better, and cheaper, if we paid our public “servants” to take long (permanent) vacations in Bermuda or Timbuktu, and kept them thousands of miles away from the vaunted Seats of Power? Put them someplace where they could do no harm?

Because harm is all they seem to be able to do.

 
  
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