Shasta Water Wars Continue

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FT. JONES, Calif. – The ongoing battle between farmers, ranchers and fishing groups for water in the Klamath River Basin is heating up again. On Tuesday, the California Fish and Game Department hosted a workshop in Ft. Jones to identify parties who have a stake in Scott River water issues.

It was standing room only at the Ft. Jones Community Hall, as Scott Valley residents lined the walls for a California Fish and Game workshop meeting. That didn’t last long, once farmers and ranchers sounded off against the process. Tom Pease, who is President of Protect Our Water, or POW, says current water practices are the best hope for fish survival and for the survival of valley families.

“If we quit farming. If we quit taking water, all that water, except what was in the aquifer, would go down the river. The river would still dry up, because the water won’t come up out of the aquifer unless you pump it or whatever,” Pease explained.

“We’re gonna ask you not to participate in this process, first and foremost, because the RFP that was drafted in this process is incorrect,” said Rich Marshall, the President of the Siskiyou County Water User’s Association.

“If you say you’re going to have minimal impact, that implies that there will be an impact. So they’re gong to take property from us,” said one local resident, Mark, who opposes the C.D.F.& G. study.

“Running the valley’s finite water supply out to the ocean as fast as possible is the antitheses of what is needed. Until CDFG understands that, everyone’s time is being wasted,” explained former U.C. Professor John Menke.

Then, people started leaving, taking with them the American flag. Lee Lamb, a subcontractor helping fish and game name the interested parties explained the process to the handful left behind.

“The objective here is to get a really full discussion of these things and, and come to an understanding of who should participate in a steering committee that’s going to help uh, design the studies, etc.,” Lamb said.

Water has always been a hot topic in the Scott and Shasta River basins. This new study by Fish and Game promises to even heat that debate up further and many farmers and ranchers say they want nothing to do with this study. Another meeting on the Scott River is scheduled for this Thursday from 4-7 p.m. At the Yreka Holiday Inn Express. Two other meetings are also at the Holiday Inn Express, on December 11th and 13th to discuss the Shasta River.


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  1. cyndi says:

    The State and Federal government has spent one quarter of a BILLION of the taxpayers dollars to supposedly save the Coho Salmon in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Yet in the face of record Salmon Runs everywhere they claim the fish populations are still crashing and they have not saved any of them. Who says crime does not pay. Fish and game has been trying to destroy ranching and farming in the Scott and Shasta Valleys for over ten years. They have spent 200 thousand more of the taxpayers dollars to hire a negotiating company to run meetings during which they sit silently in the front row saying nothing. CDFG has sent armed wardens to harass families who’s water rights pre-date the State of California in order to gain control of the resource. The CDFG is nothing more than a rouge agency which is clearly out of control. They act more like criminals than agents of the people.

  2. Liz Bowen says:

    This study was set to be held in 2008, when the numbers of returning salmon were low with the express goal of claiming agricultural irrigation was impacting and reducing the salmon runs. Good thing the California Dept. of Fish and Game waited until the end of 2012. Farmers and ranchers are still irrigating with their legal Water Right and in the past three years, salmon numbers have INCREASED dramatically. This proves that there is much more affecting the salmon than just the 200-mile inland tiny Scott River. Ocean conditions, commercial fishing and Tribal harvesting of 50 percent of all returning salmon in the Klamath River must also be considered in the equation — but are not. Neither the feds or the State will include these significant impacts. DFG’s own data gathered at their fish weir shows that in 2011 more than 4,000 chinook returned to Scott River and this fall, more than 8,000 chinook returned. The Klamath River estimate is over 380,000 salmon returned. So, the question is why are these Fish and Game meetings so ridiculously biased with a pre-determined outcome against farms and ranches? Another question is: Why does the State want to spend $180,000 on biased workshops that will destroy the livelihood of family farms? In reality, agriculture lives quite well with fish. Farmers like fish as they are important part of the wildlife that lives in the wide-open space provided by farms and ranches.

  3. Richard Dahl says:

    We lived in Scott Valley only four years – some of the best years of my life – on 70 acres that had non-adjudicated water rights. We fought the SOSS wars with gusto. Saw the advent of “stream buffers” and other schemes to take away private property rights. Finally, had enough and moved to the mountains of North Carolina where we thought some environmental sanity would reign. Wrong. Right after getting here, we saw more and more stream buffer signs pop up. The environmental nuts just just as strong here as there. The thing people don’t want to acknowledge is the fact that this is all driven by “Agenda 21″. Try bringing that term up at your commissioners meetings or DFG meetings sometime. They’ll either call you a kook and ignor you or they’ll threaten to have you arrested (as they did here). Insofar as these commissions and committees are concerned, the decks are staked against you by two things: Agenda 21 itself and the fact that once a governmental agency or commission is born it just never dies. So, good luck on your fight there. But keep in mind one thing – You can’t fix stupid.

  4. Rita Manley King says:

    The frustration level of folks attempting to make a living in the Klamath River region is at an all time high. Siskiyou County locals believe strongly they are NOT represented by government agencies. I have attended countless meetings to the same end. Fish and Game comes back with information that has very little to do with what is actually happening on the ground level.
    America needs to recognize we must grow food in the United States. Agriculture requires water. In terms of the salmon runs, why doesn’t Fish and Game ever mention the Native America commercial fishing ventures at the mouth of the Klamath. First Nations Peoples are entitled to make a living. It would be tremendous if Tribal leadership would reach out to the farmers and sport fisherman to find a peaceful, rational solution to this issue. We as Americans must realize government is not the answer. We are spending our children future.
    Thank you.

  5. Diane Richards says:

    What we are seeing is the implementation of Agenda 21, destroying livlihoods, ranches and farms across the West to gain lands for “Wilderness Areas” where not even the public will be able to go. This is the communist agenda written in red to destroy America and its greatest asset: the independent American farmer/rancher who feeds America and beyond. Control the water, control the land and what we will get is the famine, death and subsequent breakdown of society and our American way of life. Just what the communists that designed Agenda 21 want. We are being destroyed from within by our own Federal elected officials. It takes We the People to stand up and stop this at every local level. Good to see that room FILLED with just the kind of people that make up the true backbone of America. God Bless You All and God Speed You To Your Triumph.

  6. Nancy Monchamp says:

    Rural America has finally reached the threshold of tolerance for this all out assault by employees of governmental agencies that we have witnessed. They are not elected officials ~ they do not represent “We the People”. A great unified number of people must stand together like a fortress and send a message that we will no longer tolerate violation of private property rights by ANYONE.

    God Bless Siskiyou County and the brave men and women who would stand up and send that message. Now it’s time for the rest of us all across Northern California to do the same!

  7. Toni Lynn says:

    This is a wearisome battle that must be fought. Not only are personal property rights at stake but also critical thinking and TRUTH. We must educate our urban and suburban friends on this so that they will not blindly vote or advocate in matters that they know nothing of.

    To those directly involved in this right now – do not let these meetings and continual bureaucracy, filled with studies that would be thrown out as unreliable by any good medical journal, chip away at your resolve.

    To those of us still on the fringe – it is our battle too. We must help our neighbors in any way possible. We will all be affected by this.

    To those who are against irrigation and feel that it is causing harm to the fish – but believe in buying local food from local farmers and like going to local farmers markets – you can’t have your grass fed beef and eat it too, if you do not support your local farmers water rights. You won’t be able to buy organic grains produced by a local farmer, and you won’t be getting any good, local hay for your horses, llamas, goats, or cows. This will affect you.

    To those who grow marijuana – you irrigate too. You are not under attack, yet. Support your local farmers water rights, your water source will someday be in danger too.

    Siskiyou county needs to pull together to defend our farmers water rights. We could feed millions with the land and resources we have here. For now, though, lets fight to keep the ability to feed our families, other local families, and send multiple, excellent products to many places. No federal agency should have this much authority. Our country was not designed for the government to assault its own citizens nor to micromanage them. None of us should stand for this from CDFG.

  8. Don Meamber says:

    Now I know why the ranchers want no part in this. The questions asked of participants sound a psychological questionnaire. My wife, who is also a college graduate, stated that the questions make absolutely no sense to her, maybe 2 of them. The questions are pie-in-the-sky, mish-mash, senseless, hog wash. It is my understanding that this is supposed to be about stream flow for the fish. The questions could lead to who knows where, but no indication that they are about ecology, fish survival, water, streams, water rights, or what. Lets all hold hands and dream about a better world. They will probably be having the participants singing songs.

  9. Richard Marshall says:

    The CDFG prepared an RFP which contained numerous premises which pre disposed the study to reach their desired conclusions. CDFG considers instream flow as a limiting factor for coho recovery with no supporting information . Statements which are prejudicial such as “land use practices including timber management, mining, grazing, and diversion of water fror agricultural purposes have impacted Shasta and Scott River watersheds”. This is a conclusion not based on facts by CDFG. Further incendiary comments such as the study shall “develop instream flow reccomendations that are defensible in court”. Consider also the impact of a LIAM based analysis of potential committee personel to anaylze predisposition to court arguments vs negotiations. This is a public agency gone awry, attacking citizens and positioning ranchers and farmers for court fights. We of SCWUA made the point that studies done by prominent University of Washington researchers, reported compelling and unrefutable evidence that Salmon production is tied to a major degree to the Pacific Decadanal Oscillation (movement on a cyclical basis of cold water stream along the Pacific coast). Additional limiting factors include international ocean fishing fleets, ocean predators and non traditional Native American fishing techniques (such as zig zag gill netting). What we ask is that the CDFG anaylze these factors prior to dealing with habitat and attacking ranchers and farmers who are growing the nations’ food supply.

  10. jen w says:

    I think all these commenters on here are paranoid and delusional. I think all dfg wants to do is figure out how habitat varies with stream flow to try and figure out how to best manage the river. Also..even if you have 1914 or riparian water rights, you still must provide for the public trust. Moreover, all this talk of agenda 21 is a clear indication of the yahoo element alive and well in Siskyou County. It is always entertaining to check in on the latest reason for outrage and hostility in your county.

    1. libertygirl912 says:

      @jen w, methinks you are one of the left’s ‘paid trolls’ as you are following the progressive playbook for trying to discredit comments with accusations of paranoid delusions; if not, i suggest you do some research before showing your complete ignorance with comments like…”all this talk of Agenda 21 is a clear indication of the yahoo element”. If the latter, you need to look into UN Agenda 21, The Wildlands Project and all of the government agencies, NGO’s and PPP’s that are a result of I.C.L.E.I. These organizations are NOT interested in stream flow and trying to figure out how to best manage our rivers. They are following the Delphi technique at these faux public input meetings. The progressive UN Agenda 21 Wildlands Project is a political agenda disguised as environmentalism, with the end goal being to destroy private property, plain and simple. So, either educate yourself or go away as we won’t be paying attention to your comments any longer.

  11. tina says:

    I see my comments are being held back. Jen-do you know what “Agenda 21″ is?? I would suggest you do some research. Or~ keep your head in the sand~ you know the rest.

  12. Louise says:

    I find it interesting when someone doesn’t agree and they do not have a good argument they resort to name calling.

    I suggest you check out the UN website http://www.un.org/esa/agenda21/natlinfo/wssd/summarypublication.pdf and read all 40 chapters. Nancy Pelosi got a resolution passed in the US House of representatives to support the implementations of Agenda 21: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/HouseSession758 (Oct, 2, 1992).

    “We must now face the harsh truth that the objectives of communism are being steadily advanced because many of us do not recognize the means used to advance them. … The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a Conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists. The American mind simply has not come to a realization of the evil which has been introduced into our midst.” J Edgar Hoover

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