Liz Writes Live 9-12-17

September 12, 2017

Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA

Why do all the garden vegetables get ripe at the same time? In two days, I picked nine cantaloupes, two buckets of lemon cucumbers and the three watermelon are ready. There is no way we can eat all of this, so we give some away. When I checked the second crop of corn, it is past the early stage – which when I like the best. Guess I will pick corn tonight, cook it and we will cut it off, bag it and freeze it.

Sure was a nice rain we had one morning last week. And it is fabulous that it really did help the fire fighters get a head of the fires behind Etna, Patterson and Kidder Creeks. It was just getting way too close.

The forests have become an over-grown mess. Lawsuits from the Greenies and government bureaucrats have joined forces creating legislative and policy gridlock. Prevention of the fires must take place and we are lucky to have county supervisors and our Congressman Doug LaMalfa who are in the battle. They participate in high-level organizations working to change land-use policies and legislation. Much more is going on behind the scenes than we realize. Unfortunately, the battle is simply with insanity. You can’t save every tree to have a healthy forest. They must be thinned.

POW

Brandon Criss, Siskiyou Co. Supervisor for Dist. 1, spoke at the Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting on Aug. 30th. He told us the county is working on the budget and that his philosophy is “if you have the money doesn’t mean you have to spend it.” He said the priorities are the new jail, marijuana and code enforcement and employees. The county has reduced the number of employees from 900 in 2009 to about 700. Brandon believes there is local talent in Siskiyou that can and should be utilized and hired by the county.

A huge concern will be paying the expansion of state CalPERS retirement benefit costs, which will go from $7.9 million to $15 million in six years. The county supervisors know it will be a “hit”, but are planning on the situation, he said.

Brandon praised our “good” congressman, Doug LaMalfa, who in 2014 led the Natural Resources Committee in not funding the cost of the Klamath dams removal. “He has had our back the whole time,” Brandon said, “and we are aggressively working with him, and our lawyers, to save the Klamath dams.”

Water

David Smith, editor of this newspaper, wrote a very good comprehensive news article regarding The Nature Conservancy ranch, near Big Springs, in last Thursday’s edition. Tim Louie, whose great-grandfather settled the ranch in 1859, called me last week concerned because California Dept. Fish and Wildlife was about to breach two earthen dams that will affect over 100 acres of wet lands and dry up lakes created by the irrigation headgates.

I do have a few comments to make about the situation.

First, where we stood for the meeting with about 40 farmers and ranchers overlooked a dry marshland. This area once boasted 1,000s of geese, ducks, sandhill cranes (an Endanger Species Act listed bird) and was home to a wide variety of wildlife; and it covered over 850 acres. It was a wetland. This wildlife area has been dried-up because CDFW turned its legally-owned irrigation water into the Shasta River claiming the water will help juvenile coho salmon – which are also listed with the CA. ESA.

The Nature Conservancy sold its water right to CDFW for $10 million and TNC no longer has any say over how the water right is used. Because CDFW claims it recently found juvenile coho in Little Springs drainage, it now wants to send the water that creates the last remaining wetlands and lakes down the creek for the coho.

It so disgusting that one species listed with the ESA can trump another. It is also frustrating that opinions and policy on a single species can so greatly affect and displace such a vast amount of other species. I didn’t see any geese, ducks or hardly any wildlife in the dried-up area. Historical facts show that agricultural irrigation provides huge wildlife benefits and now nearly all the agricultural irrigation has been destroyed on that ranch.

CDFW has been quite unresponsive to Siskiyou County. Jennifer Bull, a leading employee of CDFW in Siskiyou Co., was invited by Tim Louie to the Wednesday meeting. She did not show up. I do give credit to Chris Babcock, with TNC, for showing up. He did receive criticism, but he also provided interesting information regarding the current situation.

Michael Kobseff, who is chairman of our Siskiyou Board of Supervisors, is adamant the last two earthen dams should not be removed. Because the county now pays $70,000 a year in taxes on the property (due to the loss of the state-sponsored Williamson Act, which the county took over) Michael said the county must have a say in property management. TNC pays $26,000 in property taxes each year.

It has been more than a decade since CDFW has paid its Payment in Lieu of Taxes to Siskiyou. This will be another loss for Siskiyou’s tax base.

But one of the strangest things regarding the situation is this: Where is the Army Corp of Engineers? If a private property owner wanted to dry-up his wetlands, the federal Army Corp would cite and fine him tens of thousands of dollars. It was looking like the Corp was in agreement with DFW, but Michael and the county has demanded to see the federal permits and I was told CDFW has yet to produce them.

As of Monday morning, CDFW had not destroyed the dams although Tim Louie was told by Jennifer, CDFW would do it last week. Maybe the right people are seeing the light!

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Check out her websites: Pie N Politics.com and Liz Bowen.com or call her at 530-467-3515.

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