Liz Writes Life 1-23-18

Jan. 23, 2018

Liz Writes Life

POW

It will be a great Scott Valley Protect Our Water meeting this Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. Ray Haupt, chairman of the Siskiyou Co. Board of Supervisors, has several positive developments to discuss and Erin Ryan, staff to Congressman Doug LaMalfa, will bring us up-to-date on Washington issues including the federal government shut-down.

Also, Lynne Bryan will be there to explain how the “Citizens for Orderly Growth” accomplished an amazing land-planning feat, which started in the 1960s. The current Scott Valley Land Plan is the result and it was approved by the Siskiyou Co. Supervisors in 1980 after a decade of wrangling. Lynne served as secretary to the group and kept copious notes. This is an eye-opening discussion. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Bring a dessert to share if you can as we temper politics with eating goodies before, during and after!

Gun laws

Do you have any idea what the new California gun laws are? I don’t, but I know they are overly intrusive. I am very confused about the ammunition law and when I can carry ammo in my car.

To answer our questions, the Siskiyou Co. Republican Central Committee has invited Sam Parades, who is Executive Director of Gun Owners of California, to speak at a fund raiser barbecue on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. The meeting will be held at the Miner’s Inn Convention Center in Yreka. Doors open at noon and the barbecue, highlighting smoked baby back ribs, by grill master Dave Tyler will be at 12:30 p.m. Admission is $20. Call your RSVP into me at 530-467-3515, Kathy Tyler at 530-905-2492 or Annie Ohlund at 530-842-2350.

I talked with Sheriff Jon Lopey, last week, and invited him to attend and participate in the Question and Answer section, so we will have specifics for Siskiyou County gun owners. He is checking his calendar and, hopefully, can attend.

Sam Parades will speak around 1:15 p.m. He also serves on the board of directors of Gun Owners of America, so he is well-versed on our state and national issues. I looked up the Gun Owners of California and learned it is the oldest pro-gun political action committee in the USA. I did not realize that back in 1975, the California Legislature sought to ban all handguns in California. Boy, the fight for the 2nd Amendment has been going on for a long time. It was CA Senator H. L. Richardson who began mobilizing angry citizens and the Gun Owners of California was established. The group unleashed a direct mail rally on the legislature and that bill was defeated.

Tickets are not being printed for the Sam Parades event, so it is important to RSVP as soon as possible. There are about 150 seats. Hope to see you there!

Water

Our county supervisors Ray Haupt and Michael Kobseff had interesting meetings two weeks ago in Sacramento. Remember the Water Tour that was held in October? They invited state-level officials from the Natural Resources Dept., Dept. of Water Resources and State Water Resources Board to show on-the-ground positive impacts agriculturists and land owners are making. It worked as those officials were impressed.

One such official is Tom Gibson, who serves as undersecretary to Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird. Gibson reported to Ray and Michael that his eyes were opened and what he learned in Scott and Shasta Valleys was not the information he had been receiving from the field.

So to our benefit, Tom contacted Siskiyou Co. Natural Resource Specialist Elizabeth Nielsen and asked if Ray and Michael would meet with him – in January. Soon after the appointment was scheduled, Chuck Bonham, director of the CA. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, asked for a meeting with Ray and Michael. Undersecretary Gibson is Director Bonham’s superior. Gibson oversees all environmental reviews and CEQA – California Environmental Quality Act – issues.

Both meetings were held on Jan. 10, 2018 and both improved understanding and communication between our county and the state. This is huge folks!

Klamath dams were the big discussion item with Gibson and Ray’s big question was how the state will address public safety. If the dams are removed there will, at some point, be flooding that will cover and affect State Route 96 leaving many folks and Happy Camp stranded. Oops. Ray said the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, along with the previous Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, never addressed the liability of public safety and its impacts. Ray was firm in explaining the state must not side-step this issue.

Ray continued to ask for transparency, which he explained has not occurred because the county has repeatedly asked for the Water Balance Assessment that was done over a year ago – and has not been given to the county or even acknowledged. With Ray’s hydrology background, he told Gibson there will not be enough water in the Klamath River (during summer and autumn months) that will meet biological opinions for Coho. Because the Coho are protected under the CA. ESA, those Coho must have adequate water. If the Water Balance Assessment was done without political bias, Ray believes it will prove this.

Continuing on the Coho theme, Ray told Gibson there is a myth that more habitat, especially spawning habitat is needed. “Our habitat for spawners is unoccupied – not being utilized,” Ray said, and the biggest reason is because “we don’t have sufficient spawners returning.” And that situation points to the ocean and fishing.

The CA. Fish and Game Commissioners, stopped the commercial and tribal fishing, last year, I think because the returning salmon numbers were low. Also, because of the four years of drought before 2017 winter, another low return was expected.

So it was with a surprise, when the counts showed a decent return this winter. The DFW Shasta River station reported 9,935 Chinook and 38 Coho through Jan. 9, 2018; Bogus Creek station reports 2,218 Chinook and 68 Coho; and Scott River had 2,279 Chinook and a whopping 382 Coho.

I need to check and see if the redds were counted this year on the Scott and Shasta Rivers. These are the nesting sites of Chinook as they return earlier than Coho and can be spotted in Sept. and Oct., before typical (but not this year) fall rains raise the river and creek levels. Because of winter weather and higher water levels, Coho redds are difficult to find.

I’ll share more from these important meetings next week.

Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Contact her at 530-467-3515.

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