Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

marcia8.jpg.jpg (10768 bytes) Ridin' Point

- a weekly column published in the Siskiyou Daily News




Cumulative Social and Economic Impacts of Environmental Regulations: Traditionally, Siskiyou County ’s culture and economy have been based on the use and development of its natural resources. During the past twenty years our local communities have experienced the impact of a multitude of regulations that have restricted that use and development. As part of the “scoping” process for the Klamath dam removal decision, I chronicled twenty years of regulations as mentioned in the minutes of the Board of Supervisors. As part of my research. I also looked at economic and other data for the same period of time. http://users.sisqtel.net/armstrng/regulatory%20impacts.htm

The following are some of the trends that were noted for the period from 1987-2009:

(1)    The county lost 25% of its population of children under the age of 18. It saw a 45% increase in those age 45-64 and an 18% increase in those 65 years or older.

(2)    In 1992-1993 with the impacts of the Northwest Forest Plan, unemployment was around 16%. It then gradually decreased and remained around 8.5-9.5% from 2000-2007. After that, it steadily increased to an average of 16%. It is currently at 15.9%.

(3)    In 1987, the average wage for jobs in the county was 73% of the total state average. This steadily declined to a low of 57% in the year 2000. It has rebounded to around 63% of the state average wage. Median household income was 66% of the state median in 1989. It had decreased to 60% of the state median (or $36,823) in 2008.

(4)    In 1989, 14.4% of Siskiyou County residents (23.5% of children under age 18) lived below the poverty line. In 2008, this had increased to 16.4% of total residents and 25.4% of children. The child poverty rate in Siskiyou County is 6.9% higher than the state average.

(5)    From 1998-2007, Siskiyou County has seen a modest growth of 16 establishments  and 604 employees. In 2007, 61% of the establishments in Siskiyou County had less than 4 employees; 82% had less than 10 employees; and 93% had less than 20.

(6)    From 1998-2007 there were fewer retail trade, accommodations/food service, and manufacturing employers. However, retail trade employees increased by 6.2%; accommodations/ food service employees increased by 15%; and manufacturing employees increased by 9%.  After spiking in 2002, health care/social assistance employers returned to about the same level as 1998, however, health care/social assistance employees increased by 11 %. Construction employers have increased 13%, but employ 14% fewer people than in 1998.

(7)    In 1992, Siskiyou County had 647,446 acres in farms. By 2007, this had been reduced to 597,534. There were 689 farms in 1992 and 846 in 2007. In 1992, there were 37 farms of 1-9 acres. This more than doubled to 80 in 2007. The number of farms 10-49 acres increased from 144 in 1992 to 229 in 2007. There were 179 farms 50-179 acres in 1992. This had increased to 228 farms by 2007. The farms 180-449 acres and 500-999 acres remained appreciably the same. There was a reduction in farms 1,000 acres or more from 124 in 1992 to 100 in 2007.

(8)    In 1987 82% of farm income was used for production expenses and 15% was net profit. In 2008, 87% of farm income was used for production expenses and 12% was net profit.

(9)    In 1992, there were 393 production ranches in the county. This had declined to 312 ranches by 2007. There were 20,882 fewer cattle and calves in inventory over this period of time. Alfalfa farms increased from 324 in 1992 to 350 in 2007. Acreage in alfalfa went from 53,083 to 89,068 acres.

(10)            Pre- Northwest Forest Plan median timber harvest levels were about 180-250MMBF. This plummeted to around 20 MMBF and the National Forests often fail to meet their budgeted target sales

(11)            It has been estimated that each MMBF of timber is worth eleven jobs and 2.35 indirect jobs. Mill jobs decreased from 920 in 1990 to 380 in 2007.  From 1993 to 2007, logging, forestry and support establishments declined from 53 to 38. The number of wood products manufacturing establishments declined from 13 in 1993 to 6 in 2007.

(12)            Suction dredge mining was shut down by a state moratorium in 2009. A 1993 survey indicated that suction dredgers spent about $6,250 on expenses per year, including groceries, restaurants, motels, camp fees and other living expenses. (This is about a $179 expenditure per day per miner for a 35 day season.) In addition, dredgers spend about $3,000 on gas, oil, maintenance and repair.

There are currently several additional restrictions that are in the process of being imposed: National Monuments, Total Maximum Daily Loads for pollutants, endangered species, ground water use and surface water diversion. 

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