Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Siskiyou County Supervisor Brandon Criss' Newsletter
Itís been a busy last year and few months and Iíd like to update you on some of the big issues. My aim is to do these newsletters from time to time in order to keep you updated while also not flooding your email boxes with email after email.
On Tuesday February 11, 2014 the county passed a Proclamation of Extreme Drought. The county has also dedicated a link to this subject off of our county website:
The drought website will be updated from time to time to keep the public abreast of this issue.
As you can understand this drought affects the entire county and all sources of our income. From tourism, to agriculture, domestic wells, fire conditions, etc. Itís an issue the county intends to stay on top of. The Proclamation passed by a unanimous vote and the county staff is doing a great job.
One major area of concern is the water supply for the city of Montague and the Montague Water Conservation District. There water supply is from Lake Shastina. Lake Shastina is very low this year. On top of that the Karuk Tribe and Klamath Riverkeeper filed a lawsuit against the Montague Water Conservation District demanding more water for salmon out of Lake Shastina.
With the low water year coupled with the lawsuit settlement, Montague Cityís supply of summer water is threatened and poses a public safety concern.
I asked the county staff and we organized meetings between the Federal, State, and local authorities including Office of Emergency Services, California Department of Health, and our state legislative and congressional staffs to address this issue. We thought it would be best to get everyone at the table and these meetings have been productive.
Itís a serious situation that we will continue to stay up on. My compliments to the many people including the city and the irrigation district for taking this issue head on. Itís a serious situation that will take community support and teamwork to get us through with no easy quick fixes.
Other communities in District 1 are also facing hardships from this drought and Iíll update you on those situations in future emails.
A Couple of Big Economic Growth Issues:
There is a potential for a Crystal Geyser bottling plant just outside the city limits of Mt. Shasta. Even though itís not in my District 1, I felt it important to show support and attended the ceremony announcing the future plant. Several mayors from around the county also attended to show their support. The plant will bring in much needed jobs as well as needed county revenue. On February 11, 2014 I voted for the Board to hold a meeting in Mt. Shasta in order to show our support for this major investment in our county as well as set the record straight about the benefits of this new business for our county. County leadership is needed in getting out the facts and showing our support as being a business friendly county. Below is a link off of the county website about this proposal:
There is also a potential for a new small diameter mill plant in the county again bringing in jobs and much needed county revenue. The mill would produce pallets for food shipments. By being able to utilize small diameter trees it will make it economical for tree thinning to promote healthy natural forest conditions making it safer for firefighters, improving tree health, and reducing very dense tree coverings leading to better increases in our water supply. A win-win all the way around.
Some Public Safety Topics:
With the Federal Court mandated release of California State Prison inmates, county governments throughout California have been burdened with the treatment or further incarceration of these individuals. In many peopleís opinions the State just shifted the problem to counties.
The State is saving Billions by shifting the burden to counties and washes its hands of this issue. Counties are left holding the bag. County law enforcement has done a fantastic job balancing the influx of inmates along with managing the difficult enough day to day operations required for public safety. We are also working with law enforcement and other counties to lobby for better funding.
Siskiyou County has hired an accomplished firm to design a new jail for the county. While the current jail was well built, because of the influx of state released prisoners to the county jail, we are now maxed out with our available space. The architectural firm will provide us information on the feasibility of a new jail before we proceed. The new jail is a need we all recognize.
I also continue to serve as volunteer firefighter and ambulance crew member in Butte Valley and am fortunate to serve with a great team.
In Tulelake the county held a mass casualty exercise with Modoc and Klamath Counties. The table top exercise showcased how well we work together, where we need to improve and will help prepare us to respond to any multi-county incident.
The county has also helped form CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) in different parts of the county to better serve the community in times of need. A many thanks go to those who volunteered to serve on such teams.
The Klamath River Dams
Supervisor Kobseff and I went to Washington D.C. back in June of 2013 to lobby for saving the dams.
I typed up the concerns for Supervisor District One and handed those out at each congressional office we visited. It showed a list of the broad sector of support for saving the Klamath River Dams, including county and local governments, non-profits, agricultural organizations, and the nearly 80% vote of the people of Siskiyou County. It was important to show the broad support for saving these dams and counter the other sideís false rhetoric that the Klamath Basin supports dam removal.
This handout also included support for Klamath-Tulelake Basin Agriculture by showcasing the flawed science for inflating lake levels to save the Sucker Fish. Actually one of the best years for Sucker Fish production was in 1991 a drought year. The Federal Government has been diverting water away from Agricultural fields and the Tulelake Refuge and using it to inflate Klamath Lake levels for the last plus 10 years. Over that same time period, the Sucker Fish numbers have dropped by about half. The facts speak for themselves.
I also spoke for the County before a California State Assembly Field Hearing in Redding California concerning the California Water Bond. I advocated for not including or better said not wasting $250 million taxpayer dollars in any new water bond for demolishing the Klamath River Dams. Dam removal will harm flood protections, river health with sediment, cheap electrical production, permanently reduce property and recreational values, as well as destroy a very productive fish hatchery reliant upon Iron-Gate Dam for a source of cold water.
Both Siskiyou County and Klamath County held a joint hearing in Dorris, CA, about Basin Agriculture and the Klamath River Dams. We also both invited the Secretary of Interior out here for a tour. Both county boards stand united against Dam Removal and for common sense solutions for Basin Agriculture.
The wolves pose a major risk to agricultural producers. Because of this the county continues to stay engaged on this issue from every angle it possibly can, including testimony before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State Fish and Wildlife Service. We are working with the State Farm Bureau and CA Cattlemenís Association, including other Ag groups in efforts to get out ahead of this issue.
The local public has done a great job of reaching out to other counties throughout the west impacted by these wolves and working with them towards solutions.
Forest Service Road Closures/Firewood Cutting Accessibility
The local public also did a wonderful job educating the public about the Forest Service road closures. By engaging in dialogue between the public and the federal government, this group has made progress on this issue. Iíve made a habit of attending these meetings and sharing the counties concerns.
We recently held a ďCoordinationĒ meeting with the Regional Forester where this issue was discussed along with other National Forest topics. The county will continue to stay engaged on advocating our citizenís concerns about these several issues to the Forest Service and Federal Government.
In regards to firewood cutting in the National Forest, the local public and the Goosenest Ranger District continue to make strides in establishing means for us to obtain our firewood needs.
Veteransí Organizations along with the Sheriff and the County are pursuing means to assist Veterans in the county. We recently advocated to Sacramento that the state improve how it counts veterans and obtain an accurate census in order to better deliver the needed services that our Veterans have earned.
The State of Jefferson
A topic that received a great deal of attention last year was the Board of Supervisorsí vote in support of a State of Jefferson. We were interviewed by news outlets throughout the nation. This was an opportunity to rally support for issues affecting us from the Klamath River Dams, to the Fire Tax, and the state agencies one size fits all regulations that might work for the urban areas but not necessarily for the rural areas of the state.
Other Counties have followed Siskiyou Countyís lead and have as well voted in support of a State of Jefferson for Northern California.
My Mastersí Degree Thesis back in 2008 discussed the California State Legislative Districts. As you know Southern California has a much larger population base and as a result dominates the State Legislature. For a long time State Senatorial Districts were not population based but county based which allowed for a checks and balances in the state legislature just like the U.S. Congress. I think such a return to state representation would benefit us all.
Such representation would not just benefit the rural parts of the state but also the urban areas as well. When the State Senate was composed of County representation, this state built our freeways, water infrastructure including water storage, a successful university system as well as other accomplishments.
It serves a purpose for state government to have different population bases represented. Mr. Andrews a delegate at the second California State Constitutional Convention in 1878-79, stated on the record: "I have seen, in the history of this State, representatives from other parts of the State save San Francisco from herself"
To conclude this email I wanted to explain this one part of future emails.
I had the honor of working for Oregon State Senator Doug Whitsett during the 2010 Legislative Session. In his newsletters he would conclude with:
"Please remember, if we do not stand up for rural Oregon no one will"
I like his quote, and will adjust it accordingly for my future newsletters,
Please remember, if we do not stand up for Siskiyou County no one will,
All the best,
Siskiyou County Supervisor District 1
Feel free to contact me over phone or email at: 530 859-5548 firstname.lastname@example.org
I have now made a list of people interested in Siskiyou County issues. You are on the list. If you donít want anything like this from me just send me an email and I will take you off. Please feel free to send these emails on to anyone you think might be interested.
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Page Updated: Wednesday April 23, 2014 02:44 AM Pacific
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