Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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French Creek September 13 2011
By Preston Harris Sep 15, 2011, Pie n Politics
Attached to this email is a seven minute video documenting the current water flow on a two-mile reach of French Creek. Feel free to pass this onto whomever you wish. Read the following then go to the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi6EjSWURDo
About the video:
The reason for documenting the state of French Creek was to show what farmers and landowners have done to enhance the quality of in stream habitat and riparian habitat within the drainage. From the first shot, on middle French, to the last at the creeks mouth, less than 1.70 cfs is currently being diverted for one location (confirmed by DWR); over a distance of two miles.
This footage starts at diversion point 43A, and moves downstream from shot to shot. As this progression occurs you will notice that the flow both increases and decreases. This is caused by the ever changing sub-straight and alluvial activity, which in turn, alters the hydraulic conductivities and fluvial confirmation. DWR has confirmed that from the flow gauge near the Highway 3 bridge, to the next diversion point approximately a quarter of a mile downstream, there is anywhere from two to three cfs re-entering the channel.
The video also shows how the addition of improved diversion systems (rock weirs), as well as the presence of beaver activity, has created as series of deep pools that back water which greatly assist connectivity in the September and October months, and promotes over hanging vegetation, an elevated water table, and excellent habitat for aquatic life, amongst other things.
About the watershed:
Within the French Creek drainage landowners, in part with the Siskiyou RCD, have fenced off ninety five percent of the riparian, planted hundreds of trees, installed and maintained fish screens, installed alterative stock water systems, and are currently participating in groundwater studies, flow assessments, and fish surveys of various kinds. These efforts can clearly be seen by the abundance of wildlife throughout the entirety of the riparian zone. This zone is functioning in all phases; flood control, the filtering of groundwater, suitable in stream habitat which includes deep, shaded pools, undercut banks, wood debris, and an influence of thermal refugia. This riparian zone also has a proper balance of vegetation that supports the creeks toe, bank, over bank zone and flood zone and has an abundance of elastic vegetation that slows the energy of high flows, and has the thick root systems of cottonwoods and pine trees to stabilize soils. Beaver dams and rock weirs back water and create deep pools that become shrouded in vegetation and supply aquatic habitat with improved water conditions (depth, temperature, filtering and thermal refugia).
The farmers of the French Creek watershed care greatly about this environment and all its life forms. On a single day, a person could come across elk, beaver, otters, deer, bear, cougars, bobcats, water fowl, birds of prey, various forms of reptilian life, various forms of amphibious life, a plethora of insects, the most stable riparian this valley has to offer, and of course, fish. This would not be the case if the people of this drainage were not committed to achieving sustainability between farming and the environment. What you will not see is an improper use of water. When a farmer’s water is no longer deemed beneficial to their operation, they’ll either sell their water to the Water Trust, or turn off their head gates.
The DFG has been notified that they will be allowed to relocate fish on lower French and within my ditch systems if in stream conditions come to that point, and will be allowed to remove fish screens for maintenance when contacted by us water users. However, I will not be aiding the DFG in its flawed request for farmers to voluntarily return water in stream. It has been confirmed that the only reason the meeting on August 16th was called for was to testify that the department was “reaching out” to the people of Siskiyou County . Their request was both false in nature, and disguised to deceive. I will not support it. I will also not support the department as long as they are pursuing 1602/ITP and 5937. Both codes are in place to take water without having an acceptable understanding of this valley’s respective watersheds. The department’s unwillingness to listen and work with landowners is unacceptable, and until this improves a great deal I will not be working with them except when it comes to relocating fish.
I urge others to do as I did and develop a method to tell the true story of their respective watersheds and not allow people to create lies and propaganda about in stream conditions in the Scott Valley watershed.
French Creek water user
Page Updated: Monday September 19, 2011 02:19 AM Pacific
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