Patterson Creek Drying Pools by Sari Sommarstrom, Executive Director Scott River Water Trust
Neil, Joe, and Andrew:
Would you please share the attached press release with all the cc’s on your recent letter to us diverters about CDFG’s scheduled meeting in Fort Jones on August 16th, designed to ask us to reduce our diversions?
It would be educational for your folks who have not gained experience while living in Scott Valley to understand the nature of ephemeral channels and intermittent streams that deliver water to the Scott River.
Under old ecological theory, salmon could be considered an r-selected species that inherently produce more offspring than are necessary to maintain healthy populations of their species. “r” refers to reproductive-rate-evolved, where vast reproductive effort more than makes up for natural death of juveniles of the species.
By contrast, “K” selected species, which are carrying-capacity-controlled, like deer, have a different evolved strategy to maintain their existence. When deer over-populate their range they run out of food and their populations crash naturally.
Where man disallows natural fire regimes, or logging as a surrogate for fire, like what has happened to the forested watershed of Scott Valley, the food sources for deer decline precipitously and so do the deer populations. In decades past your agency lobbied for forest management for deer herd enhancement reasons–no more!
Now that your agency has been captured by the enviros, we have few deer and reduced watershed function–lower overall streamflows due to abnormal densification of our forests, high sublimation of snow from too high canopy cover, and excessive transpirational demand for water that would otherwise maintain higher year-round streamflows. Even the spotted owl can’t access its ground-dwelling small mammal food supply.
Regardless, Nature expects that the vast majority of juvenile individuals for an r-selected species will die. CDFG’s fish rescue program is not necessary and it gives the wrong impression to environmental folks that have not had the opportunity or taken the time to become educated on the ecology of Nature for wont of a better way of stating it.
A few weeks ago, Rick Davis, Kevin Gale, and Curtis Milliron visited our ranch to tour our neighbor’s fish screen site. While Kevin and Curtis were down along the Mill Creek streamside with my wife, Jennifer, I was speaking with Rick about Curtis’ tour of Scott and Shasta Valleys that day. Rick informed me that his previous supervisor, Steve Turek, had never done such a tour of the two valleys as Rick was doing for Curtis. We appreciate Curtis’ interest in our valley! It is high time that administrators in Redding become educated about the wildlife and fish resources you are responsible for managing and stop marching to the enviros’ drummer.
During August 16th’s meeting we will be prepared to discuss the ecological mechanisms affecting salmon abundance in Scott Valley as well as alterations and refinements in your monitoring of escapement and spawner survey methods that will more accurately estimate population abundance, allow us to identify limiting factors to salmon populations, and hopefully develop grounds for a CEQA analysis your agency needs to do in order to stop damaging actions you have been doing to coho since 1995 at Iron Gate Hatchery and periodically at video weirs on the Scott River as well as the Shasta River and Bogus Creek. The Scott and Shasta Valleys can provide a microcosm for learning and the development of solutions where solutions may exist. The diversity of impairments in the two valleys can provide tremendous insight for problem solving.
Thanks for your attention and concerns for the fish! We like fish too!
John W. Menke, Ph.D.
August 8, 2011