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We ask for PEACE in the valley

POW, Scott River, Threats to agriculture, Water rights

The Siskiyou Resource Conservation District (RCD) held its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010 at the Etna City Council Chambers.

A contingent of five individuals affiliated with Scott Valley POW attended the meeting with two speaking: Coordinator Liz Bowen and Vice President Mark Baird.

The reason for attending was to quiet some of the gossip and heated frustrations held by various individuals on both sides of the agricultural-water issue. During the past two weeks, the division between neighbors and friends has grown.

Bowen asked the RCD to stop its pursuit of the intrusive Umbrella Permit it has developed in order to restore PEACE to the valley.

Discussion was cordial with RCD President Bill Krum making a variety of explanations and a few disagreements.

At the end of the discussion, the RCD believes it must continue on its path, but realizes that no one knows what the final result will be next spring — before irrigation season begins once again.

THE ISSUE: Whether or not landowners should sign with the RCD and its umbrella Permit under the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG).

This Permit was initially designed to be a less expensive alternative to the DFG’s Permit.  Yet, fees for this Permit seem to be growing and are open-ended each year.

Many have signed a Notice of Intent (NOI) and paid the RCD $100 seeking protection from environmental regulations regarding the use of their legal Water Right allotment.

Some have not signed the Notice of Intent and have received threatening letters from the DFG explaining possible huge fines and even jail time, if prosecuted and convicted, if they do not agree to this re-designed Permit.

The Permit is a newly re-written project regarding two separate codes within the DFG. The latter group are standing on their Constitutional rights and believe the proposed Permits and regulations are not Constitutional.

But because of the heated discussions and threats the week preceding the RESTORE  HONOR WATER  RALLY held Sat. Aug. 28, Bowen and Baird believed it was time to discuss the division that has occurred.

The following is Liz Bowen’s discussion within the 5-minute time allotted by the RCD.  Baird’s discussion will be posted in the near future.

Three of the five RCD Directors were in attendance: President Bill Krum, Dave Black and John Spencer. Krum explained to Bowen that the $600,000 grant from the DFG that she claimed was given to the RCD seven years ago is an incorrect amount.

Because Bowen was attending many meetings as an ag. news reporter from 1996 to 2006, she still believes the RCD received a significant amount of funds from the DFG to begin to develop the Umbrella Permit, but does not know the initial amount.

From Liz Bowen:

Back in 2002 and 2003, the coho salmon was listed with the California Endangered Species Act and a Recovery Strategy Plan was developed under DFG regulations.

It was suggested to create an UMBRELLA PERMIT that could protect the irrigation diverters.

The DFG tried to get the RCD to write this Permit, but the RCD did NOT want to become a policing agency over the agricultural landowners.

DFG went to the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, but they refused to allow the county to do it. So DFG returned to the RCD and applied pressure.

An incentive of a grant was received from the DFG to begin a first year for the staff to develop the Umbrella Permit.

The DFG has threatened, coerced and argued with the RCD staff and directors over many aspects of the Permit.

The RCD has worked long and hard trying to develop a Permit the DFG will agree to and the landowners can live with.

But still through the Permit, the RCD has become a policing agency (this Krum and staff disagree with).

Our fears came true.

Back in 2002 and 2003, it was discussed that the development of this UMBRELLA Permit could cause a great divide between the ranchers and farmers. Pit neighbors and friends against friends and neighbors.

Because of actions taken during the last 2 weeks, this fear has also come true.

In the name of PEACE, I have come here today to ask you to STOP pushing this UMBRELLA PERMIT.

Tell the DFG you will not police, threaten and coerce your neighbors and frineds.

(Krum and staff also disagree they have threatened or coerced diverters, but we have had individuals tell us differently. The DFG has threatened and coerced through letters, officials and Game Wardens, so the RCD is being lumped into the same barrel as the DFG.)

Dump it back in their laps.

This Umbrella Permit is –

* Destructive to Water Rights;

* It will be destructive to agricultural livelihoods;

* It will de-value our property

This is NOT acceptable.  We must say “NO”.

I realize that funding continues to flow into the RCD to pay employees, who work on this Permit. It will cost you.

The RCD has done many good projects over the years.

This is NOT one of them.

To bring PEACE to our valley, the RCD Umbrella Permit must STOP.

Be sure to check the Page tabs

at the top for new information.

Next Scott Valley POW meeting is Sept. 15, 2010.

7 p.m.

Masonic Hall on Etna’s Main Street.

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              Page Updated: Tuesday September 07, 2010 03:10 AM  Pacific

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