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John McCamman and Neil Manji meetings in Yreka

1602 Permit for stream bed, ITP California coho salmon, Salmon and fish, Scott River, Threats to agriculture, Water rights

(John McCamman is the California state-wide Director of the Dept. of Fish and Game.  Neil Manji is the Regional Manager based in the Redding, California office of DFG.)

By Mark Baird

McCamman and Manji were in attendance at four venues this week in Siskiyou County.  By all reports, I have recieved, the meetings did not go well for CDFG.  I was not present but was able to gain reports from people in attendance.

First appearance was at the Board of Supervisors during a regular Board meeting.  Mr. McCamman spoke for three minutes during the public comment period after which he left the chamber without answering any questions.  This was viewed as very disrespectful by the Board.  Board was not notified in advance that he was coming.  Had no idea why he was there.

Second meeting with “stakeholders”.  Stakeholders were people who had signed up for the original Water shed Wide Permit.  (Farm Bureau was NOT invited, but Rex Houton attended as one of the signees). CDFG informed the people that they would no longer be able to issue 1602 permits at all.  The people in attendance were very upset with fish and game.  Minimum in stream flows were discussed with no conclusion.  ( CDFG does not know its own regulations, ie Code section 6020, which outlines maximum bypass flows).  Meeting attendees reminded CDFG they oversee fish and not water.  When asked if CDFG intended to play “Hardball” over flows,  McCamman responded, ” Hardball? Oh you people will know when we play hardball, because a lot of you will be in jail”.  That was not well received.

Third Meeting  Between CDFG and RCD board members.  Bill Krum (siskiyou rcd) and Gary Black (siskiyou rcd) accused CDFG of decimating the RCD with the lies and extortion and devision caused within the community as a result of CDFG’s activities.  RCD claims they may be finished in the Scott Valley as landowner trust has been effectively destroyed.  Another Board member ( not sure who this was) accused CDFG of leaving the RCD to “twist in the wind” and is worried about personal liability for RCD’s part in an illegal program.

Fourth Meeting.  CDFG and Protect Our Water.  Sheriff Jon Lopey present as well as several Protect Our Water Board Members.  Sheriff Lopey was not pleased with the uncivil, disrespectful, uncooperative and decietful methods with which CDFG interacts with not only the citizens, but also with his office.  He informed McCamman that he has made repeated attempts to communicate with CDFG with almost no response.  Nancy Carver relayed the threatening situation she was placed in by Game Wardens, started to cry a couple of times but got through it.  No response from McCamman.  Jim Mcfadden asked how we were supposed to get in creek if CDFG would no longer issue 1600 permits for any reason.

No substantive response from McCamman or Manji.  John Menke cited the absolute lack of genetic difference between hatchery and wild fish and called for an immediate de-listing.  No response from McCamman or Manji.  Craig Chenoweth testified that the landowners in this water shed know the answers to problems in the watershed but will not cooperate in any way unless CDFG agrees in writing to respect the Constitutional Rights and Water Rights of the Landowners. McCamman claimed that he was ignorant of the harsher provisions of the program.  Mr Chenoweth pointed out that we have all of the documentation with Mr. McCammans name on it and not being truthful would not help the situation going forward.  My wife Cyndi commented that from the moment they entered the building they were looking at their watches and really had nothing of substance to say.  She said it seemed to her that Mr McCamman and Mr. Manji were more fufilling an annoying obligation than trying to achieve any result.

My opinion from what information I was able to gather.  I am not sure what they hoped for, but as usual, they went about it badly.  I cannot imagine circumstances under which any one would trust anything Fish and Game has to say for a very very long time.

Our next battle is already shaping up to be a big one.  The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Federal EPA  thinks they are going to impose another Draconian Water Plan (TMDL) upon the Water Right Owners of our watershed.  April 20th and 21st are the “informational” meetings.  Both are in Fort Jones.




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