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Update on Siskiyou Co. Farm Bureau trial vs CA. DFG
by Liz Bowen May 13, 2012, Pie n Politics

I was not able to attend the Trial this week, but received several reports.

This is a simple issue: Does opening a headgate to remove legal irrigation water create a physical alteration to the streambed and thus, through new language by the DFG, require a Streambed Alteration 1600 Permit?

Landowners in Siskiyou County claim that opening a headgate does NOT affect the streambed and a Permit is not needed. Siskiyou County Farm Bureau has sued the CA. DFG over this issue.

The TRIAL finally began last week in Siskiyou Superior Court. DFG attorneys previously tried to move the Trial to Sacramento or San Francisco, but Farm Bureau’s attorney Darrin Mercier prevailed. We agree. It is a Siskiyou issue and must be tried in Siskiyou Court.

DFG’s in-house attorneys were recently replaced by 3 attorneys from the State Attorney General’s office! Wow, a bit of high power brought in, huh?

Several points made this week as Attorney Mercier presented the Farm Bureau’s case.

1: An expert witness on the 1600 Permit stated that the Streambed Alteration Permit was never about “water” but about protecting the streambed and bank during specific projects. Originally these were big projects like bridge building, road building near creeks, streams and rivers, etc.

2: DFG officials from the Redding Regional Office, Mark Stopher and Neil Manji, can’t seem to remember previous statements they made in their depositions acting like air-heads! And these people are running government programs and agencies!

3: It looks like Mark Stopher, the previous Interim Regional Manager at the Redding office, is the designer of the NEW 1602 Permit. He wrote a NEW definition of requirements for water diversions (irrigators) and did NOT follow correct government procedure. He did not send the new language through the required Administrative Procedures Act process, which is required by law. (Makes us wonder if Mark Stopher believes he is above the law!)

The TRIAL will reconvene on May 29 in the Siskiyou Superior Court.

P.S. Mark Stopher is also the lead for the CA. DFG on the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement as a Stakeholder. The KBRA, if approved, will have a huge impact against our irrigation water in Siskiyou County. You guessed it, we don’t much care for Mark Stopher in Siskiyou.


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