Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
by Marcia Armstrong, Siskiyou County District 5, 5/12/06
WATER QUALITY: Under the California Porter- Cologne Water Quality Act and Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (NCRWQCB) has established a list of “beneficial uses” of water for each river system, including the Scott and the Shasta. (These would be uses such as irrigation, recreation, and cold water fisheries.) For each beneficial use, water quality standards are established. (For instance, salmon are a cold water fish that need habitat that does not exceed a certain range of temperature.)
When a river does not meet the water quality
standards for each of its beneficial uses, it is
declared water quality “impaired.” The
A Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL is the maximum amount of pollutant that a river can receive and still meet the water quality standards for its beneficial uses. When a TMDL is established, the NCRWQCB also establishes an Action Plan for restrictions on land and water uses in order to meet water quality objectives.
The Shasta River TMDL process and Action Plan is still at the regional level. The NCRWQCB has rejected some of the language initially proposed by staff. Areas under consideration include management of riparian buffers, avoidance of tailwater discharge of nutrients and fine sediment, increase of instream flows by 45 c.f.s. of cold water, removal of minor impoundments and bring discharges at Dwinnell dam into compliance with water quality standards. The Action Plan will be reconsidered at a later date after staff makes changes requested by the NCRWQCB.
A few weeks back, the NCRWQCB revealed the latest in its ongoing attack. A proposed amendment to the regional Water Quality Control Plan would recognize two new “beneficial uses” for which water quality standards will be established. These “uses” are stream and wetlands systems – including stream channels, wetlands, riparian areas, floodplains. According to their notice, this will “complete the entire watershed water quality management strategy.” Considering the extent of floodplains in our valleys, this could move the regulation of most land and water use under the NCRWQCB. http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/programs/basinplan/swspp.html
SISKIYOU CABLEVISION: The franchise for Siskiyou Cablevision (SC) will be considered for renewal at the Board of Supervisor’s June 6th meeting. In discussions about this renewal and public access, I have learned that people can currently submit VHS tapes of events, interviews, etc. for airing on Channel 2. In fact, SC would welcome such tapes. It will currently take them about one week to convert the material to digitized format for tv. They will return the original tape to you. Here is a wonderful opportunity to bring events to those who don’t get out or who miss them. This could be a great opportunity for a budding film maker and would help bring our valley closer.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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