Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Scott Valley accomplishments and
by Marcia Armstrong, Siskiyou County Supervisor District 5 6/16/06
Gary Black from the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District (RCD) pointed out the many projects that had been implemented within steps of the group: (1) a self-cleaning fish screen to prevent fish from entering an irrigation ditch – returning them to the river; (2) a culvert pipe to efficiently carry diverted water to its destination, while minimizing water loss; (3) a riparian fence to exclude cattle as part of the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP); and (4) a vortex boulder weir to replace old fashioned “push up gravel dams” used in irrigation with a more permanent and natural structure that is passable by fish. Black also pointed out that the Department of Water Resources has installed headgates on watermastered streams to control and measure flow and that these devices were also now being installed in other areas of the Valley.
In total, there are 90 active water diversion
points in the
The RCD has been moving toward the difficult challenge of strategically enhancing river flows where needed during critical life stages of rearing and migration for the fish. Phase I of a Water Trust that operates within the legal parameters of the existing Scott River Adjudication to purchase flows during critical periods has been completed. Phase II, the development of the Trust, is underway. Next, funds to establish an endowment for funding will be sought.
In addition, approximately 8-12 opportunities have been identified for piping or other water conservation devices to reduce ditch leakage and dedicate water savings to a stream segment. One flow enhancement project has been completed on Sugar Creek that pipes four miles of ditch and dedicates some water savings to instream flow during irrigation season.
The Siskiyou RCD has many
projects lined up awaiting funding that are
construction ready, requiring only minor design and
permitting work prior to installation. These are
projects identified as high priorities in the
California Coho Recovery Plan, Scott River Strategic
Action Plan, and the Long Range Plan for the
There are currently about $4,600,000 in future water projects – such as piping or lining leaky diversion ditches and using alternative irrigation or livestock watering systems. These will increase instream flows during low flow periods and at the places where they are needed for migrating juvenile and adult fish. There are about $675,000 in future instream projects. These include bioengineered stream bank protection projects and structures, such as “large woody debris,” that increase habitat complexity.
About four water diversions, (in the areas where coho are known to go,) remain unscreened. It would cost about $120,000 to screen them. It will also cost $100,000 to regularly maintain these and the 60 screens already installed. This does not include the additional 11 screens needed for areas where anadromous fish other than coho are known to go. Additionally, 18 diversions currently impede fish passage during some point of the water year. Other structures such as rock weirs could be installed for $1,300,000.
Finally, it would take around $440,000 to support the RCD organization so that it can bid, oversea, manage and account for these projects.
The celebration highlighted that we have
something very special in
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