Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Pioneer Press, Fort Jones, California
October 26, 2005 Vol. 32, No. 50 Page A9, column 1
State agency explains its mandate
Public comment for Scott River TMDL ends Nov. 3.
By Liz Bowen, Pioneer Press Assistant Editor, Fort Jones, California
YREKA, Calif. – Marcia Armstrong, Siskiyou County Supervisor for district 5, opened the public comment meeting with the staff members of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board on Oct. 18 at the Miner’s Inn Convention Center.
“I was asked to set the tone,” said Armstrong, who acknowledged that the state agency’s employees had met with Siskiyou County officials.
Armstrong has long been an advocate of communication among governments and agencies. She expects state and federal agencies to contact the county, whenever they will be doing projects or implementing regulations that will affect the county or its citizens.
With that communication from the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s employees, the county is able to discuss controversial situations such as the one being posed by the Control Board.
This controversy revolves around water quality in the Scott River.
“The (state agency) staff has become better acquainted with the conservation in Scott Valley,” said Armstrong.
She then encouraged landowners to explain the many conservation projects they have accomplished to the state agency staff during the evening meeting.
Catherine Kuhlman, executive officer for the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, said to the 150 individuals gathered at the meeting that the state agency is “under a court ordered deadline” to establish water quality improvement Action Plans.
TMDL is an acronym, which stands for the Total Maximum of Daily Load or amount of a pollutant that a river will be allowed to experience and still meet water quality standards.
The state agency is developing TMDL Action Plans for rivers or water bodies that have been designated as “impaired” by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which oversees the federal Clean Water Act.
The deadline was set in 1997 through a lawsuit, where 14 non-profit organizations compelled the EPA to develop the TMDL Action Plans and complete them by 2007.
In 1992, the Klamath River and its tributary rivers were listed by the EPA as impaired. Problems cited include: Too high of water temperature; too much sediment; and a problem with oxygen levels in some of the water bodies.
Currently, the Scott River TMDL Action Plan is being completed and the document is now up for public comment. The state agency held one meeting for public comment in Yreka on Oct. 18. The next day, the agency staff held a meeting in Arcata on the coast.
In developing and implementing the TMDL Action Plans, the Klamath Basin Plan will then be amended by the State Water Quality Control Board, which is the mother agency to the North Coast Regional Board.
Public comment period for the Scott River TMDL will end Nov. 3, 2005.
Shasta River TMDL is underway
A TMDL official said that Shasta River TMDL is on track for completion next year. Landowners in Shasta Valley can expect more information regarding the TMDL Action Plan beginning in March.
Lost River TMDL
In a surprise comment during the Oct. 18 meeting in Yreka, a state TMDL official said that the Lost River TMDL Action Plan development has been turned over to the federal EPA to complete.
Back in September, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board canceled a meeting that was scheduled for Sept. 20, 2005 in Tulelake. That meeting was a public workshop for local input on the Lost River TMDL Action Plan. Since the cancellation of the meeting, little information had been released until the statement was made that the federal government will now deal with the Lost River TMDL.
The Lost River winds back and forth across the Oregon-California boarder, which brings in two state agencies that would need to cooperate on creating the TMDL Action Plan.
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2005, All Rights Reserved