Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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This fish tale is the story of common sense getting away
"Last week, per order of your federal government, the California Bureau of Reclamation ordered the release of 15,000 acre-feet of water into the Stanislaus River. That comes to 4.8 billion gallons, enough water to supply 178,301 Californians for a year...Six fish needed saving. Not six species of fish; a total of six fish..."
by Doug McIntyre, Los Angeles Daily News
We have two cats. One doesn’t like water; not many cats do. Then again, Chapman is afraid of just about everything, especially The Wife, so it’s not surprising he’s nervous around water. The other cat, Doug Jr., must be part dolphin.
Junior not only drinks from his water bowl, he’s been known to stand in the toilet, lie in puddles in the yard and habitually jump into the sink while I’m doing the dishes.
Every night — every single night — I wash the dishes after dinner; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The second I turn on the tap, I’m joined by a thirsty cat who laps at the small trickle I let dribble from the kitchen faucet for that very purpose.
“Don’t you know there’s a drought?” asks The Wife, and, of course, the cat doesn’t know from droughts. Doug Jr. is blissfully ignorant that California is in the midst of a historic dry spell with no relief in sight.
But even my cat is not as ignorant as those dopes in Washington.
Last week, per order of your federal government, the California Bureau of Reclamation ordered the release of 15,000 acre-feet of water into the Stanislaus River. That comes to 4.8 billion gallons, enough water to supply 178,301 Californians for a year.
That’s the entire city of Santa Clarita or 1.5 Burbanks. My cat could drink from the sink till he drowns.
You’re probably wondering why the feds would force parched California to flush billions of gallons of precious fresh water into the Pacific at the exact same time Gov. Brown is pushing for water rationing.
The answer? Six fish needed saving.
Not six species of fish; a total of six fish.
Steelhead trout to be specific.
The drought has so lowered the Stanislaus that the river isn’t deep enough for the steelhead to make it to their spawning grounds. Since steelhead are on the endangered species list, the Bureau of Reclamation says they had no choice but to open the floodgates. Literally.
Too bad cementheads aren’t endangered.
“We have a requirement under the Endangered Species Act to provide water to support the fisheries,” Louis Moore, deputy regional public affairs officer for the Bureau of Reclamation, told KFBK radio in Sacramento.
How anyone in government could insist on this criminal waste of water while California suffers dust-bowl conditions is hard to fathom.
Consider: 4.8 billion gallons of water has a street value of $600,000. That’s a hundred grand per fish. Fish that pricey should have names. Let’s call them Gil, Marlin, Finn, Fisher, Nemo and Flipper.
At 100K per fish, we could have hired a limo and driven them to the ocean.
Amazingly, this is the second time this spring we’ve flushed steelhead down the Stanislaus and common sense along with them.
In March another 15,000 acre-feet of water was released to show 23 fish out to sea.
At least that’s what we hope happened.
Marine biologists aren’t sure Gil, Marlin, Finn, Fisher, Nemo and Flipper made it to San Francisco Bay. Because of the drought the Stanislaus is warmer than usual, maybe too warm for steelhead to survive.
It’s entirely possible we spent 600 grand to make 4 billion gallons of bouillabaisse.
Andrea Fuller, a marine biologist who has spent 20 years studying the Stanislaus River, says the federal government has yet to provide any scientific data to support their water release edict despite repeated requests.
So The Wife says, “Put a bucket under the faucet if you’re going to let him drink from the sink!”
So that’s what I do now.
When I do the dishes — did I mention I do the dishes? — I now keep a bucket under the tap to catch the water the cat misses. When the bucket fills The Wife hauls it out to the garden and dumps it on a tomato plant. Or is that the neighbor’s pot plant? I’ll get back to you.
I’ve already killed off the front lawn and spent a small fortune putting in succulents and other spiky plants to do my part for drought relief. Starting today I will no longer “shampoo, rinse, repeat.” I will now only “shampoo and rinse.” And the cat’s faucet days may be coming to an end.
We have fish to save.
Doug McIntyre’s column appears frequently. He can be heard weekdays from 5-9 on 790 AM. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Page Updated: Sunday May 17, 2015 01:47 PM Pacific
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