This week flow near the mouth of the
But the same increase in flow has not materialized on the
This means that while Chinook salmon are moving up and spawning in the
KlamBlog surveyed the
October 6th, 2009
Closer to where the Scott joins the Klamath River, KlamBlog observed several hundred Chinook crowded into a small pool just above the Highway 96 bridge. Crowding and delayed migration encourages disease outbreaks and squanders the energy these fish need to finish their migration and spawn. KlamBlog observed one dead unspawned female below the crowded pool.
October 6, 2009
Meanwhile upriver in the
So why have the flows not rebounded on the Scott as they have on the Shasta?
The answer has a lot to do with the fact that the
October 6, 2009
The dewatering of the
Another reason why
Etna Creek Diversion Ditch - This diversion runs full year around
Irrigation via this ditch is supposed to end on October 1st
Readers may wonder why it is necessary to run a ditch at 4 to 6 or even 1 to 3 cfs in order to obtain a stockwater right of 0.1 cfs. The truth is that the practice is not necessary for livestock watering. The ranchers, however, like to keep their pastures soaked with water year around. They locate livestock watering at the bottom of their property so that the water has to run through – and sub-irrigate – all pastures above before arriving at the watering site.
Fifteen years ago the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) questioned this practice on Kidder Creek. CDFG asked the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to determine if the practice was legal. DWR said everything was OK. Rather than take the issue to the State Water Resources Board, CDFG decided not to rock the boat. Now CDFG managers want to grant these agricultural operations a permit to legalize their “take” of Coho salmon. Coho salmon are listed as "threatened" under both state and federal endangered species laws.
Out of season flood irrigation by some livestock producers in the
Meanwhile the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District - which represents agricultural interests in the Scott River Basin and controls virtually all fish and watershed restoration funds spent in the Scott – has reacted angrily to a front page story in the San Francisco Chronicle which reported on the stranding of Chinook salmon on the lower Shasta and Scott Rivers.
In a long e-mail to Chronicle editors Siskiyou RCD manager Carolyn Pimentel listed what she claims are the good things that
Pimentel then requested that the Chronicle publish “a follow-up article given the same front page attention as the original article with the attached photo and graph, and the following corrections and pertinent additional information.”
The Chronicle agreed to print a small factual correction: the Coho are listed as “threatened” and not “endangered” as the Chronicle article had stated. According to the Chronicle, Pimentel’s other points were irrelevant to the Chinook stranding story.
Apparently the governing board and managers of the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District believe that because they are doing allegedly “good things” for salmon they should be allowed to dewater the
This incident and numerous others have revealed that irrigation interests in the Scott Valley refuse to recognize that fish need water and not just screens on diversions and other projects which help irrigators as much or more than they help fish.
Among Pimentel’s claims is that this is a “critically dry” year in
KlamBlog has investigated that assertion. It turns out that it is only a “critically dry” year in
Ten years ago fish advocates and fish biologists working as part of the Scott River CRMP developed a simple and practical system to evaluate whether fish and watershed restoration projects completed in the
Fish advocates know how to evaluate the effectiveness of restoration. When salmon can’t make it to spawning grounds even in average rainfall years these advocates conclude thar restoration is not working. So what has all that money been spent on and why are Chinook and even Coho in some years not able to reach their spawning grounds in the
That will be the topic in a future KlamBlog post. Stay tuned.