- Stoners Clash
- Lightning Damage
- Wet Weather
- KZYX Miracle
- Civic Breakdown
- Caltrans Christmas
- Auto Mechanics
- Masonite Incentives
- Pedestrian View
- Drug Bust
- Diversion Tussle
- School Lockdown
- Yesterday's Catch
- War Machine
- Work Ethic
- Salmon Count
20,000 PACK THE EMERALD CUP
Tempers flare at debate on adult recreational legalization
by Jane Futcher
It was a party,
It was a giant smoke-in — near the vast 215 medical cannabis area.
It was a music and food fest.
And it was a venue for some very serious panels on medical cannabis cultivation, treatment and legalization issues.
The 2015 Emerald Cup at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds Dec. 12 and 13 drew 21,000 people who bought seeds, tried new strains, watched demonstrations, learned about irrigation, water filtration, soil amendments and more.
Laytonville farms including HappyDay, Swami Select, Rusty Shovel and Guerilla were among the many locals selling their medicine as was Laytonville-based collective Mendocino Medicinals. Many local farms sold under the banner of the local co-op called Emerald Grown.
Jackson Zenter, aka Mean Jean of Laytonville, won top bud for “Cherry Limeaid,” a flower described as sweet and fruity, albeit with a “paint thinner and Bain de Soleil” essence, according to one media report.
A breakfast of more than 200 on Sunday at the Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa, hosted by California Growers Association, looked liked a cannabis whose-who society pages from Mendocino and Humboldt counties. Among those with big smiles were Casey O’Neill and Amber Cline of HappyDay. Justin Calvino of Mendocino Policy Cannabis Council was deep in conversation with Luke Bruner, business manager of Wonderland Nursery and a co-founder Host of California Cannabis Voice-Humboldt. Hezekiah Allen, executive direction of the CGA, moved from table to table welcoming friends and CGA members.
Back at the Cup, despite the upbeat atmosphere, tempers flared at several well attended legislative panel discussions, particularly at Saturday evening’s debate on the Adult Use Marijuana Act (AUMA), dubbed by some the Sean Parker initiative after the Napster and Facebook billionaire backing it.
AUMA would legalize recreational cannabis use for adults if passed by voters in 2016.
Here’s how California NORML summarizes AUMA:
“AUMA is a lengthy, 62-page initiative which elaborately writes hundreds of detailed restrictions and regulations into state law. Its basic thrust is to (1) allow adults 21 years and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use; (2) regulate and tax the production, manufacture, and sale of marijuana for adult use; and (3) rewrite criminal penalties so as to reduce the most common marijuana felonies to misdemeanors and allow prior offenders to petition for reduced charges. AUMA’s regulatory provisions are largely patterned on the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), recently passed by the legislature and effective Jan 1, 2016; licenses for medical and adult-use would be distinct.”
The skirmish Saturday evening started when Emerald Cup founder and executive director Tim Blake, who was in the audience for the AUMA debate, stated his intention to endorse AUMA.
San Jose activist Kevin Saunders rose to his feet, shouting, “Your credibility is at stake. One ounce! Six plants. This is a giveaway.” Saunders was referring to AUMA’s personal possession and cultivation limits.
After a hostile exchange, Blake ordered security guards to remove Saunders. Attorney and panel moderator Matt Kumin dashed from the stage to assist in Saunders’ removal.
The flare-up reflected the widespread concern among cannabis policy makers as to whether AUMA forwards greater acceptance for cannabis use or creates too many new regulations and penalties, putting more people in jail and fostering a statewide mishmash of local laws. AUMA, like the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, signed into law this year by Gov. Brown, allows counties and cities to create their own initiatives, including the right to ban adult recreational use.
“Balkanization,” was how panelist David Hodges described the effect of allowing local governments the right to write their own laws.
Still, many cannabis advocacy groups, including a number that once opposed the Parker initiative, are now throwing their support behind it, in part, it appears, because AUMA is the only initiative that has enough money behind it to win.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and the Drug Policy Alliance are among those that have recently endorsed AUMA.
“It is not perfect. It doesn’t give us everything,” said panelist and California Cannabis Industry Association Director Nate Bradley, a former law enforcement officer. “It doesn’t remove all the crimes. But it reduces crimes. We are not going to get everything all at once. We can change this law in the State Legislature.”
But critics, including panelist George Mull, said the problem with voter initiatives is that they are extremely hard to change or amend once passed. Nonetheless, by the end of the evening, he and David Hodges begrudgingly admitted they would probably support AUMA if it is the only recreational-use initiative on the 2016 ballot.
(Jane Futcher is the host of The Cannabis Hour on KZYX FM, Mendocino County Public Broadcasting.)
THAT LAST STORM…
(From the City of Fort Bragg’s website)
FBPD Phone System Damaged Due To Lightning Strike.
The FBPD phone system was damaged by a lightning strike last week and must be replaced. This damage affected not only our main phone lines, but our voice mail, and anonymous tip line as well. We are currently working with a temporary system that will let us receive calls at (707) 961-2800. Additionally the after hours phone at the front of the police department (Red Box) was also damaged. If you need assistance after hours please call (707) 964-0200 from your cellular phone or landline. If you do not have access to either of these please respond to the front of the Ten Mile Court House and utilize the Sheriff's Office's after hours phone. They will transfer you to our dispatch center.
THE GOOD NEWS: Weather forecast is for 3.5 inches to fall on Boonville over the next seven days. That oughtta keep the Navarro from turning back into a long algal lake. Saw the mouth yesterday, still flowing out to sea.
JOHN SAKOWICZ WRITES: “I promised confidentiality, but you'll be pleased, as I was, with the choice for new GM. The MCPB Board surprised me with their integrity. I must admit that in the past I made a crucial error...I conflated the Board with John Coate and Mary Aigner.”
IF A TIRELESS CRITIC of KZYX like John Sakowicz can approve of both the selection process and the person selected to be the station's manager, I believe we are in the presence of the miraculous. Still no word, though, on just who the new manager is. This is good news. The station has badly needed a kind of blanket amnesty for all those people alienated and outright banned by years of bad management.
TWICE in the last month I've watched two different guys go off into full angry rant mode on the street. One was on Gobbi near the Co-Op, the other near the library on West Perkins. They were both screaming to the skies, but at any moment I wouldn't have been surprised if they attacked a passerby of whatever age or gender. I know it happens often in Ukiah, Willits and Fort Bragg, and I also know that most of us have become hardened to the sight of obviously deranged persons in our public areas. They are one more sign of civic drift, that no one is in charge, that despite millions being spent at all levels of government on the "homeless," there are more dangerously unhinged people on the streets than ever. And a lot of them are loaded on dope, bad dope.
ANY TOWN OF ANY SIZE now suffers the prob of walking time bombs downtown. San Francisco, of course, has long suffered from the untreated mentally ill, reinforced by free range drunks and dope heads, roaming downtown. Trent Rohrer, Frisco's boss at Human Services, notes of the homeless in San Francisco, "We're seeing a different crowd now. They are younger, very aggressive, borderline violent, and fueled by really, really bad drugs."
A CALTRANS CHRISTMAS GIFT: In observance of the Christmas holiday, Caltrans crews and contractors will not be performing any activity on state highways in Mendocino County that would include lane closures from Thursday, December 24 through Sunday, December 27. However, Caltrans will respond to emergency situations with traffic control as required. Have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.
Route 1 (40.2) – Bridge painting at the Navarro River Bridge will continue. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays.
Route 1 (70.5) – Highway repairs just north of Ocean Meadows Circle will continue. One-way traffic control with a temporary signal will be in effect 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays. LC#C1DA
Route 101 (4.5/5.0) – Caltrans will perform slide repairs near the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge (near Frog Woman Rock). Northbound traffic will be restricted to one lane 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Motorists may experience minor traffic slowdowns.
Route 101 (64.7/81.4) – Pavement repairs from Harwood Road to Rattlesnake Creek will continue through Saturday, December 19. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 7 days per week. Motorists should anticipate 15-minute delays.
Route 128 (20.1) – AT&T has been granted a Caltrans encroachment permit for utility repairs near Philo Greenwood Road on Friday, December 18. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 9 a.m. to noon. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays.
Route 271 (0.0/5.6) – PG&E has been granted a Caltrans encroachment permit for utility repairs from Cummings to Scandia beginning Monday, December 21. One-way traffic control will be in effect from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Motorists should anticipate 5-minute delays.
Pale blossoms, each balanced on a single jointed stem,
The leaves curled back in elaborate Corinthian scrolls;
And the air cool, as if drifting down from wet hemlocks,
Or rising out of ferns not far from water,
A crisp hyacinthine coolness,
Like that clear autumnal weather of eternity,
The windless perpetual morning above a September cloud.
— Theodore Roethke
INTERESTING MCN remark that began with a search for a Coast mechanic:
“Shade tree mechanic” is the key word there. That equals “no overhead to cover.” Also part quality can vary widely between part suppliers. If one is comparing parts prices, one should be sure to compare them by manufacturer as well. A brand new part may easily be four times the amount of a remanufactured unit. Knowing that is important. As a former shop owner I can tell you that just keeping tools current all by itself is an incredible expense. Not to mention the electronic jazz and the avalanche of technical stuff a tech must keep up with these days.
I offer a simple example for illustration. On older models, one could change the oil and filter and call it a day. Now, the “change oil” light may have to be re-set requiring extra time, knowledge and/or tools. Some of those procedures are ridiculous. This former auto repair shop owner/operator would rarely install an owner supplied part. The mark-up on parts is part of the business's profit and must be in place. You want even higher labor rates? Maybe this analogy might help. I ask folks that think this is an OK practice to bring some eggs, some bacon and a few slices of bread to your local restaurant and ask them to cook your breakfast using your “parts” while expecting a discount. I’m sure you can see the problem with that. It is the same with an auto repair shop. No restaurant could do that and survive and neither could a professional and reputable repair shop. It just doesn’t work that way. Cars are expensive and it takes a LOT of skill, knowledge and experience to be good at repairing them. It also takes a HUGE dedication to the field that most folks fail to see.
MEMO OF THE WEEK
County Of Mendocino
Board Of Supervisors
501 Low Gap Road · Room 1010
Ukiah, California 95482
December 8, 2015
To: Mr. Ross Liberty
Re: Factory Pipe/Ukiah Industrial Park Team
1307 Masonite Road
Ukiah, CA 95482
Re: Ukiah Industrial Park Project
Dear Mr. Liberty,
As you are aware the Board of Supervisors is proud of the Factory Pipe project you completed which demonstrated our ability to work with local entrepreneurs and business owners, such as yourself, to grow the local economy. This example of local officials and business owners working together was successful in ensuring the retention of approximately 65 quality jobs your company currently provides here in Mendocino County. While local manufacturing employment has eroded nearly 50% over the past two decades, there has been some recent growth in the industrial sector. Factory Pipe has been a key part of that growth. Not only is Factory Pipe a great example of a successful local business, but you have been a cornerstone of the local business community in providing leadership and mentoring to other business owners and prospective business owners.
Based on our understanding of your team’s proposed project of commercial and industrial development at the former Masonite property we welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively to encourage the development of underutilized properties and foster local job creation. We understand that if you are successful in acquiring the subject property you intend to request a rezone of up to 20 acres along the North State Street frontage. The Board supports this concept and agrees that well designed commercial development at this gateway location will enhance the North State Street corridor and encourage additional investment by nearby property owners. Accordingly, the Board will encourage staff to ensure that a rezoning request, pursuant to County policies and all applicable laws and regulations, is processed for consideration at the earliest opportunity.
Additionally, we believe that the potential development of an industrial park on the balance of the property, that would employ as many as 600 or more people, many of which will be skilled positions, should be considered for other incentives as appropriate. In recognition of the significant long term local benefits of a successful project, the Board is open to consideration of incentives such as 10-year property tax abatement on all improvements from the date of initial occupancy, 10-year property tax abatement on capital equipment, alternative funding for infrastructure investment, or other appropriate measures.
We look forward to a partnership that will benefit all of Mendocino County by creating quality local jobs, growing the local economy, and increasing local government revenue. Please do not hesitate to contact County Executive Officer Carmel J. Angelo with any questions or updates on the progress of this exciting and vitally needed local project.
Carre Brown, Chair
Mendocino County Board of Supervisors
(Approved unanimously, Dec 8, 2015)
To the Editor:
A lot of people who drive automobiles don’t have any idea what it’s like to be a pedestrian and have their car motors, especially loud ones, start up as the pedestrian is walking behind their vehicle in a parking lot, especially the bigger pick ups. Sometimes to make matters worse, they start backing up before the pedestrian is out of their way. As I walk a lot of times people seem to have to turn their cars in front of me when I am crossing from one curb corner to the next. Today that happened twice. If I had been walking faster I would have been hit by them. Also today I heard a “crunch.” I looked behind me to see what the noise was and I saw that a bigger hatchback car just ran over a plastic facsimile of a child. There were two of them. They were there so car drivers would be cautious that children were around. It was in front of a driveway at a school. It makes me so angry. I think a good punishment is in order and the people that drive like I mentioned should walk and have the same experiences I have. The way some people speed in Ukiah makes me want to throw in the towel of my going out of my home or my neighborhood. It’s frightening to go to the grocery store by foot. It gets me angry and also makes me want to cry. It’s not good for the driver or the pedestrian. It’s not good for anyone. It also causes me to have panic attacks. I also think the DMV should use more scrutiny when they are giving out licenses. My pharmacist told me he knows of a family who’s 2-year-old daughter was killed at a birthday party when a truck backed over her. I saw when I was 5 years old a toddler killed in traffic. I think that horses were a better form of transportation, except for the dirt. Nowadays...I believe bicycles are much safer or rickshaws.
Leslie Jo Feldman, Ukiah
DURAN-DURAN (& SOLIS)
On 12-11-2015 at approximately 11:00 AM, a Mendocino County Sheriff's Deputy was patrolling the 600 block of Crest Drive in Willits, California. During this time the Deputy observed a male driver in a red pickup truck pull up to a house and park in front. A person later identified as being Fernando Duran, 30, of Willits, exited the house and walked to the truck and engaged in behavior that was indicative of drug sales activity. As the truck drove away, the Deputy observed a lighting equipment violation and initiated a traffic stop. The driver, Marco Solis, 35, of Willits, was found to be driving without a driver’s license. At the Deputy’s direction Solis began to exit the vehicle at which time the Deputy discovered what appeared to be a pistol concealed in his waistband. A search of Solis’s clothing was conducted which resulted in the discovery of a baggie containing a small quantity of methamphetamine and a glass methamphetamine smoking pipe. The suspected pistol was determined to be a BB air pistol that was a replica of a .357 caliber handgun. Information gained by the Deputy during the traffic stop resulted in the issuance of a search warrant for the residence where Solis had been parked as observed by the Deputy. The search warrant was granted and executed at the residence during the afternoon of 12-11-15. Approximately 5.3 grams of methamphetamine, several Oxycontin pills, drug paraphernalia and packaging were discovered during the service of that search warrant.
Jose Duran, 29, of Willits, and Fernando Duran were at the residence resulting in both being arrested for possession of methamphetamine in addition to sale/possession of a controlled substance. Both were booked into the Mendocino County Jail to be held in lieu of $25,000 bail. Marco Solis was arrested for possession of methamphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia and for unlicensed driving. Solis was cited and released upon his signed promise to appear at a future court date.
CA FISH AND WILDLIFE TO FORT BRAGG…
State of California
Department of Fish and Wildlife
Date: November 16, 2015
To: Matthew McCarthy, Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisory
Division of Water Rights
State Water Resources Control Board
From: Gordon Leppig, Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisory
Department of Fish and Wildlife Northern Region
Subject: Statements of Fact in Support of Protest of Petition for Change to License 12171 to Appropriate Water from Waterfall Gulch, tributary to Hare Creek, Mendocino County
On August 15, 2014, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) filed a protest with the Division of Water Rights (Division) for the subject Petition for Change (Petition). On September 24, 2014, CDFW received a request from the Division to correct deficiencies in CDFW’s protest pursuant to Water Code §1703.2. On October 17, 2014, CDFW provided a Basis for Objection to the Division as requested. CDFW’s protest was accepted by the Division. In its Petition for Change to License 12171 (Project), the City seeks to change its license to build a 14.7 million gallon reservoir to store water diverted from Waterfall Gulch, tributary to Hare Creek, thence the Pacific Ocean. Currently, the City diverts water from Waterfall Gulch at a rate of up to 0.668 cubic feet per second. The season of diversion is January 1 to December 31, with a total amount of water diverted of 475 acre-feet per annum (afa). Water from Waterfall Gulch is piped to Newman Gulch, tributary to the Noyo River (point of rediversion).
On February 17, 2015, the City of Fort Bragg (City) responded to CDFW’s protest with a letter stating, among other things, that “The City takes all water that is available from the stream source.” CDFW has observed the amount of water taken from Waterfall Gulch under the water right and determined impacts to public trust resources were occurring based on flow measurements above and below the point of diversion. In its response letter, the City disputed protest terms and requirements to meet Fish and Game Code (FGC). The City concluded that the amount of water diverted will not have an adverse impact on the environment or public trust, without any basis or supporting information other than they have an existing water right for taking water. Possession of a water right does not automatically mitigate or prevent impacts to fish and wildlife resources or preclude requirements of any state or federal agency to protect public trust resources. The City’s response cites the Siskiyou County Farm Bureau case as the reason they did not need to comply with FGC. The Siskiyou County Farm Bureau case applied only to certain agricultural diversions in Siskiyou County and thus, the City has been and is still out of compliance with FGC §1602 as well as with other sections of FGC. Thus, FGC §1602 and other sections of FGC have always applied to the diversion at Waterfall Gulch. In any case, in a ruling reversing the Siskiyou court’s judgment, the California Court of Appeal affirmed CDFW’s authority to require notification for water diversion pursuant to FGC §1602.
In an effort to resolve the protest, CDFW wrote a letter on May 22, 2015, offering to meet with the City. The City did not respond to the letter or contact CDFW to discuss protest dismissal terms or possible mitigations for the Project. Thus, the City has not attempted to resolve protest terms with CDFW. On October 30, 2015, CDFW received notice from the Division stating the Division had prepared a Public Trust Resources Assessment (PTRA) for the project that concluded approval of the Petition, with terms and conditions incorporated into the license, would not result in adverse impacts to public trust resources. The notice provided CDFW 20 days to submit Statements of fact providing substantial evidence supporting CDFW’s allegations or the protest may be canceled. A copy of the PTRA referenced in the notice was not included for review. Flowever, a Public Trust Resource Considerations (PTRC) document was received 6 days later on November 5, 2015.
As requested by the Division, CDFW is providing Statements of Fact concerning public trust resources not addressed in the Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), draft license, or PTRC. These statements are in addition to our original protest and protest dismissal terms and the Objection.
Statements of Fact
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is required to give great weight to CDFW’s judgment with respect to fish and wildlife needs (Bank of America v. SWRCB (1974) 42 California App.3d 198, 212, 116 California Reporter. 770; Water Code §§1243 and 1257.5). CDFW is reiterating that fish and wildlife habitat requirements are not being met by the observed bypass flow in Waterfall Gulch. There is no supporting evidence provided in the MND, draft license, or PTRC that the bypass flow in the PTRC will protect downstream fish and wildlife.
Review of the record reveals several CDFW proposed mitigations are not incorporated into the MND, draft license, and PTRC. These mitigations are for protection of public trust resources. Thus, public trust resources are at risk for adverse impacts from the project. Specifically, the lack of a protective bypass flow and mitigations in the reservoir for native aquatic species.
The City concludes that no adverse impacts will occur from the Petition. However, no evidence is offered to counter CDFW’s documented f impacts on public trust resources from the current rate of diversion. If the City does exercise the full face value of the water right, then it may result in additional impacts to public trust resource above those already documented by CDFW as described in the attached flow study memoranda.
According to reporting by the City, the licensed amount of water has not been used at least since at least 2008. The current diversion/bypass is not protective of instream resources. Coho salmon and steelhead trout were not listed when the original license was issued and impacts to those listed species were likely not analyzed in the original license and no mitigations provided for them. Coho salmon are listed as endangered under the federal and California Endangered Species Act (ESA and CESA, respectively). Steelhead trout are listed as threatened under ESA. Although the license does allow up to 450 afa, the proposed reservoir will result in the City removing more water from the system than they have in recent years, thus amplifying the impacts already documented since CDFW began measuring flow in Waterfall Gulch in 2011.
CDFW has determined the diversion is substantial and has the potential to impact public trust resources. According to its Petition, the City is petitioning to change the method of diversion from direct diversion to diversion to storage. The method of diversion is not analyzed in the PTRC and the MND. According to the PTRC less than 6 gallon per minute of flow will be bypassed. The draft license does not include a bypass flow term that is protective of public trust resources. CDFW has measured the outflow from the diversion on several occasions. Because the Petition is for changing the method of diversion, the effects of the diversion must be analyzed especially in light of the changed conditions in the watershed. Waterfall Gulch and Hare Creek support coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and steelhead trout (O. mykiss). Coho salmon have undergone a minimum 70% decline in abundance since the 1960s, and are currently 6 to 15% of 1940s abundance estimates (Department of Fish and Game 2004). Hare Creek is designated “Sensitive High Value Salmonid Habitat” by CDFW and is critical habitat for steelhead trout. The listing of these species and their habitat designations are conditions that have changed since the license was issued. As proposed, the approval of the Petition may result in the Project substantially impacting species or their habitat listed under ESA or CESA.
The Hare Creek and Noyo River watersheds including Waterfall Gulch support aquatic species designated as California Species of Special Concern (SSC) since the original license. The SSC are southern torrent salamanders (Rhyacotriton variegatus), northern red-legged frog (Rana aurora), tailed frogs (Ascaphus truei), and western pond turtle (Actinemys marmorata). CDFW designates certain vertebrate species as SSC because declining population levels, limited ranges, and/or continuing threats have made them vulnerable to extinction or extirpation in California. Current diversion at the rate allowed under the existing licensed right does not support these SSC in Waterfall Gulch or listed salmonids that occur downstream.
No mitigations are described in the draft license or PTRC addressing measures for habitat of native aquatic species.
Water Code §1701.2(c) states petitions shall include all information that can be reasonably obtained from CDFW concerning the extent fish and wildlife may be affected by the change and proposed protective measures for fish and wildlife. CDFW provided recommendations on the project during the timber harvesting review process on November 25, 2013, and during review of the MND on July 21, 2014 (see attached). These recommendations were submitted to the City, but not all CDFW recommendations are incorporated into the project. Thus, CDFW believes that the project will still have unreasonable impacts to fish and wildlife. Specifically, CDFW’s recommendations concerning the diversion’s impacts on public trust resources, the requirement for the diversion to meet FGC §§1602, 5901, and 5937, incorporation of mitigation measures for the proposed reservoir, and meeting the water use reduction requirements of the Water Conservation Act have not been addressed.
The Petition does not comply with multiple FGC sections. The Petition does not list a Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement pursuant to FGC §1602 as necessary for the project. On March 3, 2104, CDFW sent a letter to the City requesting notification for all of their diversions (see attached). To date, CDFW has not received a notification pursuant to FGC §1602.
The original and draft licenses for the onstream dam do not have bypass flows that comply with FGC §5937. California Code of Regulation (CCR) §782 “Passage of Water for Fish” requires all permits for diversion of water by means of a dam, which do not have a specific bypass flow requirement to comply with FGC §5937 by allowing sufficient water to pass over, around, or through the dam to keep fish below it in good condition. There is no supporting evidence in the MND, draft license, or PTRC that the proposed bypass flow of 6 gallon per minute, while diverting up to 95% of the natural flow in Waterfall Gulch, will comply with FGC §5937. The flow in Waterfall Gulch is critical for protecting fish and wildlife resources. Preserving sufficient flows in Waterfall Gulch will protect instream habitat, thereby protecting fish and other native aquatic life. The existing dam and diversion on Waterfall Gulch create migration barriers for aquatic vertebrate and benthic macroinvertebrate passage in the stream (FGC §5901). The dam does not have sufficient bypass flows to maintain fish in good condition below it (FGC §5937).
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is in concurrence with CDFW’s concerns over public trust impacts that will result from Petition approval. On August 15, 2014, NMFS wrote the following concerning the Petition: "The continuation of water diversions from Waterfall Gulch, in the absence of adequate flow bypass conditions, may cause adverse impacts to listed salmonids in Hare Creek by: (a) reducing the amount and quality of rearing habitat downstream; (b) reducing the amount and quality of spawning habitat downstream; and (c) reducing upstream and downstream passage opportunities for adults, juveniles, and smolts”. While NMFS protest was not accepted by the Division, this does not lessen the concern over significant impacts to public trust resources from the Project.
Protest Terms and Objections
CDFW has reviewed the MND, draft license, and PTRC. CDFW has found that its original protest dismissal terms have not been fully addressed. The proposed bypass flows are not adequate to protect public trust resources and are not substantiated by any supporting evidence. The approval of the Petition will allow the Project to divert up to the maximum allowable amount of water under the license. The amount of water that will be diverted if the Petition is approved will not meet FGC requirements to protect public trust resources. Thus, the remaining protest terms are as follows:
CDFW has found significant impacts from the current water diversion rates by the City. The Petition has the potential to increase use over recently reported use, which may impact public trust resources above the current level of impact.
CDFW recommends the City be required to bypass all flow during low-flow periods to meet FGC §§5901 and 5937 and to protect downstream fish and wildlife resources.
To determine the appropriate bypass flows to meet FGC §§5901 and 5937, CDFW recommends the City notify pursuant to FGC §1602 for its diversion or that the draft license incorporate a bypass flow that meets CCR §782. 3. For the protection of western pond turtle and northern red-legged frog in the proposed reservoir, CDFW recommends the license for the permit include the following terms: a. not stock fish in the reservoir; and b. provide basking sites for western pond turtles in the reservoir.
In their February 17, 2015, letter responding to CDFWs protest, the City contends that CDFW’s protest should be rejected on the grounds the protest relates exclusively to the underlying existing water right. The City states that the proposed Petition will not change the amount of water that can be diverted under the license and, consequently, has no adverse impact on the environment or the public trust. However, the City never indicates how this conclusion was substantiated. Additionally, the City concludes that CDFWs comments in regards to compliance with FGC §§5901 and 5937 relates solely to the underlying water right, is not a valid grounds for protest, and the Petition does not propose to undertake any action prohibited by FGC. CDFW is unaware of any provisions in Water Code exempting this license from complying with other laws and regulations. The Division’s PTRC appears to agree with the City’s reasoning by excluding any analysis of impacts to public trust resources caused by the City’s Waterfall Gulch diversion and bypass, which will be exacerbated by diversions of additional amounts of water up to the licensed amount. License 1271 contains this term:
“The continuing authority of the board may be exercised by imposing further limitations on the diversion and use of water by the licensee in order to protect public trust uses.”
The Division has an opportunity to address impacts to public trust resources caused by the City’s current diversion and those that will be intensified due to the increased volume of water that will be removed from the system. Under its public trust oversight, requirements of the license, case law, and Water Code, CDFW requests that the Division address the above impacts to public trust resources.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide Statements of Fact to support the protest dismissal terms and objection filed by CDFW. If you have any questions or comments regarding this matter, please contact Senior Environmental Scientist Specialist Jane Arnold at 619 Second Street, Eureka, California 95501 or telephone (707) 441-5671.
* * *
FORT BRAGG TALKS BACK TO FISH AND WILDLIFE....’
November 6, 2015 (issued prior to the above Nov. 15 Fish & Wildlife Memo)
To: Mr. Curt Babcock
Habitat Conservation Program Manager
Department of Fish and Wildlife
State of California – Natural Resources Agency
Region 1 – Northern
601 Locust Street
Redding, CA 96001
Subject: Permitting City of Fort Bragg Water Diversions
Dear Mr. Babcock,
This letter responds to your October 28, 2015 letter to the Fort Bragg City Council. The City of Fort Bragg is well aware of the ongoing drought, and in particular the drastic measures the City has implemented to address its effects. By this letter we wish to address some of the allegations in your letter, and provide you with the City’s plans for moving forward in cooperation with the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).
Ongoing Water Diversions
Your letter’s assertion that the City’s diversions are impacting fish and wildlife resources in the Noyo River and Waterfall and Newman gulches during low-flow periods is unsupported. The City diverts water at these three locations subject to all terms and conditions of its water right permits, and historically in compliance with all provisions of the law. I also note that the August 14, 2014 protest from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service that you quote was not accepted by the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Rights.
Prior Requests to Comply with Fish and Game Code
As your letter notes, over the past four years CDFW has requested that the City enter into a Streambed Alteration Agreement (LSAA) pursuant to FGC section 1602. What your letter does not reveal, however, is that all of CDFW’s requests were prior to June of 2015, and until then CDFW had no authority to require the City to obtain a LSAA for ongoing water diversion from the Noyo River, Waterfall Gulch and Newman Gulch. Prior to an appellate court ruling in June of this year, the prevailing interpretation was that section 1602 did not require notification for the act of diverting water pursuant to a valid water right where there is no alteration to the bed, bank, or stream. Since we became aware of the appellate court ruling concluding that section 1602 notification was required to substantially divert water from a watercourse, the City has planned to submit notification to CDFW.
Installation of Bladder Dam on Noyo River
We thank CDFW for its cooperation with the City’s emergency efforts in the Noyo River during this fall’s local drought emergency. Should the City plan to install the bladder dam in 2016, we will of course obtain a standard LSAA with CDFW. In the future, if the City faces an emergency of the magnitude of the fall of 2015, it will undertake required efforts to address the emergency, and comply with the law and provide emergency notification.
Summers Lane Reservoir
The CDFW protest to the City’s petition for change to amend its water right license to allow storage at Summers Lane Reservoir is not well-founded. As set forth in the October 30, 2015 letter from the Division of Water Rights to CDFW, the Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration prepared for the project pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act concluded that the project will have a less than significant effect on the environment, and a Public Trust Resources Assessment prepared for the project concluded that approval of the Petition, with terms and conditions, will not result in adverse impacts to public trust resources.
CDFW appears to conflate the requirement for a LSAA for the City’s underlying diversion at Waterfall Gulch with the City’s petition for change. The petition will add storage to the City’s existing water right, and will not alter the method, manner, or quantity of lawful diversions currently made by the City under its water right license at that location.
The City has contacted Angela Liebenberg to schedule a kick-off meeting to discuss the process for entering into a LSAA under FGC section 1602 for ongoing and future water diversion from the three stream diversions. We look forward to working cooperatively with CDFW.
TEMPORARY LOCKDOWN OF LOWER LAKE HIGH SCHOOL TODAY
The following press release was issued by the Lake County Sheriff's Department @ 9:33 am:
"The Lower Lake High School was temporarily locked down this morning after a student was reported to be in possession of a firearm. On December 17, at approximately 8:25 am, deputies responded to a report of a student who was reported to be in possession of a firearm at the Carle High School. Personnel from the Clearlake Police Department also responded to the area. All schools in the immediate area were placed on lockdown as law enforcement searched the area for the area. The student was located and was found to be in possession of a replica firearm. At approximately 9:10 am the lockdown was lifted. The student was arrested by the Clearlake Police Department and transported to Lake County Probation."
CATCH OF THE DAY, December 17, 2015
MICHAEL DONAHE, Ukiah. Drunk in public, probation revocation. (Frequent flyer.)
MIGUEL LOPEZ, Ukiah. Vehicle theft, false ID.
ARACELI MARTINEZ, Fort Bragg. Grand theft.
JOHN MURPHY, Warrenton, Virginia/Fort Bragg. Drunk in public.
KIRK RICHARDSON, Ukiah. Possession of meth for sale.
JESSE RODGERS, Ukiah. Paraphernalia, parole violation.
JESSE SCHMIDT, Ukiah. Domestic assault, false imprisonment.
KENDALL TRIMBLE, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
CRYSTAL WILLIAMS, Redwood Valley. Contempt of court.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Any declaration of war should include the requirement that Senators and Representatives send their sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, into combat roles, not desk jobs, and they should be sent first. Then they can start sending other people’s children into the maw of the war machine.
WORK ETHIC SCHOLARSHIPS
I run a modest foundation that supports alternatives to college, and my role is to shine a light on the many thousands of good jobs currently available that don’t require a four-year degree. Along the way, I raise money for our Work Ethic Scholarship Program, and try to keep the conversation lively. Specifically, I try to highlight the unintended consequences of promoting one form of education at the expense of all the others. It’s a job I take somewhat personally.
Back in 1980, my high-school guidance counselor told me the local community college was “beneath my potential.” Mr. Dunbar wanted me to apply at James Madison or Penn State. He said a two-year school would put me on the wrong path, and lead to a life of “wrench-turning.” He then pointed to this poster, part of the “Push for College” campaign in the late seventies, hanging on his office wall. “Which one of these guys do you want to be, Mike?” I still remember the caption on the poster - “Work Smart, Not Hard.”
My decision was easy. Even with my parents help, there was no way I could afford a four-year school. I didn’t qualify for any kind of scholarship, and there was no outside financial aid. But even if there had been, I was not a good candidate for a loan. I was just 18, for crying out loud. I didn’t know my ass from a hot rock, much less what I wanted to major in. So, I stuck to my plan. I spent the next two years at Essex Community College. There, I took dozens of unrelated courses, and started to get a sense of what I wanted to do. (At $26 a credit, I could afford to be wrong.)
Eventually, I earned an AA degree. A few years later, when I had saved some money, I transferred my credits to Towson State, and with my parents help, got a BA in Communications. Total cost for all of it? Less than $10,000. Point is, I was able to start working in my chosen field at 23, free from the crushing weight of a student loan.
Today, that would be impossible. Since I graduated, the cost of college has increased 1,120%. Nothing so important has ever gotten so expensive so quickly - food, medicine, even real-estate...the rise of tuition trumps them all, outpacing the consumer price index by over 400%. The question is why? Why has the cost of college risen faster than anything else?
Obviously, I’m not an economist. In fact, as Lars indicated, I may well be a moron. But if I wanted to drive the cost of college through the roof, I would first encourage employers to make a college degree a condition of employment. Then, I’d tell every high school kid their futures depended on getting a diploma. Then, I’d make sure that pop culture portrayed all non-college careers as second-class occupations. Finally, I’d make available an unlimited pile of money, and encourage those same kids to borrow whatever they needed to pay for that degree.
From what I can tell, that’s precisely what we’ve done. We’ve given colleges and universities free rein to charge whatever they want. And so they have.
Now, the chickens have come to roost. Students hold 1.3 trillion in debt, and many of the indebted are unable to find work in their chosen field. Meanwhile, thousands of jobs currently exist that no one is trained for or excited about. Vocational education has pretty much vanished from high schools, and the skills gap continues to widen. And really, why would we expect otherwise? These are the same jobs we’ve been marginalizing for years. Plumbers, carpenters, welders, and electricians are consistently portrayed as something subordinate to those vocations that require a four year degree. That image from Mr. Dunbar’s wall is alive and well in the minds of many parents, anxious to make sure their kids “live up to their potential.”
Anyway, that’s why my knee jerked when I saw Bernie’s tweet. It struck me as just one more bromide in favor of more borrowing and more spending on an educational system that needs a total teardown.
Now, regarding “free college for all." Again, I’m not an expert, but I don’t see how giving something away drives down it’s real cost. Are the professors and administrators going to lower their salaries? Are the colleges going to be forced to run more efficiently? I have no idea, but from what I’ve seen of the species, I believe most people do better when they have at least some skin in the game. And I have no reason to assume that making college free will create better students.
Consider health clubs. Most people agree that physical fitness is really important to living a productive life. That’s why society encourages people to exercise and eat right. But we don’t subsidize gym memberships, because we know that simply belonging to a gym won’t make you healthy. You have to do the work. Besides, they’re lots of other ways to stay physically fit that don’t require an expensive gym membership. Mental fitness is no different.
Today, the entire wealth of accumulated knowledge has been democratized. Every known fact can be accessed from a smartphone, and they’re more free courses on You Tube than a curious student could watch in four years of round the clock viewing. Apprenticeship programs and training programs and on-the-job training opportunities abound, but most are ignored, because we’ve convinced ourselves that the path to college is the best path for the most people, cost be damned. And too many employers will look right past a perfect candidate, if they lack a diploma. It's gotta change.
At mikeroweWORKS, we don’t offer scholarships to four-year schools, because frankly, I don’t care to subsidize football stadiums and Student Unions and Fraternity Houses. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) We offer Work-Ethic scholarships to people who want to learn a skill that’s in demand. But we don’t just give money away because “education is important.” We do it because we want to encourage certain qualities not present in every individual. Attitude, ambition, work ethic. Frankly, I wish the government would do that too.
Finally, let me say something to those who are surprised and disappointed to learn that I’m not in “Bernie’s Camp.” Truth is, Bernie and I want the exact same thing - more people with jobs, more people getting an affordable education, and fewer criminals. Reasonable citizens will disagree as to the best way to get there, but there’s no denying our system is broken and in desperate need of fixing. And though I don’t think Bernie’s approach is the right solution, I admire him for trying, and I respect his service to our country.
--Mike Rowe, television host of Dirty Jobs
SALMON COUNTED AT CENTRAL VALLEY HATCHERIES ARE BELOW LAST YEAR'S NUMBERS
by Dan Bacher
Preliminary figures from Central Valley fish hatcheries reveal that the numbers of salmon that have returned to Sacramento River tributaries to date are below the large numbers projected by the federal government earlier this year.
National Marine Fisheries Service abundance forecasts released in February, developed in modeling based on the 2014 returns of salmon to the rivers, indicated there would be approximately 652,000 adult Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon and 423,800 adults from the Klamath River fall run in the ocean this year. That would be a total of 1,075,800 salmon.
However, the numbers of salmon that have been counted this fall dovetail with the mediocre commercial and recreational fishing reported on the California coast this year.
In the coming two months, state and federal government fishery managers will be tallying up the data on spawning escapement in the Central Valley rivers and hatcheries to be used in crafting the 2016 ocean and river seasons. Note that the numbers of jacks and jills (two year old fish), which the fishery managers largely base their abundance on, are larger than those counted last year on the Feather River and Nimbus facilities.
The numbers of fish counted at Coleman National Fish Hatchery on Battle Creek weren't available at this time, but the numbers of fish trapped at the Feather River, Nimbus and Mokelumne River hatcheries were. I will report additional data on hatchery counts and fish carcass surveys as soon as I receive it.
The Feather River Fish Hatchery staff has finished spawning fall-run Chinook salmon for this season and hasn’t started spawning steelhead yet.
The facility has trapped approximately 16,349 adult salmon and 7,763 jacks and jills, a total of 24,112 fish this season. That compares to 24,893 adults and 6,620 jacks, a total of 31,513 fish, in 2014. That puts the run 7401 fish below last season.
The hatchery has taken enough eyed eggs, 11-1/2 million, to produce their goal of 8 million smolts, according to Anna Kastener, hatchery manager.
“The fish were really healthy, although they appeared to be smaller than normal. We saw a lot of jacks and jills this season,” she observed.
She said the hatchery planted 110,000 chinook salmon in Lake Oroville on November 13 to sustain the landlocked king fishery. The fish were 4 to the pound – about 8 to 10 inches apiece.
“We’ve seen hardly any steelhead – 4 in the trap today–at the hatchery to date,” she noted.
Fall-run Chinook salmon continue to move into the Nimbus Fishery on the American River, along with a few winter steelhead. The hatchery is currently spawning fall-run Chinooks.
The hatchery has trapped a total of 7831 salmon, including 2023 jacks and jills, this year to date. That compares to 8343 salmon, including 1,295 jacks and jills, last season to date.
The hatchery should have no problem meeting its goal of spawning enough eggs to produce 4 million smolts next year, according to Gary Novak at Nimbus Fish Hatchery.
He noted that they have already sent 2 million eggs to the Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery, in addition to the eggs they have on hand at Nimbus, as insurance against any unforeseen disaster.
Novak estimated that 10 steelhead have followed the salmon into the hatchery. “Last year we had seen only 3 steelhead to date,” he noted
The hatchery plans to release about 291,000 steelhead yearlings into the river system next year, according to Novak.
Water temperatures continue to be very cold at the facility, 51 degrees at press time. The Bureau of Reclamation continues to release only 500 cfs into the American River.
The Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery in Clements has trapped a total of 6,199 fall-run Chinook salmon, including 3,822 adults and 2377 jacks and jills, according to the latest available data. The numbers for last year to date weren’t available at press time. The Mokelumne is a tributary of the San Joaquin River.
“We got all of the eggs we need for our production goal this year,” said Eric Barrow, office technician at the hatchery. “We’ve taken a total of 6 million eggs so far — and fresh fish keep coming into the hatchery. It’s a late run this year.”
The numbers of salmon counted in the river over Woodbridge Dam in Lodi, as of December 8, are 10,857 fish. That compares to around 12,000 fish last year at the same time.
The hatchery has trapped 37 steelhead total to date, including 24 adults and 13 half pounders.
Again, I will update you on reports from Coleman and other fish hatcheries, as well as the carcass counts on the Sacramento River and tributaries, as the data comes in.
Fishing groups, Indian Tribes, environmentalists and public trust advocates have criticized the Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Water Resources for mismanaging Trinity, Shasta, Oroville and Folsom reservoirs during the drought. Over the past three years, the federal and state water agencies have drained the reservoirs to record low levels to divert water to corporate agribusiness, Southern California water agencies and oil companies conducting fracking and other extreme oil extraction methods.
The result is that over 95 percent of the winter-run Chinook salmon juveniles have perished over the past two years in lethally warm water conditions. Fish advocates point out that the spring and fall runs of salmon have also suffered greatly due to mismanagement by the state and federal water agencies.
For more information, go to: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/2/27/1367403/-Fish-agencies-anglers-are-optimistic-about-2015-ocean-salmon-season