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Natural Resources

Natural resources are the life blood of Siskiyou County. Economically, culturally and simply for the joy our beautiful County gives to our daily lives, no one who lives in or visits Siskiyou County is without concern for our environment. Usually, this concern is also associated with deep seated passions and strongly held opinions.

To respond to this challenge, Siskiyou County is one of few counties in the state with staff specifically assigned to natural resource policy. From commercial activity associated with agriculture, forestry, mining, and power generation to recreational activities such as camping, fishing, hunting and sight-seeing, all involve matters of policy.

The County expends considerable effort keeping track of all the information that pertains to natural resource policy and regulation. As can easily be imagined, there is a mountain of data for each issue. It is impossible to post all but the most timely and essential information. Usually, this involves current public notices on key issues, status of current hot topic issues, and key information pertinent to current major County policy-related efforts. Where it can be of significant and substantive help, links or contact information are also provided in the various subsections of this page.

Please Note: Natural resource issues often have a long history associated with them. They are complex and often controversial. Siskiyou County has extensive experience and policy positions associated with our natural resources. The information on this page is intended to help the public understand and respond to these important County issues.

Key Natural Resource Issues

National Forests

There are five National Forests within Siskiyou County that total approximately 60% of the County’s landbase. In order of size within the County, these are the Klamath (largest), Shasta-Trinity, Modoc, Six Rivers, and Rogue-Siskiyou. The websites for these National Forests are handy sources of information.  Here are links to all the National forests:

Klamath, Shasta-Trinity, Modoc SixRivers, Rogue-Siskiyou

Cascade Siskiyou National Monument Expansion

Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden asked the U.S. Department of the Interior to expand the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument border by 64,000 acres, which would result in total coverage of the Monument being 130,000 acres, 10,000 of which would be in Siskiyou County, north and northwest of Iron Gate Reservoir. The Monument was originally established in 2000 by President Clinton through Proclamation 7318. Below is a letter submitted to Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell from the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors regarding the proposed Expansion.

Update: On January 12, 2016, President Barack Obama officially expanded the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Map of the expansion

On February 14, 2017, the Board of Supervisors approved a letter to the Trump Administration outlining Siskiyou County's concerns on the expansion of the Monument, and requesting assistance in the manner.

Klamath Reclamation Project and Klamath Refuges

Portions of the Bureau of Reclamation Klamath Project are located within Siskiyou County.  Operations within the Klamath Project and the Klamath River affect Siskiyou County in many ways, including the proposed Dam Removal.  Additionally, portions of the Klamath Refuges are located within Siskiyou County. Below is a link to the Klamath Reclamation Project, the Klamath Refuges, and documents on the current status of Klamath Dam Removal.

http://www.usbr.gov/mp/kbao/

https://www.fws.gov/klamathbasinrefuges/

Press Release - Amended Klamath Dam Removal Agreements.pdf

Amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement.pdf

Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement.pdf

 

The County’s involvement in grazing policy almost exclusively involves grazing on public lands. The County is firmly in support of public lands grazing for two main reasons. Primarily, grazing is an essential management tool that has many ecological benefits. The cultural aspect is also important as the grazing allotments support family farms and ranches, some of which have been managed by the same family for over 100 years. The County Natural Resources Department oversees a Range Advisory Board, made up of ranchers in Siskiyou County, and frequently coordinates with the Supervisors, Siskiyou County Cattlemen's, and the County's UC Cooperative Extension Livestock Advisor. For more information on the County's policies regarding public lands grazing, please refer to the Grazing Policy as adopted by the Board of Supervisors on October 20, 2015.

 

 

In September 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation requiring that California's critical groundwater resources be sustainably managed by local agencies.  The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) established specific requirements for how certain groundwater basins were to be managed over the long-term. There are four groundwater basins in Siskiyou County that fall under the requirements of SGMA, and the County is currently developing a plan and working with stakeholders to carry out the requirements of SGMA. Please refer to the links below to learn more about SGMA, and the work being done in Siskiyou County.

PowerPoint outlining the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

Discussion Paper_Flood Control District to Serve as GSA

Link to the Department of Water Resources: http://www.water.ca.gov/groundwater/sgm/

SGMA Maps:

Siskiyou Overview Map

Shasta Valley Basin Map

Scott Valley Basin Map

Butte Valley Basin Map

September 2015 County update on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

 

 

On April 06, 2016, two new agreements were signed to replace the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, which both expired in December 2015.  The amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) and Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement outline plans to transfer ownership of the four Lower Klamath River dams to the newly formed non-profit, Klamath River Renewal Corporation and requests that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approve removal of these dams by 2020. These documents, along with required applications, were submitted to FERC in September 2016, and are still at the review process. The public can stay up to date on the progress by following this link: https://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp

As a result of the applications filed to FERC, the California Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) initiated a Notice of Preparation and Scoping Meetings for an Environmental Impact Report for the Lower Klamath Project License Surrender, with initial comments due February 01, 2017. There will be further developments from the Water Board, and more opportunities for the public to comment. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors provided a verbal and written statement at the Water Board's January 26th meeting in Yreka, and submitted detailed written comments to the Water Board.

Siskiyou County will continue to stay active in these issues, including requiring that the responsible agencies perform complete analysis of all consequences that would result from potential dam removal, and will continue to provide information and support alternatives to removal of the four Lower Klamath River dams. 

 

 

 

 

No Net Loss Private; No Net Increase Federal and State: This is a resolution passed by the Board of Supervisors dealing with land sales/exchanges and conservation easements involving or potentially involving the federal and/or state governments.

 

 

Though there are many mining operations in Siskiyou County (from gravel processing to hard rock to placer mining), current controversies primarily involve suction dredge mining. In 2009, the use of suction dredge mining was banned in California in accordance with Fish and Game Code section 5653.1, subdivision (b). Effective January 01, 2016, Senate Bill 637 amended the Fish and Game Code, providing an opportunity to lift the ban on suction dredge mining.  suction dredge mining was banned in California until the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) can develop a permitting program. In January and early February, the Water Board and staff from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife held workshops to gain public input on the possibility of lifting the suction dredge mining ban. Siskiyou County will be submitting comments by the February 28, 2017 deadline. To stay up to date on the progress, please visit the Fish and Wildlife webpage on suction dredge mining, and the Water Board website on suction dredge mining.

The Board of Supervisors submitted a letter to the Ryan Zinke, nominee for the Department of the Interior Secretary, on February 14, 2017, requesting his assistance regarding suction dredge mining, and providing a background on the Mining Act of 1872 and the ban in California.

The County supports the rights of miners to be able to access the value in their private property as well as their well-established rights under federal mining law. Please refer to the following documents regarding the County's involvement in these issues.

Suction Dredge Support

On October 7, 2014 the Board of Supervisors sent a request to the Appellate Judges in the Rhinehart case on suction dredging to publish their decision favorable to the rights of miners under the 1872 Mining Law. 

 

Resource Center

Document Notes File Issue Link Posted
AB 975 - Wild and Scenic Rivers

****Update**** The Bill was unable to obtain the 41 votes necessary to advance the legislation to the Senate, and AB 975 was defeated.

In February 2017, Assembly Member Laura Friedman introduced an Assembly Bill (AB 975) that would make amendments to the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. If passed and adopted, AB 975 will add additional river "values" to the law, making it much easier to designate Wild and Scenic river areas. Activities along these designated river sections would be limited, including imposing more restrictions on water rights holders and their water diversion activities, and restricting development of water projects to meet California's growing need for water. In addition, AB 975 would extend protection areas along designated rivers to include one-quarter of a mile on each side of a given river; which has the real potential of limiting private land activities and requiring that state agencies (like the Fish and Wildlife Service or Water Quality Control Boards) impose private land use restrictions on those properties along designated rivers.

For more information, please refer to the letter that the Siskiyou County Natural Resources Department submitted to Assembly Member Friedman and others on April 05, 2017, the attached opposition letter from a coalition of other groups and agencies throughout California, and AB 975 language: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billStatusClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180AB975

Download File Water 04/06/2017
Application to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to Transfer Title of Klamath Hydroelectric Project

Due to their large size, appendices to these documents can be located by visiting the following website and entering P-2082 under "Docket Number" http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/search/fercgensearch.asp

Download File Dams 10/05/2016
Application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for Surrender of License for J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1, Copco No. 2 and Iron Gate Dams

Due to their large size, appendices to these documents can be located by visiting the following website and entering P-2082 under "Docket Number" http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/search/fercgensearch.asp

Download File Dams 10/05/2016
Board Letter Suction Dredging

On October 7, 2014 the Board of Supervisors sent a letter requesting that Appellate Judges in the Rhinehart case publish their decision favorable to the rights of miners under 1872 Mining Law.  The decision has since been published and can now be used as a citation in court.

Download File Mining 11/03/2014
Cascade Siskiyou Monument Expansion

Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden asked the U.S. Department of the Interior to expand the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument border by 64,000 acres, which would result in total coverage of the Monument being 130,000 acres, 10,000 of which would be in Siskiyou County, north and northwest of Iron Gate Reservoir. The Monument was originally established in 2000 by President Clinton through Proclamation 7318. Below is a letter submitted to Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell from the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors regarding the proposed Expansion.

Update: On January 12, 2016, President Barack Obama officially expanded the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

Map of the expansion

Download File National Monument 11/09/2016
Coffee With the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Download File Water 03/08/2017
Comprehensive Land & Resource Management Plan

Historic document created by the Board of Supervisors on the administration of public lands within the County

Download File Land Use 03/03/2014
County Staff Report on the Groundwater Management Initiative/Measure H

The Groundwater Management Initiative failed to pass in the November 8th election.

Download File Water 10/14/2016
Draft Conservation Plan for Gray Wolf under the California Endangered Species Act

On October 18, 2014, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) listed the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) as Endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.  Currently, the CDFW  has developed a Draft Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves in California.

Draft Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves in California-Part 1.pdf

Draft Conservation Plan for the Gray Wolves in California-Part 2.pdf

 

Download File Wolves 07/01/2016
Explanation of RS 2477

Explanation of how it applies to Siskiyou County

Download File Federal Lands 09/30/2013

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