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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, Siskyou 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 Countyis 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 Preperation 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 ont 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. 

 

CAL FIRE Home Page: http://www.fire.ca.gov/

Klamath National Forest: Passes and Permits - http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/klamath/passes-permits

Projects - http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/klamath/landmanagement/projects

Modoc National Forest: Passes and Permits - http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/modoc/passes-permits

Projects - http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/modoc/landmanagement/projects

Shasta Trinity National Forest: Passes and Permits - http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/stnf/passes-permits

Projects - http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/stnf/landmanagement/planning

California Department of Fish and Wildlife - Northern Region: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regions/1

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Yreka Field Office: https://www.fws.gov/yreka/

Elizabeth Nielsen

Phone:  530-842-8012

Email: enielsen@co.siskiyou.ca.us

Elizabeth graduated from California State University Chico, with a BS in Agricultural Business and a minor in Animal Science. She spent five years with the Bureau of Reclamation, Klamath Basin Area Office as a Natural Resource Policy Specialist. She then spent a year and three months with the Klamath National Forest before accepting the Natural Resources position with the County of Siskiyou. Elizabeth and her husband run their own cattle operation in the Shasta Valley, and her husband also works on his family's ranch in the Shasta Valley as a fifth generation cattleman.

Resource Center

Document Notes File Issue Link Posted
Forest Accountablity Project-Version 2

A Vision for Restoring the Health of Our National Forests and Local Communities

Download File Forestry 04/22/2013
Horse Creek Community Protection and Forest Restoration Project

The Klamath National Forest has announced the publication and opportunity to comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Horse Creek Community Protection and Forest Restoration Project. The Project intends to reduce fuels, reduce safety hazards, and to restore previously stocked units that were burned in the 2016 Gap Fire. Comments on the Project are due on June 13, 2017.  For associated documents and to comment on the Project, please visit the following webpage: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50586

Download File Federal Lands 05/05/2017
Interior Department Releases List of Monuments Under Review, Announces First-Ever Formal Public Comment Period for Antiquities Act Monuments Download File National Monument 05/11/2017
Klamath Dams

Please refer to "Key Natural Resource Issues" at the following Siskiyou County Natural Resources link for detailed information on Klamath Dams issues: https://www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/page/natural-resources

 

Download File Dams 02/02/2017
Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement - As Amended on April 06, 2016 Download File Dams 06/30/2016
Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement Download File Dams 07/01/2016
Lower Klamath Late Summer Flow Augmentation

Letter to Bureau of Reclamation--County and FCD Comment to draft EA for 2012 Lower Klamath Late Summer Flow Augmentation

Download File Water 07/24/2012
March 21, 2017 - Increased Flows at Link River Dam Download File Water 03/22/2017
Motorized Travel Mgmt-Appeal Attachments

Key Attachments accompanying appeals on Motorized Travel Management Decisions for both forests.

Download File Motorized Travel Mgmt/OHV 07/15/2013
National Monument Designations under Antiquities Act

Prospective Conservation Designations

Download File National Monument 04/14/2010

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