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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 Posted
National Monument Issues

A CRS Report to Congress dated February 4, 2005.

Download File National Monument 04/14/2013
No Net Loss from Private Ownership

Resolution passed by the Board of Supervisors on June 11, 2013

Download File Land Use 07/16/2013
NRST Report - Grazing

National Riparian Service Team report on grazing issues in Klamath National Forest dated July 9, 2013

Download File Grazing 07/23/2013
Preliminary Draft for a State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Materials to Waters of the State

At their September 05, 2017, meeting, the Board of Supervisors approved a letter to be submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board regarding the Preliminary Draft for a State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Materials to Waters of the State. As outlined in the Preliminary Draft, the proposed procedures would for the first time include a statewide wetland definition that would consider an area without any vegetation as a “wetland.”  This proposed definition also differs from the federal definition of “wetlands” which has been outlined as a concern by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The proposed definition of “waters of the States” is much broader than definitions outlining “waters of the United States” and essentially would give the State jurisdiction over almost any watered area or waterway throughout the State of California.

Comments on the proposed procedures and rule making are due noon on September 18. Please refer to the link below to read the draft procedures and submit comments.

http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/cwa401/wrapp.shtml

 

Download File Water 09/07/2017
Reclamation to Release Water Below Iron Gate Dam - February 10 through February 13, 2017

Reclamation to Release Water Below Iron Gate Dam to Address Fish Health Concerns in Klamath River

Download File Water 02/10/2017
Renewal of Conditional Waivers for the Shasta and Scott Rivers

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board announces the opportunity to comment on the Renewal of the Conditional Waivers of Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges Related to Specific Land Management Activities in the Shasta and Scott River Watersheds.

The Water Board will also be holding a public workshop on the drafts waivers on June 14, 2017, from 9:30am - 12:00pm at the Holiday Inn Express, 707 Montague Road, Yreka CA

More information can be found at the following location:http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/…/170523_EWS_dp_WaiverWorksho…

Download File Water 06/09/2017
Resolution 09-147

Resolution of the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors Regarding National Monument Proposals in Siskiyou County

Download File National Monument 04/14/2010
Resolution 10-76

Resolution of the Siskyou County Board of Supervisors Regarding the Expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and the Creation of the Siskiyou Crest National Monument in Siskiyou County

Download File National Monument 04/13/2010
RS 2477 Resolution

Adopted by Board of Supervisors on September 4, 1994

Download File Federal Lands 07/15/2013
Scott Valley Ground Water Management Plan

Developed by the Scott Valley Groundwater Advisory Committee

Download File Irrigation-Ground Water 04/22/2013

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