[env-trinity] Siskiyou Daily News: Supervisors praise groundwater plan
tstokely at att.net
Wed Nov 14 08:49:48 PST 2012
By John Bowman
November 13. 2012 2:12PM
Supervisors praise groundwater plan
The Scott Valley Groundwater Advisory Committee’s (SVGWAC) new Voluntary Groundwater Management and Enhancement Plan for Scott Valley was met with enthusiasm and praise by the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 6.
PHOTO/ JOHN BOWMAN
The Scott Valley Groundwater Advisory Committee has drafted a Scott Valley Groundwater Management and Enhancement Plan in an effort to understand and properly manage the effects of groundwater on Scott River stream flows.
The Scott Valley Groundwater Advisory Committee’s (SVGWAC) new Voluntary Groundwater Management and Enhancement Plan for Scott Valley was met with enthusiasm and praise by the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors Nov. 6 as the board reviewed the plan ahead of its release for public comment.
Scott Valley alfalfa producer and SVGWAC Chairman Tom Menne presented the plan to the board and answered questions from board members. He said the current version of the plan took “a little over a year” to complete.
“There wasn’t a lot to go off of,” Menne told the board. “It wasn’t like I could call up some other county and say ‘hey what do you guys have?”” He added that there were “some other things” to look at but described them as “tough to read,” saying he “didn’t understand it at all.”
Menne said the plan was the best the committee could come up with “as water users.” Several board members were less reserved in their judgement of the plan.
District 5 Supervisor Marcia Armstrong called the plan “outstanding,” and District 4 Supervisor Grace Bennett called it a “tremendous document” and said the input gathered to develop the document was “really very special.”
Craig Tucker, Klamath coordinator for the Karuk Tribe, said he was “encouraged and enthusiastic” about the document but added some criticisms as well. “What is presented as a plan, to me, looks more like a commitment to continue to do studies and analysis.”
Tucker said he believed the plan lacked hard data and quantitative goals and objectives. He said he was also disappointed that the Karuk Tribe’s Scott Valley groundwater study was not cited in the SVGWAC’s document.
“I know there is distaste from some that we took the initiative to complete that report,” Tucker said, “but it’s real data and it exists and it deserves to be evaluated and integrated.”
Conrad Fisher from Klamath Riverkeeper suggested that the county might be “giving away more water than exists” and should consider limiting or discontinuing well drilling permits in Scott Valley.
Fisher also suggested that groups advocating for fisheries should be included in the groundwater advisory committee.
Section 3 of the plan, titled “Future Management and Enhancement Approaches,” outlines goals and objectives of the plan. Among the goals are efforts to identify and explore possible ways to increase groundwater supply and store groundwater, as well as plans to assess the effects of different methods of irrigation and altered irrigation schedules on groundwater levels. The plan also proposes studying the effect of upland forest management on groundwater levels and suggests working with landowners to increase the efficiency of irrigation methods.
The plan does not propose any policies or regulations to govern groundwater usage or its impacts on stream flow. It is intended to guide a voluntary system of groundwater management.
The board voted unanimously to accept the recommendations of the committee for the groundwater management and enhancement plan with an amendment to its definition of groundwater rights.
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