Consequences of Bureaucratic Decisions - Piping irrigation ditches harms people and fish
- By Ron
The only way we can stop the juggernaut of
oppressive bureaucracy is to fight it at every
step of the way. It can be done. And, it
Ken Sletten of Mazama and Keyport was
instrumental in stopping a taxpayer bailout of
a poorly conceived private investment plan
surrounding the Arrowleaf project in the upper
Methow Valley. His dogged determination in
presenting the "real" facts to
decision makers who historically had been
manipulated by profit motivated individuals
using "environmental junk science"
is just the type of political action we need
more of in Okanogan County.
Very few of us have the time or expertise to do what Ken did. However, I think most of us have enough time to write a letter, or send a form letter, or send an e-mail to our elected officials or other appropriate decision makers. Here's an example: OC3 is presently investigating just who are the decision makers in the proposed Central Washington University purchase of 1,671 acres of privately owned land two miles up stream along the Okanogan River. The decision is to be made next spring.
There will always be exceptions, but
basically, most people entrusted with making
decisions on our behalf try to do a good job.
But in order to do a good job, they need
accurate and verifiable facts from which they
can make these decisions. Our job is to ensure
the facts are "real" and that they
are based on current circumstances and reflect
a complete picture of the whole situation. The
folks making this decision need to know:
That Okanogan County is already more than 80
percent owned by some form of government and
any more government ownership is very
detrimental to the tax base.
That the county commissioners were not in
support of the project.
That there is no direct benefit to fish from
That the appraised value of the land is based
on conservation considerations not on market
And finally, the public should have had the
opportunity to be involved in the leading
evaluations preceding any determination of the
After we find the identity of the living,
breathing persons who are tasked with making
the decision to either go forward or stop this
purchase, you may be assured that we will
publish their names and addresses in this
Unfortunately, even with "facts"
from which an accurate decision could have
been made, the bureaucracy screws things up.
Take the case of tightlining the Wolf Creek Reclamation District ditch above Big and Little Twin Lakes near Winthrop. Over four miles of ditch was put in pipe. Then the lakes began to dry up and nearby wells went dry - adversely impacting ‘habitat’ for fish, wildlife, and people.
Now some hydrologists studying the Methow Valley say it's too soon to determine what is causing the lakes and wells to dry up. What a bunch of nonsense!
consequence of ground water recharge of the
Methow River, surrounding lakes and wells is
not exactly a new revelation. The recharge
should have been thoroughly evaluated and
primarily considered before spending a bunch
of money on pipe. Is there a familiar ring to
this? Could this situation be just like the
one in the north county where the pipe had to
be perforated to restore the benefits of
ground water recharge?
I think so.
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