County Citizens Coalition
for Multiple Use Resources and Constitutional Government
Contents - Vol VIII, Issue
6 June 2002
of Freedom by Ron Perrow
New River: Land Grab
Headlines and Quotes
to Halt Irrigators
Listed Fish Kills
Price of Salmon
River Land Grab
Linchpin of Freedom -
by Ron Perrow
Our founding fathers were
absolutely convinced that an individual’s right to keep
and bear arms was essential to a lasting republic. Remember the saying
“freedom exists when the government fears the citizens. Freedom is
lost when the citizens fear the government.” Are we on the path to
fearing our government? I think so. I also think that the most important
right in our Bill of Rights is our right to keep and bear arms. It's the
right which protects all the other rights.
The second amendment says, "A well regulated Militia, being
necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to
keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
administrations in the past have assaulted the second amendment to the
Constitution with interpretations that our second amendment right dealt
with organized militias, not individuals. What a bunch of poppycock.
First of all, every amendment in the Bill of Rights limits the
government, not individuals. Secondly, other writings and letters by the
founding fathers expressed a concern over the expansion of control by
the government and in doing so, recognized the importance of an
individual's right to keep and bear arms. If this liberal philosophy is
carried to a bureaucratic conclusion, you can bet your grandmother's
bippy that you will loose your right to "keep and bear arms."
here is some good news. Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson went before
the Supreme Court recently and said in briefs filed with the court,
"The current position of the United States is that the Second
Amendment more broadly protects the rights of individuals, including
persons who are not members of any state militia or engaged in active
military service or training, to possess and bear their own
is very significant that Olson defined the "current position"
of the federal government. His interpretation is just that, an
interpretation. We must realize that our ongoing fight for freedom will
never be over. As our society has become more affluent it has also
become more liberal. The government has grown well past the size needed
to function as the founding fathers envisioned.
The growth of government has gone hand in hand with a loss of
individual freedoms. In other words, as government has become bigger our
individual rights have become smaller.
recently instituted a ban on firearms. Guess what? The incidence of
armed robbery went up over 40 percent. The adage, "When guns are
outlawed only outlaws will have guns" is certainly applicable.
No one would argue that there is a misuse of firearms in our
country. The argument comes when decision makers try to confiscate
firearms because of the misuse. The National Riflemen Association cites
example after example of the armed citizen thwarting a criminal
activity. I believe the whole gun control issue boils down to a simple
truism: We have to consider the misuses of firearms as part of the price
we pay for freedom. It's not that we are going to put up with the
misuses, as we certainly will try to eliminate them.
But we must recognize the enormous importance our ability to keep
and bear arms has on our freedom. In the United States, they are
New River: Same Old Land Grab
Hinton, West Virginia, is a small rural town of about 5,000
people. Most residents have lived their entire lives there; many live in
houses built by long-departed relatives.
They don’t care to live anywhere else.
Hinton is paradise.
Ann Roach is a new comer. She and husband Bruce, native Ohioans,
discovered Hinton by train journeying through the countryside to view
the Fall foliage in the valley of the New River Gorge. They were so
taken by the beauty of the area that only a few weeks later they
toured the area then turned down a small, one lane, dangerous road along
the New River. It had pot holes "big enough to ruin heavy
equipment," high banks where cars couldn’t pass safely and where
heavy rain and snow caused mud slides and left fallen trees in the road.
One week later, Ann and Bruce were the proud owners of a small,
one bedroom cabin located between the neglected road and the river.
The previous owner told them there were plans to fix the road and
showed them govt documents which assured little impact on private
property. The only real question was when; residents had been waiting
over ten years for those road repairs.
So Ann and Bruce became happy homeowners, having fully reviewed
the documented plans for the New River Parkway.
There was one problem with the cabin - not enough room for eight
grand children’s regular visits.
So Ann and Bruce designed new house plans. To make sure the road
would not affect their house, Bruce approached the planning coordinator
of the New River Parkway and was told, "go ahead and build
it." They called their
new home "Riversong." Prominently displayed at the back
entrance of the new house is Ann Roach’s land patent, #2717. Dated
1841, it was issued originally to Adam Bragg. The official government
document assured Bragg that this land would be his, his heirs and his
On Sept 9, 1999, residents were called to a meeting by the W-VA
Dept of Transportation. "This is it," they thought.
"We’re finally going to get those road repairs."
As residents arrived, they were surprised to see an armed guard
at the door. Inside, because of inadequate seating (36 chairs for 150
people), residents, including the elderly, had to line up behind tables.
In the back of the room were large display boards of photographs
showing property sites along the river.
In several cases there were two photos showing the same site,
with one digitally enhanced to remove homes to show what the property
would look like without homes.
The residents began to understand that filling potholes wasn’t
on the agenda. The transportation dept’s agents announced the New
River ‘Scenic’ Parkway, passed out brochures and did some fast
talking about economic revitalization through tourism. They spoke of
"view sheds" and "conservation easements."
Earlier meetings had discussed a parkway - always with assurances
to protect private property. Not
this time. Govt officials
explained that W-VA Dept of Transportation had signed a "Memorandum
of Understanding" with the National Park Service (NPS), Federal
Highway Administration, and New River Parkway Commission.
The Parkway would not be just an improved road, but a
"scenic parkway." Federal
funds would be used to establish a pristine "view shed" along
the river. The govt, through NPS, would now determine how the land along
the river would be used. Under the “Memorandum” these govt entities
reached agreement that the "Preferred Alternative" for the
Parkway, "will focus on a range of land acquisition options for
resource protection along the proposed New River Parkway…"
The "brochure" handed out at the door, had these
opening words: "Welcome! The purpose of this brochure is to
introduce you to this meeting and provide information on the land
acquisition/resource protection options being considered…"
Clearly, the entire plan for the New River ‘Scenic’ Parkway
had been decided behind closed doors.
No residents had been asked for their opinions or input.
Earlier pleas by residents for "no loss of private
property" were ignored. The
govt had simply decided to take the land and rearrange it to their
Residents learned that W-VA Highway Dept would take all of the
land from the road to the river and all the land of "equal scenic
value" from the road to the toe of the mountain.
The highway dept would then give the land to NPS to compensate
for any park lands affected by the Parkway.
Now the folks along New River understood why there was an armed
guard at the door.
As the devastating impact of the plan began to dawn on the
stunned residents, eighty-four year old widow, Mabel Flanagan, looked at
the display boards. There, she saw a photograph of her home and the
matching one with her home removed.
Shocked and distraught, Mabel grabbed her chest and had to be
The govt was taking her land. Did the govt care that she had
lived her entire adult life in that home? ... that she built it and
raised her family there before New River Road was more than a
one-car-tire path?... that Mable Flanagan was one of the people who made
the land so valuable that the govt now lusted to own it?
In a television interview a few days later, a tearful Mabel said
she just wanted to be allowed to "die in my home on the New
River." After that
meeting Mabel never left her home again except to visit her doctor.
She got her wish and died in her beloved river home [Aug-00].
Nat’l Park Service is now constructing a new visitor center to
serve as the "gateway" to the New River Parkway, located just
outside Beckley, W-VA, on the east side of the river.
The road will then cross the river on a yet-to-be-constructed
bridge and head down the west side, taking out all of the homes, farms,
and fishing camps in its path to form a "view shed" for the
The govt agents attempted to sell the parkway idea to Hinton
residents as revitalized economic growth through increased tourism, but
Hinton is on the east side of the river, completely bypassed. NPS
Superintendent Henry Law, arrogantly told Ann Roach they would "not
only get all of the private property along our road, they would take
every business along the Hinton by-pass."
So much for economic revitalization.
For Hinton, the New River Parkway means lost homes, lost revenue
and lost hope.
What do the scientific studies say to support eighty-five
families losing their homes? As scientific justification, state/federal
highway depts are using out-dated, unrelated impact studies created for
two different streams in another county.
Though the New River Parkway report quotes the studies of
biologists’ reporting on the impact of the roadway on aquatic life,
those biologists say their investigations were not designed to evaluate
the effect of a roadway.
After eighteen months of demanding the studies, a life-long
fisherman on the New River, Charles McGraw learned that there were no
biological studies for the project.
The biologist named in the report denied doing such a study.
He not only didn’t investigate the effect such a parkway would
have on the aquatic life of the New River, but said he had emphasized to
W-VA Dept of Highways that his study "was not relative to that
proposed road construction." After McGraw brought this to the
attention of the state/federal highway depts and New River Parkway
Authority, they admitted that making such false claims was a
“I’m forced to agree,” says Ann.
“Misrepresentation (lies), fraud, collusion and falsification
of an environmental impact study is certainly a mistake!”
The folks living on the New River are hard working, humble and
kind. Many are elderly.
They’ve been brought up to believe that govt should be
respected. Many simply
don’t understand what the new parkway intends to do to their way of
life. They use the natural
abundance of the area to supply much of their food. They are peaceful,
happy and content to stay on the river for the rest of their lives, just
as their fathers did. In
fact, many live in homes built by their ancestors.
One family has a land patent made out to their forefathers and
signed by James Monroe before he was president.
It says the land will be theirs forever – and it has been for
over 200 years – before the new breed of American govt decided that
everything good should belong to it.
Ann Roach and a few of her neighbors are trying to fight back.
They have organized "Sisters of the River." Together
they have written an endless stream of letters to elected officials
trying to find one who will stand with them to save their property.
They have researched every facet of the New River Parkway
Authority, finding a trail of lies, deceits and false environmental
impact statements. They
have gone to the media, written letters to the editor and set up a
website “www.newriverfriends.org” to sound the alarm.
Along the way, the "Sisters" have made some powerful
enemies of a govt behemoth that controls millions of dollars, local
politicians and the fate of their homes. And the govt is beginning to
fight back, hoping to silence their main critics.
In Feb, while it may not be related, one "Sister,"
Sheila Davis was arrested, fingerprinted and threatened with huge fines
and jail time. The charge:
a faulty septic tank. But
the septic tank isn’t just Sheila’s, but is co-owned by another
neighbor, who wasn’t arrested. In
addition, the health official who signed the arrest warrant is now
listed as a "reference" for the New River Parkway.
The truly frightening fact of the story of the New River land
grab isn’t just the power of the govt to take the land. It’s that
this story and the details surrounding it, from secret plans, to
arrogant govt agents, to falsified environmental reports, to uncaring
elected officials, are identical to so many other cases around the
nation. This time it’s
the New River, but it’s the same old land grab.
By Tom DeWeese; American Policy Center;
April 30, 2002; Exceprts. Full
text of this article can be found at. www.americanpolicy.org/prop/proparticles.htm
Okanogan River Aquisition Ahead
"This acquisition [Project #29035] dovetails nicely with The
South Okanogan-Similkameen Conservation Project in Canada that seeks
to maintain north-south connectivity, particularly along the river
"This Canadian effort is mirrored by a U.S. project called
the Similkameen-Okanogan Conservation Corridor Project.
WDFW expects to receive about $1million for this project, part of
which could be spent on the property for land stewardship efforts."
"This project is also expected to meet the acquisitions
objectives to be derived from the upcoming WDFW/ Nature Conservancy
eco-regional planning efforts."
Excerpts; Response to ISRP Review Comments; Project
#29035; Submitted by Stewardship Partners and Central Washington
University; March 15, 2002
to Okanogan River Acquisition
On January 28, 2002, I attended an Okanogan County Commissioners
meeting and heard a presentation by Cental Washington University (CWU)
on their plans to purchase 1,671 acres along the Okanogan River to build
a research station. CWU
calls this the McLaughlin Falls Field Station.
The presentation noted that the university has ‘teamed up’
with Stewardship Partners and has applied for funding from a variety of
sources including Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).
However, BPA FY 2003 Project #29035, Okanogan River Riparian
and Upland Fish and Wildlife Habitat Acquisition was not
specifically mentioned nor was information about this aspect of their
project provided to the commissioners or citizens in attendance.
Professor Richard Mack’s presentation centered around the
project’s educational and scientific merits; claims that the research
station would bring economic benefits to the county; that all land
and water currently in agricultural use would remain in agricultural use;
and that the university would provide payment for property taxes ‘in
perpetuity’ so the local tax base would not be damaged.
He concluded with a request that the commissioners support
CWU’s project with a letter of endorsement - even providing an
‘on-disk’ sample letter. After
some discussion, the commissioners opened the meeting to comments and
questions by the public.
COUNTY SUPPORT FALSELY
CLAIMED: I pointed out that the project ‘Narrative’ which has
been posted on Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Authority website
since about mid-Dec-01 states: “The
county commissioners are fully supportive of this project...”
The commissioners were not pleased to learn this.
‘Narrative’ claims that the project “would retire
spring-source water rights providing additional habitat enhancement
light of claims made during CWU’s presentation, I asked about the
spring water rights and the amount of water involved.
Mr. David Burger, Stewardship Partners, answered this question.
He stated that they were mistaken, that there are no spring
water rights on the property. (Tape
on file.) Apparently, that
‘mistake’ has not been corrected, as this mistaken claim has now
been repeated in the ISRP Preliminary Recommendation and Comments:
“The proposal would retire certain spring water rights that
come with the property.”
PROPERTY APPRAISED VALUE:
The ‘Narrative states: “A full appraisal of the
property has been conducted, under contract to Stewardship Partners.
The appraised conservation (public use) value for the properties
was [$7million] $7,000,000. The
sellers of the property have agreed to a 15% reduction in the sale price
to value, representing a 15% match [cost share].
Further, to address concerns raised by the loss of tax revenues,
the sellers have agreed to continue the payment of tax to Okanogan
County on behalf of the non-profit organization that would ultimately
hold deed to the property (presumed Central Washington University).”
This inflated appraised value and creative accounting leaves ratepayers
‘holding-the-bag’ - not only paying for the purchase of the
property, but also providing the sellers matching funds, and continuing
property taxes. Under
these terms, acquisition of this property would be a blatant misuse of
ECONOMY & TAXES:
The supposed economic benefits are questionable since the
research station would be self-contained, providing meals and housing
for staff and students. The
use of public money, either taxpayer or ratepayer funds, to ‘prop
up’ the local tax base is ‘unsustainable’ - not unlike the old
Additionally, inflated ‘public use’ appraisals further skew
local property values and property tax assessments.
Purchase price for any property acquisition should be based on
locally assessed property values and represent realistic fair market
recurring point of opposition to this project is that Okanogan County
land-base is already 80% government-owned.
The ‘cumulative impacts’ - social, economic, environmental -
of government ownership should be a major consideration for this and any
land acquisition proposal.
OPPOSE PROJECT #29035:
Okanogan Resource Council opposes any BPA ratepayer funding for
this project. [signed]
Bonnie Lawrence, Chairman
Resource Council; Letter to Northwest Power Planning Council and
Independent Science Review Panel, April 5, 2002
Headlines and Selected Quotes
State Effort to Help Protect Fish Leads to Dust-up Over Timber
Road Rules: A
revolt is simmering here over dirt-caked timber roads that curl like
rope through private forest lands.
Twice in the past month, nearly 1,000 cattlemen,
constitutionalists and timber owners jammed meeting halls to vent over
expensive new state mandates to fix private roads...
“It’s ludicrous,” said Joel Kretz, a rancher and forestland
owner with 1,300 acres near tiny Wauconda, in northeastern WA’s
Okanogan County. “Where
are people supposed to get the money?
Everybody’s already on their lips.” ... “It’s
outrageous,” said John Kiesecker, who owns 560 acres near Wauconda.
“If I have to do anything, I’d have to log to pay for it, and
I don’t even want to log.” Seattle
Times; April 22-02
Washington Forest Owners Object to Costly Road Rules:
Family Forest landowners in WA state are facing stingent new road
standards that many say are more costly than they can afford.
Although the road issue has boiled over in the Okanogan -
where a meeting April 11 attracted as many as 1,000 people - it
affects landowners throughout the state.
Joel Kretz, president of the Okanogan County Farm Bureau,
estimates that it could cost $5,500 per mile for road abandonment costs
or as much as $7,700 per mile to bring roads up to standards. Capital
Press; Apr 19, 2002
RMAP Rule Could Affect Property Rights:
A Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plan rule, requiring private
property owner to maintain forest roads, could have wide-reaching
effects on the property rights of landowners across the state.
The new RMAP rules state that any road that has been used for
forest practice or fire suppression since 1974 must be improved and
maintained to new standards within 15 years... Landowners must develop
detailed maps showing all water and identifying potential problems ...
If the roads cannot be brought up to standard, property owners
must make them impassible to four-wheel drive vehicles...
“This is a real problem for landowners because they need those
roads for maintenance of their own land,” said Bonnie Lawrence,
Okanogan County Citizens Coalition (OC3). Columbia Basin Herald;
April 4, 2002
Farm Bureau Calls for Grassroots RMAP Movement:
More than 1,000 people attended a second meeting, on April 11,
called by Okanogan County Farm Bureau, in opposition to the state’s
Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plan.... “I reject the whole premise
that private landowners are responsible for public resources on private
property,” said Kretz. “If
this is the way they’re going to do it, then they need to get the
public resources off private land.” Gazette-Tribune; April 18, 2002
Private Land Lock-up:
One moment they were responsible, law-abiding owners of
forestland in rural WA; the next, they were eco-criminals... What had
they done? Nothing - and that was the problem according to notification
letters sent by WA Dept of Natural Resources.
The New American; May-20-02
Ranchers, Loggers and Rural Property Owners Oppose Road Plans:
For some reason the legislature and the federal agencies have
targeted forest landowners under the Forest and Fish Bill with draconian
requirements... One might
ask - since the feds are one of the drivers of this law - why are not
the Federal lands, and the US Forest Service roads not the first
targets? (They can’t afford it!)... What about our state highways?
Governor Locke estimated it would take thirty-five years to bring
them up to snuff. The 39
state counties have some horrible culverts needing replacement -
where’s the pressure on them? If
a fish can’t negotiate streams under federal, state and county roads,
is there much sense in mandating the landowner that has the headwater
habitat to immediately fix his roads. The landowner, in particular the
small rural landowner, is the least able to resist the onslaught of
government, and the least able to pay, therefore to the bureaucrats, the
perfect sucker with which to experiment.
Thank God there are 1000 Okanogan landowners that are willing not
to besuckered in, that can speak their mind and be a catalyst for
Springboard; April/May 2002
Back to the Drawing Board:
Surely there must be acceptable ways for the state - and, by
extension, private landowners whose roads might affect state waters - to
meet minimum federal requirements without imposing such expensive
intrusive and onerous burdens on landowners... These rules merit a trip
back to the drawing board so they can be scrutinized by everyone
affected, and possibly scrapped, before they are imposed.
Omak Chronicle; Apr 10, 2002
Governor Gary Locke
PO Box 40002
Olympia WA 98504-0002
Commissioner, Doug Sutherland
Department of Natural
PO Box 47001
Olympia WA 98504-7001
WA Forest Practices
PO Box 47012
Olympia WA 98504-7012
WA Department of Fish
600 Capitol Way North
Olympia WA 98501-1091
PO Box 40482
Olympia WA 98504-0482
House of Representatives
PO Box 40600
Olympia WA o8504-0600
851 SW Sixth Ave,
Portland OR 97204
PO Box 3621
Portland OR 97208
Reg’l Director Bob
7600 Sand Point Way,
NE Bldg 1
Seattle WA 98115-0070
123 5th Ave North
Okanogan WA 98840
400 East 8th Ave
Ellensburg WA 98926
Seeks Order to Halt Irrigators
government will ask a judge to prevent the largest irrigation district
in the Methow Valley from diverting water to its canals. The motion for
an injunction was filed [April
12] in US District Court in Spokane.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) says the Methow
Valley Irrigation District (MVID) has not done enough to protect
endangered steelhead and salmon. Irrigators
have not replaced their gravity-fed system with groundwater wells and
pressurized pipes as they agreed to
do in June of 2000.
NMFS said that diverting the water "is reasonably certain to
cause the unlawful taking" of endangered steelhead and salmon.
It is the first attempt by federal agencies to shut down an
irrigation district in the Methow Valley that runs solely on private
Richard Price, Omak attorney for MVID, said he was shocked by the
filing because they have been negotiating with NMFS for a year to amend
the 2000 agreement, and are close to finalizing it.
"We believe this is an attempt by NMFS to force us to agree
to the final details of the plan."
Price said the old agreement does not require the district to
change to a pressurized pipe system if it was in compliance with the
Endangered Species Act. He
said the district has been in compliance for a couple of years.
"We've been operating for two years under this consent decree, and
they have no proof we've been killing fish." Price said, opening
the ditch will have no impact on endangered fish because their screens
are in compliance and low flows that could affect river levels needed by
fish won't come until July.
NMFS spokesman, Brian Gorman said it isn't about water levels in
the Twisp and Methow rivers, where the district diverts water to about
200 irrigators watering about 1,600 acres.
"It's not really about water, it's how you get the water
from the river to the farmers," he said. His agency believes the
district's new plan won't work.
District directors voted in July of 2000 to reject the
pressurized pipes because, they said, power costs would not make the
irrigation district economically viable.
Gorman said he's not sure exactly where negotiations are now, but
two weeks ago his agency believed that the district's fish screens
aren't good enough to avoid killing fish. "We're certainly looking
to resolve this without dragging the district into court," he said.
Irrigation district Director Mike Gage said the district couldn't
correct its screen problems without a new agreement in place.
"The agreements they put out were agreements we couldn't
agree to without giving up water rights and water use," Gage said.
"These agency people, both state and federal, are nothing but
liars, cheats, bullies and thieves."
Excerpts; Wenatchee World; April 17, 2002
Valley Irrigators Appeal Federal In-stream Flow Standards
OKANOGAN -- Methow Valley irrigators who have been without water
for three years are appealing a recent U.S. District Court decision that
allows federal agencies to impose in-stream flow requirements that
interfere with private water rights.
The Sacramento-based Pacific Legal Foundation has agreed to
handle the appeal, which was filed Monday with the Ninth Circuit Court
of Appeals. The Washington Agricultural Legal Foundation will cover
In March, District Judge Robert Whaley upheld a decision by the
U.S. Forest Service, in consultation with the National Marine Fisheries
Service, to deny use of diversion ditches running through the Okanogan
National Forest to take water from the Chewuch and Methow rivers.
Although the agencies never challenged the irrigators’ right to
the water, they argued that diverting water from the rivers would
threaten protected salmon by reducing in-stream flows below new federal
standards and violate the Endangered Species Act.
Ruling that the case was not about water rights, the judge agreed
that federal agencies have the right to impose in-stream flow
requirements to protect threatened or endangered species.
The district court may think this is not about water rights, but
farmers and other property owners who are facing their fourth straight
summer without water don’t agree,” said Galen Schuler, an attorney
with the Seattle firm of Perkins Coie, who will be working as a
consultant on the appeal.
The irrigators and Okanogan County, the lead entity for water
resource planning in the Methow River Basin and co-plaintiff in the
case, argue that by setting in-stream flow standards, the agencies
arbitrarily created a federal water right for themselves, superceding
existing water rights in violation of state law.
We are not against providing water for fish, but federal agencies
have to follow the law,” said Okanogan County Commissioner Craig
In-stream flows are set by the state,” Vejraska noted. “If
federal agencies want higher standards, the Endangered Species Act
requires them to work with the state or buy water from willing sellers.
Instead of following the law, the agencies simply confiscated the water
they wanted. At stake are
legal issues that threaten irrigators and municipal water supplies
throughout the West,” Vejraska added.
The irrigators also contend that the federal in-stream flow
standards are not only illegal, they are entirely unrealistic and not
based on science.
For example, scientists for the Northwest Power Planning Council
have determined that the Methow River immediately below Early Winters
Creek naturally runs dry in eight out of 10 years.
But NMFS is determined to shut us down as an alleged threat to
salmon and steelhead,” said Steve Devin, of the Early Winters Ditch
Company. “It’s absurd.”
Dave Jones, an irrigator who normally gets water from the Skyline
Irrigation Ditch, also noted that water denied to Skyline is used by
irrigators downriver whose ditches don’t cross federal land, “so the
water doesn’t help fish.”
Washington State Farm Bureau; News Release; May 14, 2002.
Contact: Dean Boyer, Director of Public Relations, (800)
331-3276; Mike Poulson, Washington Agricultural Legal Foundation, (509)
234-6281; Don Anderson, Okanogan County, (509) 422-7280. Contributions
to the “Methow Project” appeal can be made to the Washington
Agricultural Legal Foundation, P.O. Box 2596, Olympia, WA 98507.
Fish Kill in Methow
winthrop - Heavy
rains, snowmelt and debris killed thousands of endangered Chinook salmon
April 13-14 in a Twisp River rearing pond, when the
river’s flow increased by about 300% overnight.
The debris clogged the water intake screens to the rearing pond,
according to state Dept of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) manager Chuck
Some 75,000-90,000 Chinook salmon yearlings were killed.
Another 10,000-25,000 survived, with an additional 50,000 at the
nearby Methow Hatchery. There
are additional thousands of salmon spawned naturally in the Twisp River.
The fish were federally protected under Endangered Species Act.
John Kerwin, WDFW hatchery division manager, said the fact the
fish were raised in a hatchery lessens the seriousness of the kill,
since the number of hatchery fish released can be manipulated.
“Fortunately, Chinook salmon don’t all return to spawn at the
same ages,” said Johnson. “So
we could have some Twisp River Spring Chinook returning to the system at
the same time that these fish would have, which lessens the blow of the
An alarm system failed to warn hatchery personnel of the clogged
intakes. The dead fish were
discovered when staff arrived to feed and maintain ponds. “We don’t
have the resources to staff a caretaker up there 24 hours a day, seven
days a week, so we have to rely on an alarm system to monitor conditions
arund the clock,” said Johnson.
The state will investigate the alarm system failure, Kerwin said.
“This is not something we take lightly.”
Brian Gorman, NMFS spokesman, said the federal agency doesn’t
anticipate taking any enforcement action.
“Obviously we’re concerned whenever listed fish are
killed,” Gorman said.
“We’ll probably make sure there are requirements in place so
in the future this doesn’t happen again.”
About six years ago, Kerwin said, the hatchery lost most of the
fish in a holding pond on the Chewuch River, but those were not listed
After that, the Douglas County PUD installed the alarm systems at
the ponds. The Methow
Hatchery is owned by Douglas PUD and operated by WDFW.
OC3, Article compiled from: Wenatchee World, April 18, 2002;
Omak Chronicle, April 24, 2002.
The next ORC meeting
is May 28th, 7pm, at the Mount Olive Grange in Riverside.
ORC Board of
Directors will meet at 6pm
before the regular meeting. Board
members, Please be there!
Greg Christensen, Fat Chance Mining and Resources Coalition; and
Jim Creegan, a local placer
miner. They have quite a
story to tell. Don’t miss
Jim Creegan, a local placer miner on the Similkameen River,
Okanogan County, is facing gross misdemeanor charges brough by WA Dept
of Fish & Wildlife [Sgt. James Brown & Officer Matt Nixon] via
Okanogan County Prosecutor’s Office [David Jorgensen, Deputy
Prosecutor]. He faces
maximum penalties of one year in the county jail and five thousand
dollar fine for each of two counts.
His crime: hydraulic/placer
Under new WDFW
“Fish & Gold” regulations a hydraulic dredge is limited to a 4
inch nozzle and new requirements for intake screening.
Creegan is aware of these new regulations and had made ifforts he
felt were appropriate to adapt his 5" dredging equipment to the new
Last February, WDFW
inspected Creegan’s unattended equipment and seized the nozzle and
intake valve. In doing so,
they damaged the equipment, which required repair, cost of replacement
parts, and caused loss of work time.
WDFW found Creegan’s modifications inadequate.
engineering ruler” the WDFW agents measured his 4" nozzle,
which was purchased from the manufacturer of his dredging equipment.
WDFW found it to be 4.1" and confiscated it.
They also found the intake valve screen out of compliance.
When confronted with
the ‘seized’ evidence at his home,
Creegan explained to them his adapted screen was on-site.
He had been in the process of repairing it before he continued
his mining activity. He
also presented WDFW agents with his supplemental Hydraulic Permit
Approval (HPA) and his required copy of the “Gold & Fish” rules
arraignment was May 7th. He
pled not guilty and asked for a court-appointed attorney.
His ‘pre-trial’ hearing is June 3, 2002, in Okanogan.
Price of Salmon Found High
PORTLAND -- Don't be fooled by the price tag on that Styrofoam
package of salmon in the grocery store. Economists have figured out the
real cost of Columbia Basin hatchery fish returning from the sea to
spawn, and it is higher. Much higher.
The cost per fish:
$64.35 for a fall chinook that gets back to the Spring Creek
National Hatchery on the Washington side of the Columbia River.
$179.39 for a steelhead trout from the Irrigon hatchery on the
Oregon side of the Columbia River.
$4,646.17 for a chinook from the Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery in
$7,437.50 for a protected sockeye salmon that makes it to the
Eagle Hatchery in Idaho.
The numbers represent how much it cost to build, staff, manage
and monitor hatcheries that hatch fish, feed them and deliver them to
the river system. The young salmon, called smolts, head for the ocean
and, if everything works, return as mighty adults in two, three or four
years. Most fish don't make it, hence the hefty tab for survivors.
Independent economists examined hatchery costs as part of a
yearlong review of hatchery policies and practices by the Northwest
Power Planning Council, composed of two representatives each from
Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Montana.
The hatchery study is not yet complete. But preliminary
calculations, among them the price per returning fish at six hatcheries
in the Columbia Basin, are startling.
There are no measures by which to gauge hatchery success or
failure. Some hatcheries exist to create fish for harvest; others exist
to replenish specific rivers that have declining stocks of wild salmon;
yet others exist to compensate for spawning grounds cut off by dams.
Washington state's hatchery system is the largest in the world.
There are more than 100 hatcheries throughout the Columbia Basin.
The basin's salmon, overall, are not recovering on their own, despite
improved runs in the past two years.
"We have a whole bunch of hatcheries in the Columbia Basin
with a wide spectrum of objectives," said Hans Radtke, a member of
the planning council's economics board. "Hatcheries need to be
categorized by measurable objectives. Until we do that, we can't compare
one hatchery to another one and find ways to improve the system."
Daniel Huppert, a scientist working on the review, puts it
another way: "You have all these different hatchery programs
started at different times and places for different reasons and
different funding. There's nobody responsible for reviewing them as a
unit." Does that mean $300 or $7,400 is too much -- or too little
-- for an individual fish?
The Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery is designed to produce salmon that
will breed naturally in the Clearwater River, where salmon are having
trouble, and seven of its tributaries. If that effort to reintroduce
fish to the wild works, Radtke says, expensive salmon may be worth the
price. This hatchery may be a cheaper alternative than some other
measures, such as taking out dams, restoring habitat or whatever else,
Likewise, the Idaho Fish and Game hatchery in Eagle, near Boise,
is designed to save Redfish Lake sockeye from extinction. Just 26 adult
hatchery-born sockeye returned last year; the average in the past three
years was 96 fish. Operating the hatchery and monitoring the results
costs $714,000 a year, making each one of those 96 survivors worth
$7,437.50. That's a price that Paul Kline, hatchery manager, thinks may
be worth paying. "How
do you assign a price to saving this last remnant of a population?"
Some biologists worry that hatchery fish could weaken wild stocks
by taking their food or habitat and by interbreeding with them.
Anglers are allowed to keep hatchery-born salmon with their
adipose fins removed. Most wild-born salmon and non-clipped hatchery
salmon, such as from the Eagle Hatchery, are off-limits to anglers.
Jim Lichatowich, a fisheries biologist, says hatcheries have not
solved the problem of declining runs. "We made a bargain 126 years
ago and traded habitat and rational harvest for hatcheries," said
Lichatowich, whose 1999 book "Salmon Without Rivers" argues
that hatcheries have failed to stop the decline of Pacific salmon in the
Hatcheries expanded rapidly throughout the Columbia Basin after
the region's first one was built on the Clackamas River in 1877. Now
they're operated or paid for by each of the Northwest states, by tribes,
by utility companies and by federal agencies. Most funding comes from
federal tax revenue or from the Bonneville Power Administration. But no
agency is in charge of calculating how much is spent to run hatcheries.
A tally by The Oregonian found that federal and ratepayer funding last
year exceeded $80 million.
The evaluation Lichatowich longs for, however, has begun. It will
be guided by the power council study and a separate assessment titled
the Hatchery and Genetic Management Plan, to be carried out by the
National Marine Fisheries Service, which manages Northwest salmon
recovery. When it's done, every hatchery in the Northwest will have been
examined, with its goals identified and its ability to meet its goals
The Associated Press, May13, 2002
Grab Along the Sacramento River
Local folks who were worried about the amount of land being
bought along the Sacramento River for habitat and other environmental
purposes were cheered a few months back when Congress told US Fish &
Wildlife Service (F&W) to stop it.
Locals were concerned about loss of tax revenue, effects on the
economy from farmland taken out of production, and impacts on neighbors
from land allowed to revert to wilderness. They were also upset that
F&W bars the public from the land it buys until it develops a plan
for the property, which can take years.
By the time Congress acted, F&W had snared 12,000 acres along
the river and hadn't even started to draft a plan.
Well, F&W stopped buying land and started drawing a plan for
what it had already bought. But
the purchases didn't stop. Instead
the funding was shifted to the Nature Conservancy or one of the other
public and private agencies pursuing their own buying initiatives along
the river. Now, it's too
late to try to stop the environmental land buys along the river.
The deed is done. Downstream
from Highway 32, there are just a few gaps in the swath of such
properties that's a mile wide and 25 miles long.
And that's not all. Most
of the huge old Llano Seco Ranch east of the river, south of Ord Ferry
Road, is locked up in preserves and easements.
A couple of miles southeast of that are thousands of acres of
state Fish and Game Dept's Butte Basin and Dry Creek preserves.
West of the river is the Sacramento Nat'l Wildlife Refuge south
of Willows, and the Delevan Nat'l Wildlife Refuge southeast of those.
Conservation easements are spreading east from those toward the
river. Much of Butte and Glenn counties has become a massive,
interconnected wildlife refuge - a huge lab for experiments in habitat
restoration and allowing the river to meander.
There actually could be some value in that.
The Nature Conservancy, for instance, is working on ways of
moving flood waters in the lands west of Chico from private land onto
the habitat land. If what
they're trying works, farmers and residents in the area might see less
unwanted water on their land - a good thing.
A band of wild along the river probably would be beneficial for
anglers, hunters and tourists. If
camping and hiking could be allowed along the stretch, it would be an
attraction without parallel.
But the problem is, there is no way for local residents to have
any influence on seeing that any of those things happens.
Each of the dozens of private and public agencies working along
the river his its own agenda, and none of them are eagerly seeking the
input of those of us who'll have to live with their handiwork.
And even if they were, it would be practically impossible to
participate, since there is no single plan. F&W is drafting one
plan. CA F&G has
another. State Parks has
its own idea. The Corps of
Engineers is heading a different way.
Add in the Nature Conservancy and other private groups, and the
interdisciplinary efforts like the Central Valley Habitat Joint Venture,
and just staying on top of all that's going on would be a full-time job.
In addition, there's no guarantee that all the separate initiatives will
While we're not big fans of creating new bureaucracies, that's
what we need right now, a single institution with authority over all
these projects - state, federal and private - that would be accessible
and answerable to the citizenry. It
should be charged with seeing that all those plans work together, or
preferably, that there's just one plan.
It should also be charged with seeing that the needs and wishes
of the local community are dealt with, although no one has seemed to
care up to now.
Commentary; Capital Press; May 3, 2002.
Reprinted from the Enterprise Record; Chico, CA.
13, 2002 - 11 member groups attending
RMAP Update: OC3
Letter w/ sign-on was authorized, discussion boiled down the following
points: 1) Assault on constitutional private property rights; 2)
Unreasonable cost burden and time-frame requirements for
private landowners - compliance by 2005; 3) Where’s the
scientific justification for new road standards; 4)
Roads in 39 counties, State highways, DNR and other State managed
lands; and federal lands all across WA state do not meet new “Fish
& Forest” road & culvert standards.
Why? Time & Money!!! Gov
Locke estimated it would take 35 years for state highways; Lands
Commissioner Sutherland says it would cost DNR $250 million, funds they
don’t have; and in a recent GAO report Forest Service official
estimate they’ll need over 100 years to restore fish passage through
7th Dist - Sen Bob Morton, Reps Cathy McMorris & Bob Sump attended
April 26th, Special RMAP mtg:
DNR admitted verbally that RMAP notices to landowners were only sent out
from Colville, NE Reg’l Office. This
was confirmed by Ok Co Farm Bureau Pres Joel Kretz; and reported on
local radio by Rep Sump. DNR
now says all regions were conducting some form of landowner contact.
May 8th, Forest Practice Board mtg:
RMAPs to be reevaluated, including definintion of small
forestland owner and actual impact of their roads. DNR will develop a
list of what can be done administratively, what Board can do through
rule-making, and what may require legislative action by the next mtg in
[See RMAP Headlines & Quotes, Page 6]
BPA/Central Washington University (CWU) Okanogan River Land
Acquisition: Bonnie L,
Ok Resource Council, reported the latest development.
At the recommendation of ISRP (Independent Science Review Panel)
project sponsors now propose putting 1,636 acres (all but actual bldg
site for “science station” and
nearby existing ranch buildings and development) into perpetual
conservation easement (CE)status. CEs are to be managed by Okanogan
Valley Land Council “in concert with” Stewardship Partners; Methow
Conservancy; and CWU. A
letter expressing willingness to serve in that capacity was signed by
Dale Swedberg, Land Council Board Member. Interestingly enough, Swedberg
just happens to work for WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife too, as manager
of the Sinlahekin/ Driscoll Island Wildlife Areas.
[See Page 4]
Forest Service EA: Ron
P, Methow Valley SnoMo; Gary A, Butte Busters SnoMo; and Tom W, Assn of
Ok Co SnoMo all reported they have submitted comments on FS’
Environmental Assessment concerning allowable levels of winter
recreation on Ok Nat’l Forest. EA
dealt w/ snowmobile rental, helicoptor skiing, use of the Black Pine
Warming Hut etc. This is
still part of the fallout from envirus lawsuit filed Oct-00 by WA
Wilderness Coalition; Kettle Range Conservation Group; Friends of the
Loomis Forest, Predator Conservation Alliance.
Meanwhile, two viable small businesses in Ok Co - snowmobile
rentals - went out-of-business.
WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife:
Last February WDFW inspected a local placer miner’s hydraulic
dredging equipment and seized the nozzle and intake valve.
Although he had required state permit, the miner now faces
possible imprisonment and fines. [See
Support Creegan, Page 8]
On the Radio: Ron
P, has done a couple “appearances” on KPQ and has been invited to be
a semi-regular guest. On Fri,
May 31st, 8-8:30am - KOMW Openline,
Ron & Bonnie L
will be ‘talking issues.’ As
new OC3 Chair, Ron would like to do this monthly w/ OC3 group involvment.
Shoots Four Preying Cougars in One Day
APPLEGATE, Ore. -- Jani and Tina
Bango's ordeal began with finding the half-eaten bodies of their two pet
goats hidden beneath some grass, and continued through the evening as
they were forced to shoot four mountain lions that strolled onto their
Over a six-hour span Wednesday, the Bangos legally shot and
killed the cougars that came into their rural Applegate Valley yard to
feed on the dead goats, killed by one of the giant felines earlier in
the day and set aside for later. "We were prepared to deal with
one, but this was just crazy," said Tina Bango, 32. "It's
something we hope to never see again."
Cougars are normally secretive and loners. Rarely will cougars be
seen in groups larger than just a mother and perhaps two young kittens,
But this pack of healthy mountain lions appeared to be a mother,
two juvenile offspring about ready to head out on their own, and a
larger male that perhaps was the female's new suitor or simply a
"nomad" that had joined the family, said biologist Mark Vargas
of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "I've never heard of
a group of cougars that big," Vargas said. "It's
The killings were all legal under Oregon's damage-control laws
because the cougars had killed livestock. The animals also were deemed a
threat because they brazenly strolled about in daylight with little
concern for humans, Vargas said. "Once they get one free meal like
that, they normally end up coming back," Vargas said.
The Bangos and their two children, ages 4 and 5, live along
Thompson Creek Road about four miles from the Applegate Store, in the
thick of southwestern Oregon's cougar population. The Bangos reported
the goat killing to the ODFW, then prepared to take armed shifts
watching for the cougar to return for more feeding.
Jani Bango shot the first cougar through his bedroom window with
a 30.06-caliber rifle at about 4:30 p.m. "We thought, OK, problem
solved," Tina Bango said. An hour later, the couple spotted two
more cougars - one strolling down the family's driveway and the other
sipping water in an adjacent irrigation ditch. They shot those. The last
cat showed up around 10:15 p.m. and was shot feeding on the goats in the
The Associated Press, 4/27/02
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