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Groundwater meeting draws in many
by David Smith, Siskiyou Daily News April 21, 2011
Fort Jones, Calif. — In the first of two meetings scheduled this week in Fort Jones, attendees heard that it is about the fish and that it is not about the fish – “it” being efforts associated with the Scott River Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).
The meeting, orchestrated by Brian McFadden of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, focused on groundwater knowledge and what efforts are underway to better understand the resource in the valley.
While McFadden stated that the regional board wants to understand the interactions of ground- and surface water as it relates to TMDLs, he stated that the board has no authority to manage groundwater. It does act as the enforcement arm responsible for the TMDLs, which set certain pollutant limits for bodies of water listed as “impaired” under the Clean Water Act.
The first to present information was Dr. Thomas Harter, who described the groundwater modeling effort in the valley, detailing the various aspects of the project. Similar to a previous presentation, Harter described how the different attributes of soil materials, movement of the water and varying heights of the underlying bedrock have all gone into the model in an attempt to predict trends in groundwater movement.
Following Harter’s presentation, Erich Yokel of the Siskiyou Resource Conservation District described the RCD’s efforts to measure and understand groundwater dynamics in the Scott Valley, and Marilyn Seward of the Scott River Watershed Council gave a brief talk on the council’s goals.
Before delving into public comments, District 5 Supervisor Marcia Armstrong and Natural Resources Policy Specialist Ric Costales discussed the groundwater advisory committee recently set up by the board of supervisors, which is aimed at providing the board with information on the status of groundwater in the valley. Costales stated at the meeting that he believes the efforts to improve water quality all center on the effort to protect fish.
The public comments hit a number of topics, including Protect Our Water’s Mark Baird stating that he believes the effort is not about fish, but about control, taking away rights and power.
A number of people in the crowd applauded Baird’s claim, and a second meeting today is expected to bring even more comments as the NCRWQCB seeks input on its TMDL program in the valley.
The Siskiyou Daily News Friday will feature a deeper look at the questions posed by those in attendance regarding Harter’s study.
Page Updated: Sunday April 24, 2011 02:55 AM Pacific
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