- a weekly column published in the Siskiyou Daily News
Five Counties Salmonid
Conservation Program (5C) Supervisor
Bennett and I serve on the 5C Board, which includes representatives from the Counties of
In the past, I have worked to ensure that County government clearly retained its sovereignty to decide whether or not to adopt any "model ordinance," (such as a grading ordinance,) recommended by the group. I have also expressed concern when the 5Cs proposed to expand into the arena of water use. I have always resisted any movement to place water regulation or policy under any regional body of counties.
In the region, 5Cs has helped to implement 60 grant funded fish passage projects that
have opened 140 miles of habitat. It has helped to complete 17 drainage projects which
have prevented and estimated 111,604 cubic yards of sediment from entering waterways over
a ten year period. They have also conducted regular training sessions and workshops for
County road crews. National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA) cited the 5C program as among
efforts that forestalled the federal endangered species listing of the
Recently, 5C Program Manager Sandra Perez gave the Board of Supervisors an update on a follow-up progress report to an assessment conducted in 1998 to see how changes in County policies and procedures have resulted in improved protection and management of salmon and their habitat. The re-assessment involved County staff, 5C staff, Dr. Richard Harris, Dennis Slota a hydrology and water quality specialist and a grad student-intern. They visited field sites to document policies and practices as implemented to assess fish benefits. These included: bridges; stream bank stabilization; storm damage repair; fish passage improvements; road maintenance and repair; stream crossings; flood control and channel maintenance. Although land development sites were visited in other counties, Siskiyou did not have new subdivisions to visit.
The report found no instances where bridge maintenance or replacement had negatively impacted salmon. The team found innovative designs to improve passage of high flows, debris, sediment and migrating fish. Stream bank stabilization projects used fish friendly bioengineering practices that reduced sediment and protected road infrastructure. During storm emergency situations, County crews were respectful of fish and their habitats, using Best Management Practices to prevent water quality impacts. Over the region, road maintenance and management has greatly improved.
The assessment found that projects to improve fish passage were highly regulated and required extensive mitigation measures. This was also true of stream crossings. The report recommended that any projects that have significant fisheries benefits receive streamlined permitting or dedicated staff familiar with emergency response processes to reduce delays and expenses.
Dr. Harris did observe that scarce staff and financial resources in the region limited
the counties ability to address road-related sediment problems. He also mentioned