Parts of California are drying up, such as areas of a once fertile, agricultural breadbasket in the San Joaquin Valley. What were lush, productive fields are now a distant memory. Why? Because the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) has decided to re-interpret the Lake and Streambed Alteration Program (DFG code, section 1600) to include the normal use of water as a “permitable” action.
Here is the vague wording that allows such a broad interpretation:
If DFG determines that the activity may substantially adversely affect fish and wildlife resources, a Lake or Streambed Alteration Agreement will be prepared. The Agreement includes reasonable conditions necessary to protect those resources and must comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The entity may proceed with the activity in accordance with the final Agreement. (DFG)
It is this agreement that in effect, transfers water rights from the property owner to the CDFG.
To keep this in perspective, let’s take a look at how water is allocated to see just how much water farmers really get as opposed to water used for environmental concerns. According to Cassandra Anderson of MorphCity:
The division of water is as follows:
- A whopping 48% goes to the environment (that means the federal government has control over it via the Endangered Species Act – ESA), and most of that water flows right into the Pacific Ocean!
- 41% Goes to Agriculture
- 11% Goes to Urban use
Does it make any sense at all to take more water from farmers in the guise of “saving the environment,” and turn a once booming agricultural community supplying precious food to our nation into a dust bowl just to let that precious water flow right into the Pacific Ocean?
The following is a letter from Mark Baird, Vice President of Protect Our Water, Scott Valley:
The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) is using the cloak of environmental concern to gain control of all surface Water Rights in the State. The CDFG has decided to “re-interpret” a sixty year-old water law, Section 1600,” to include the act of turning on the water as a permitable action.
If successful, these permits can cost as much as $30,000 per diversion. The goal is MONEY — (a self-funding agency that can raise fees at will); and POWER — (the ability to modify judicially decreed and appropriative water rights).
This program was suggested to CDFG by Cal Trout and the Natural Heritage foundation.
No one in this Siskiyou County watershed is stealing water. All of our Water Rights are recorded. All diversions are on California Dept. of Water Resource (DWR) maps. The DWR is receiving all the required reports.
I can prove with CDFG documents that the CDFG has been killing Wild Coho Salmon for 20 years. This is in violation of the federal listing in 1996 of coho salmon to the Endangered Species Act.
The CDFG is using threats and extortion to coerce ranchers and farmers into voluntarily signing contracts, which give control of surface Water Rights to CDFG.
Our group is refusing to sign. We will not submit, we will not sign our property over to CDFG. WE WILL FIGHT to protect our property. Water Rights are property rights under the State Constitution.
If the CDFG is successful here, the rest of California will be next.
On April 1, 2011,
About 150 people showed up to support Mark and Cyndi Baird when they officially and legally turned on their irrigation water diversion today, April 1, 2011. California Dept. of Fish and Game Warden told Mark that he could be cited for not having a Permit to do so. Mark stands on his Constitutional Right of property and states he does NOT need a Permit to use his Water Right.
In fact, Mark told the Game Warden to come to the Water Rally Protest and arrest him. No one from Fish and Game showed up. More than 20 folks made the one-lane road trip up to the mountain diversion and helped turn the crank on the diversion above the fish screen.
The Scott Valley Protect Our Water (POW) mission statement:
- We say NO to those regulations that are attempting to destroy our constitutional Rights.
- We will not submit, nor sign our rights away.
- We will stand on those Constitutional Rights with all our resources at our command.
The following is taken from “Civil Disobedience, the Right of Revolution:”
Our government enacts laws that intend to subjugate and enslave. We are hit from all sides with programs that invade our privacy, take away our rights as free citizens, and make chattel of us. Our government is out of control, and its laws do not stand for what is right. Therefore, it is our duty as citizens to question its authority. It is our duty as citizens to revolt. Thoreau states: “All men recognize the right of revolution; that is, the right to refuse allegiance to, and to resist the government when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable.” This revolution is not one to eliminate the government, but to make it better. “I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government” (Thoreau, 1849).
© 2011 Barbara H. Peterson
Tags: Barbara H. Peterson, california, department of fish and game, environment, Farm Wars, farmwars, food shortage, land grab, mark baird, permits, property rights, protect our water, scott valley, Water, water use