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August 15, 2012     Indian Valley Record
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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 11B COMMUNITY PERSPECTIVE Watershed work requires collaboration, not confrontation Plumas Corporation's role in the Feather River Coordi- nated Resource Management (CRM) group has been to im- plement the CRM Plan*. For the last 16 years Plumas Cor- poration staff has worked to meet the goals and objectives stated in the plan under the guidance of the CRM steering and management commit- tees. After three months of executive committee meet- ings and over a year of dis- paraging, unprofessional. emails I feel the need to speak up and say, "Enough is enough." Yes, the CRM roles out- lined in the structural orga- nization of its membership have not been followed exact- ly as written in the plan, but the shift in procedural processes over the years was made by the CRM members, not an intentional effort by WHERE I STAND GIA MARTYNN WATERSHED COORDINATOR, FEATHER RIVER COORDINATED RESOURCE MANAGER, PLUMAS CORPORATION staff to "just do whatever they want" as implied by the many recent negative attacks on staff and the CRM pro- gram. To lay blame for the causes of veering from the original plan doesn't really matter at this point. Just as downstream water users don't want historic uses to be blamed for current degraded watershed conditions, we don't see any positive solution coming from finger-pointing either. What matters is that discrepancies from the original CRM Plan are being addressed and the recently formed CRM Execu- tive Committee is seeking to remedy the problem. So, in reference to not lay- ing blame and trying to move forward, I do not feel it is fair to attack the integrity and professional qualifications of Plumas Corporation staff. First and foremost, each staff member was hired for the skills and experience he or she brings to the organiza- tion. As staff they are re- quired to work collaborative- ly and coordinate with nu- merous other professionals to develop, plan, administer and implement watershed restoration projects. No one is perfect and we all can improve at what we do for a living, but the liveli- hoods of these members of our community are just as valuable and important as those of our local ranching families. Yes, soliciting for grant funding is necessary to make restoration a reality on the ground; and yes, staff members' jobs are funded from these grants. To meet the goals and objectives of the CRM Plan they must gar- ner funding for water quality improvement projects. So to attack staff as if they only do this to keep their jobs is un- warranted, it is their job. Applying for, administer- ing and implementing state and federal grant contracts is not a cake walk. The staff is held to very high account- ability standards for every funding source they receive, so to question them with in- sinuating tones in public venues, as if they are cheat- ing and stealing taxpayer money, is offensive and un- professional. Plumas Corpo- ration is audited annually, so if they question our financial management I welcome them to come review our audits. Secondly, to publicly attack their work and accuse them of falsifying data is another sensationalism tactic to dis- credit the organization. If we were really providing 12 years of faux data, don't you think we would make the numbers look glowingly bet- ter? The flow data, which has been statistically analyzed by a third party, does not indi- cate a significant trend either positive or negative for the low flow season. At this juncture, we all agree more monitoring is needed, but to insist that a third party should collect the data and the staff is incompe- tent is ridiculous. Many spe- cialists over the years from universities and research or- ganizations have used the watershed data collected by Plumas Corporation staff in conducting their own research. The upper Feather River watershed, as the head- waters of the State Water Project, is one of the most heavily monitored and re- searched watersheds in the entire Sierra Nevada. Hand- ing over the work to an out- side firm only takes away lo- cal jobs and gives them to non-county taxpaying folks. We (Plumas Corporation staff) do not question the va- lidity of livelihoods by down- stream water users or Coun- ty Board of Supervisors, nor the integrity with which they make their living. We are all taxpaying citizens of Plumas County and we want the same things for our neigh- bors as we want for our- selves, There is no underly- ing evil intent to harm See Watershed, page 12B Private landowners forced to consider ending public access For decades private forest landowners have provided a variety of opportunities for public access on their lands, from full public access to no public access. Those forest owners wh O do provide ac- cess often allow Californians to hike, hunt, fish, bicycle and enjoy other outdoor ac- tivities in their scenic forests. Unfortunately, ac- cess to millions of beautiful forested acres may become a thing of the past due to re- cent federal court rulings on wildfire liability. Last month, the federal courts made a ruling that landowners can potentially be held liable for any fire that starts on their land. In the case of the Moonlight WHERE I STAND CALIFORINA FORESTRY ASSOCIATION Fire, the ruling will cost the landowners and contractors working on the land nearly $100 million in estimated to- tal value of recoverable dam- ages due to a wildfire that migrated from private to public land. The origin of the fire is still in dispute, but the judge's ruling made it clear that the landowner may be liable regardless of how the fire started. The ruling is having a chilling effect on private landowners' willingness to allow any public access to millions of acres of privately owned forestland in Califor- nia. Private forests are often spread out and intermixed with public forests through- out the state, and include backpacker trails, wildlife refuges, pristine creeks and more. Often people may not know if they have wandered onto private land from pub- lic land. "Many forest landowners have allowed local communi- ties and others access to their lands. But they are now facing extraordinary legal risk by allowing the public to recreate on their proper- ty," says California Forestry Association (CFA) President David Bischel. "Our mem- bers are finding it difficult to obtain insurance and face se- rious potential financial con- sequences of an open access policy. Each company will be reviewing their individual policies to find the best solu- tion for themselves." Most states have laws that substantially limit public and private landowner lia- bility. Recreational use statutes protect private landowners who want to open their land to the public for recreation free of charge. California Civil Code Sec- tion 846 provides the state's policy on allowing recre- ational use to one's lands. Specifically, the law states that a landowner has "no du- ty of care to keep the premis- es safe for entry or use by others for any recreational purpose ..." Under the new Moonlight Fire ruling the law may no longer protect private landowners from lia- bility issues. "The state policy to en- courage and support landowners who allow the public to recreate on their pi'operty is undermined by the recent federal court's rul- ings," says Bischel. "It is ul- timately the people of Cali- fornia who will be the ones paying for bad federal gov- ernment practices." "Like most landowners, you take pride in your land," says Paul Violett, chief fores[er of Soper-Wheeler Co, "Our landowners wish that they can still have the option to provide their land for recreational use, but the federal government has put our backs against the wall. Private landowners need to make the best decisions to protect our livelihoods and the forestlands. Unfortunate- ly, that may mean closing our land to the public for good." The California Forestry Association consists of forestry professionals committed to the protection of natural resources, environmentally sound policies, sustainable use of renewable resources and responsible forestry. CFA serves as a central voice for California's forest-resource companies and communities. LETTERS to the EDITOR Guidelines for Letters All letters must contain an ad- dress andl& phone number. We publish only one letter per week, per person and only one letter per person, per month regarding the same subject. We do not publish third-party, anonymous, or open letters. Letters must be limited to a maximum of 300 words. The editor will cut any letter in excess of 300 words. The deadline is Friday at 3 p.m. (Deadlines may change due to holidays.) Letters may be taken to any of Feather Publishing's offices, sent via fax to 283-3952, or e-mailed to mail@plumasnews.com. Railroad display Fellow model train collec- tors, though Christmas is months away, now is the time to plan for activities to cele- brate this holiday season. The purpose of this letter to the ed- itor is to solicit support and interest in setting up a model railroad display for families to visit during the holiday sea- son. This proposal would require the support of an owner of a vacant store space and collec- tors who would be interested in setting up and running some of their model railroad collection. The goal would be to have the train setup family- friendly so that children could actually operate some of the trains and accessories. If there is interest and sup- port, a schedule would have to be developed for the construc- tion of an operating table con- figuration. This would most likely occur in early Decem- ber. Operation of the trains would be Saturdays and possi- bly Sundays depending on the number of operators interest- ed in the project. Other activities could be planned in conjunction with the train display. Interested persons should call 283-3429. Dwight Pierson Quincy Enjoy my flag To the person who stole my new American flag from the front yard: Obviously, you are not a veteran, or have been in the service. Had you but asked, I would gladly buy or give you a flag. May you enjoy and appreciate our American flag -- the symbol of the United States. Lee DeCamp Quincy Wants info My parents operated a gro- cery store in Meadow Valley between the years of 1937 and about 1942. I attended the grammar school there when Mrs. Jacks was the only teacher for all eight grades. There were 13 students in the entire school when I graduat- ed eighth grade. I am writing an autobiogra- phy and would be interested in talking to others who may have knowledge of that area and time. Stanford Smith jandssmith@hotmail.com Criticism In response to the recent no- tice written on the menu board at the Quincy Nutrition Site (Veterans Hall) in my opinion was inappropriate, self-righteous, insensitive and violates my freedom of speech. The notice stated "that those with the gift of criticism should keep their presents to themselves." I wasn't aware that the above was a condition of the Older Americans Act. Tell President Obama and former Gov. Romney to stop criticizing. Tell all the critics who make their living criticiz- ing to stop. When there is a need to criticize, express opin. ions, etc., it will be done on be- half of the health and well-be- ing of seniors. We are all enti- tled to our opinions. "In light of inevitable up- coming funding cuts to senior programs" it would be nice to put energy and thought into preserving our senior pro- grams. (This previous state- ment came from the Incorpo- rated Senior Citizen of Sierra County's August 2012 newslet- ter.) Phyllis Golla Quincy Flatlander responds I'm not sure what part of Alicia Knadler's recent opin- ion piece I took more offense at: her blatant use of "other. ing" those she clisagreed with or her blatant xenophobia. Civil discourse seems to have devolved past the point of mutual respect: It is no longer sufficient to disagree with a person's ideas, but one must paint one's opponent of ideas as themselves degener- ate. Knadler hits rock bottom with her touchstone illustra- tion of the "weird society" and the "city mentality" beyond Plumas County when she de- scribes a fanciful nature scene as somehow typical of the worldview of so-called flat- landers. The described mural was, of all place s, in a hospi- tal. Perhaps she would have been pacified by a depiction of nature red in tooth and claw. But I doubt most people, up- land or flatland, would find this settling in a place already full of death and illness. Hope- fully Ms. Knadler's future ef- forts need not resort to petty insults to further her argu- ments. In a year of ugly words about newcomers, flatlanders and other outsiders on the opinion page, this piece takes the cake. William Pollock Sacramento Firewood After reading the article in your last paper about the "county employee" that want- ed his share of firewood from ' the county work yard and was turned down and felt a right to file a complaint, I feel com- pelled to voice my opinion. I am amazed at the audacity of this person to feel entitle- ment to this wood that Public Works employees brought to the county work yard. First of all, every crew member has documented safety training, they use their own equipment and they are not on paid sta- tus when they cut their fire- wood. If a non-employee were to be allowed to come on that same property to cut his fire- wood an employee from the Public Works Department would have to be there on paid status as a safety measure. .That would be a cost increase to the department. Could the problem be that this "county employee" didn't get a pony when he turned 5, but his neighbor did? Barbara DeCamp Quincy Where Wally stands Congressman Herger's rally piece for Big Oil expressed his deep disappointment with the Obama administration's deferral of the Keystone Pipeline, while minimizing the potential of algae as a re- newable substitute for crude oil. Algae has already produced liquid fuel and is being pur- sued by some of the oil majors. if/when a scaled-up operation can be built, algae will con- sume carbon dioxide, produce oxygen and provide liquid hy- drocarbon. Burn this product and you're back to gaseous balance of the CO2 you started with. What's wrong with that? We're probably closer to com- mercial use of algae than we are to nuclear fusion, plus al- gae fuels would be a cheaper scale-up. Herger trots out Solyndra just like Parlor rang his bells to get dogs to salivate. Solyn- dra's certainly a story of cronyism, poor management and low accountability. But is it a bellwether for the solar in- dustry as a whole that keeps on growing exponentially? Nope. As for Herger's huffing and puffing over the Keystone XL pipeline's delay or prohibi- tion, I suggest he stop claim- ing it would stabilize or lower gasoline prices. As Associated Press published last New Year's Eve, America's largest value export in 2011 was re- fined fuels, the highest since 1949. Is it likely that, should Keystone be 'built, the oil ma- jors would dramatically in- crease domestic gasoline sup- plies? Nope again. Why would they choose to lower profits through cheaper gas prices here when they could export their product, thereby tighten- ing our supply to preserve high prices? Keystone would undoubted- ly give us a few temporary jobs, but that comes with a risk of ruptures and greater pollution at already choked re- finery locations in the south- east, all the while increasing our production of C02. You're right where Big Oil wants you, America, and Con- gressman Herger wants you to stay there. Bill Martin Quincy Energy policy In all respect .due Congress- man Herger's future-oriented vision as one of the main proponents of the Quincy Li- . brary Group legislation, I would nevertheless like to criticize his somewhat defi- cient reasoning about the U.S. national energy policy in last week's paper. Portraying the president's policies as "hampering, hin- dering, regulating, and mini- mizing proven sources of reli- able energy sources --espe- cially petroleum" is a gross distortion of reality. We all know that U.S. petroleum im- ports have significantly de- clined, in part due to in- creased domestic production, aimed at diminishing our de- pendence or reducing our de- pendence on politically unsta- ble regions of the world. (Inci- dentally, petroleum imports from Canada are on the rise.) To then discredit national efforts at promoting develop- ment of alternative energy sources (including biofuels) by simply declaring them as "experimental, expensive and unreliable" sounds unin- formed and shortsighted: the real elephant in the room is climate change which will eventually leave no other op- tion but wean ourselves from fossil fuels. Given this fright- ening prospect the nation ought to embark on an effort equivalent to the "Manhattan Project" in order to develop renewable energy resources. But what happened to the good old notion of putting American ingenuity to work? Some argue that the price we pay at the pump does not reflect the real cost of gaso- line, including taxpayers' money to support military op- eratiofis to stabilize oil export- ing countries and environ- mental costs to be borne in the future. This should put energy secretary Steven Chu's state- ment that U.S. gasoline prices ought to be more in line with those charged in the other in- dustrialized nations in a more appropriate context. Burkhard Bohm Blairsden McClintock helps big corporations At the expense of our safe- guards, Republican McClin- tock has voted to continue the huge tax breaks that the Bush administration gave the mega-rich and corporations. What will the corporations do with some of that tax break? They will use the Supreme Court's ruling that corporations are people and pour the money into the cam- paigns of candidates, who in turn will vote to continue the tax breaks and stack the Supreme Court with justices who will continue to support the wishes of the corpora- tions. A neat 1 percent circle. Salvatore Catalano Taylorsville Stuck on stupid Rose Pettit misread and is confused about Lynn Des- jardin's letter about the pover- ty and poor health of Native Americans. As is Pettit's style, she rushes to say a conserva- tive writer is wrong, then mis- states what was written, or doesn't even say what was wrong and why. Desjardin is correct that generations of government- run education and socialism are largely the cause of pover- ty and a long list of related symptoms (repeated by Pettit). She didn't write DHHS has been around 200 Years. Her letter made it clear she under- stands governmental nanny- ism does great harm to people -- by removing their incen- tive to be self-reliant and free. There are examples of Na- tive Americans living today whose ancestors didn't qualify for inclusion in the Indian programs, so had to live off reservations and earn livings. They prospered! Social pro- grams are needed in certain instances, and i for one wish we had the ability to do more for those who truly need so- cial help. The only reference to Presi- dent Obama was "Obamacare" will be run by the same Wash- ington bureaucracy, and we can expect similar results. I agree, and it's out of concern for fellow citizens that I don't want our country to go' bank- rupt by doing the same stupid things that don't work. That would be stuck on stupid. Gene Kailing Portola ) t