Scott Valley – 2014 is an extraordinary year. We are experiencing an extreme drought and have had a record number of Coho Salmon spawn in our system. Due to drought conditions, the spawning occurred in the main stem of the Scott River, since there was not enough fall and winter runoff for the salmon to reach the systems tributaries. Record low snow pack, ranging from 4% – 12% of average, has resulted in extremely diminished surface flows, which are dropping at a rate never seen before. To further complicate the situation, salmon from other systems spawned in the Scott River, all the way into late March.
In an effort to try and keep sufficient flows in the main stem, to allow the late spawning eggs to emerge, allow for the 1+ salmon to migrate to the Klamath and the fry to migrate into the tributaries, members of the Farmer’s Ditch Company have put their surface right back in the Scott River to help augment flows. This was a voluntary and collaborative effort between the farmers, the Scott River Water Trust and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“We recognize the importance of having as many salmon survive this extraordinary year, not only for our system, but others throughout California, where the salmon were not able to enter due to lack of precipitation and resulting low flows,” said Gareth Plank.
The collaboration between the farmers, the Trust and the Department will keep sufficient flows through a critical reach of the Scott River, for a longer period of time, allowing for natural migration and reduce the need for fish trapping and relocation. Additionally, it will keep eggs wet, in reds from the late spring, to hopefully allow for more hatching and live fry.
The Scott River had over 3000 coho salmon spawn this year, resulting in a potential of 4 million fry.
The snow pack in the mountains has long since melted. Tributaries to the Scott River and the river itself are quickly drying up, if not already. Contrary to what environmental activist groups, such as the Klamath River Keepers, Klamath Forest Alliance and the Environmental Protection Information Center, are saying, the drop in surface flows in the Scott River Watershed is due to a depleted snow pack, not because ditches are “running full.” Our ditches have not run “full” since the April. Our only saving grace has been two major thunderstorms, or likely all of the tributaries and the river would be merely standing pools. This year happens to be very dry, our winter snow pack was under 50 percent of average. It was to be expected that surface water would be limited starting in July. In average years, the current levels of flow are not realized until late August and mid September.
Understanding the system and realizing that salmon fingerlings are at risk, several ranchers, in voluntarily and cooperatively took action to save tens of thousands of young salmonids. Read more…
On this National Day of the American Cowboy, I felt inclined to post my version of the “code.”
- Live by the Golden Rule.
- Practice tolerance and understanding of others.
- Be hospitable to strangers. Anyone who wanders in, including an enemy, is welcome at the dinner table.
- Do not inquire into a person’s past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.
- Never pass anyone without saying “Howdy”.
- Never steal or trespass. Thieves and trespassers pay with their life.
- Defend yourself whenever necessary.
- Family ALWAYS comes first.
- Look out for your own. Read more…
Tonight was “dad’s night to cook.” We just picked up some fresh zucchini and yellow squash from the local farmer’s market last night (I stuffed and barbecued a big one last night for supper), had some hamburger thawed in the fridge, so I probed my memory and decided on a casserole.
The recipe is fairly simple, brown a couple of pounds of ground beef and set aside. Slice and sauté a couple large squash in olive oil, I use oil grown by my friend Irv Leen of Gold Rush Farms, and set aside. Mix thinly sliced mushrooms, a couple of cups of sour cream, a cube of melted butter and a roll of crushed Ritz crackers with the beef. Spread the beef evenly in the bottom of a 9 x 14 casserole dish. Spread the sautéed squash on top of the beef and then add a couple of cups of shredded cheese over the top. Place in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes and supper is served!
While waiting the 20 minutes for the casserole to bake, I began to think about the past several weeks… I have been to Washington D.C. to meet with reporters and writers about the use of antibiotics in livestock, discussed organic and conventional production and grassfed vs grainfed beef…PEW held a discussion in Chicago on antibiotic use and superbugs…and Panera launched a campaign insinuating that farmers who use antibiotics are lazy. I recommend you take a look at a well written post by my friend Carrie Mess “Dear Panera Bread Company” and “Here’s What Panera had to say…”
Now you are probably asking yourself, what in the heck does this have to do a squash casserole?
Well, remember that ground beef I used, here is the back story.
We have started the hay season and time is limited for posting to my blog. However, an experience with my son last week meant the world to me and while sitting on a plane to Washington DC today, I took the time to share it. Yes, it is lengthy, but perhaps you too will find a value in my experience to carry into your own life.
Epiphanies come when you least expect them. Lately, my six-year-old son has provided me a plethora.
Last week I had a series of “challenging” days with my son, culminating with an ever so important “life moment.”
Ever since Kyle started going out with me on the ranch to “help,” I have made a concerted effort to teach him responsibility, a strong work ethic, to be creative and do things independently…traits I believe will serve him advantageously in the future. However, sometimes this newly discovered ‘independence’ has created some interesting situations. Read more…
I picked up my son today from my mom and dad’s.
We buckled up, I started the truck, backed up, turned around and pulled on to the road. There was a bit of conversation about his hike on the hill with grandma, their new puppy and a request to stop by the pond to see the turtles. We stopped, counted the turtles, seven, and then continued on our way…in silence…for about three minutes and fifteen seconds…when the “big question” was asked….
Son: “Daddy, how long will you be alive?”
Me: “I don’t know son…that’s up to the good Lord above to decide.”
[approximately 30 seconds of silence]
Son: “Daddy [beginning to cry] …. I don’t want you to die…. I want you to live forever….”
Me “Kyle, I love you, and hearing you say that means the world to me, but we can’t live forever. It’s not in our control. It’s all up to our Creator.
Son: “I’m going to pray that He lets you live until I die daddy.”
The conversation continued for the rest of the drive home, down the lane, out in the field and for a bit longer….
This was the first real “serious” conversation the two of us have had….and probably not the last.
It was a moment that I will treasure forever.
It was a moment that caused me to pause and contemplate.
I leave you to contemplate.
I tip my hat to the California Cattlemens Association and Assemblyman Jim Patterson for submitting AB 343 with coauthors Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, Assemblyman Brian Dahle, Assemblyman Brian Maienschein and Senator Jim Nielsen and endorsement by the California Farm Bureau.
It is refreshing to see a bill that truly works to address the issue of animal cruelty in agriculture.
Unlike bills in other states, AB343 protects the right to video and photograph, protects the worker from reporting observed abuse, promotes cooperation with local law enforcement and puts the welfare of the animals above the bottom line and above the next fundraising campaign.
AB343 combines common sense with moral fortitude. It requires that animal abuse is reported in a timely manner, in order to minimize suffering, allow for a proper investigation and see that appropriate charges are brought against the offender.
Finally, an animal welfare bill that those in agriculture and those outside of agriculture, who care about the welfare of animals, can stand together in support of.
…This bill would require any person who willfully or knowingly photographs, records, or videotapes animal cruelty to provide a copy of the photograph, recording, or videotape to local law enforcement within 48 hours of taking the photograph, recording, or videotape, and would encourage the person to provide a copy of the photograph, recording, or videotape to the owner of the animal or poultry, or a representative of the owner. This bill would define animal cruelty for its purposes as any act involving an animal, as defined, or poultry, as defined, described in prescribed criminal offenses…