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Farmers Helping Fish

 

FD and CDFW Group Photo

From left to right: Jennifer Bull (CDFW), Lindsay Magranet (Siskiyou RCD), Preston Harris (Scott River Water Trust), Jeff Fowle (Farmers Ditch Company), Gary Curtis (CDFW), Chris Adams (CDFW)

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.

 

Preston and FD

Preston Harris, Executive Director, Scott River Water Trust

 

“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.

Farmers and Ranchers Save Salmon

The snow pack in the mountains is gone.

The snow pack in the mountains is gone.

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…

My Cowboy Code

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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…

What Do We Eat? Beefiniroom Casserole!

Squash Casserole on the plate

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.

Squash Casserole ready for the oven

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!

Squash Casserole out of the oven

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.

Read more…

What’s Really Important?

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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…

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