Two counties – same problem – water and land use regulations
How Water and Land Use Regulations and Litigation Are Destroying Us
“The hand writing on the wall” is an idiom for “imminent doom or misfortune” and for “the future is predetermined”.
“I have completed part I of my report on (Integrated Water Resources Management) IWRM. http://users.sisqtel.net/
Part 1 – Siskiyou County
How Water and Land Use Regulations and Litigation Are Destroying Us
By Marcia H. Armstrong © 2012
(reprint granted with attribution)
Background on Siskiyou County and its Economy
Sixty-three % (63%) of the land base in Siskiyou County is in Federal (or state) ownership. There are portions of the Klamath National Forest; Shasta-Trinity Nationa
The entire land base of Siskiyou County is 4,038,843 acres or 6,287 square miles. Of this, 1,153,246 acres (29%) is in farmland, however only 138,000 acres (3% of tot. county acres) are irrigated. 2,525,216 acres is considered rangeland/woodland/ forest (inc. National Forest.) Our relatively sparse population of 44,301 classifies the county as “frontier.” There are nine small incorporated cities that date back to the California Gold Rush. Eight tenths of one percent of private land is urban.
In the year 2000, the average unemployment rate for the year was 7.5%. By 2008, it had risen to 10.2%, rising again to 15.8% in 2009. In March of 2012, the unemployment rate was 18.7%, ranking Siskiyou 50th out of 56 counties in the state. There are many forest-dependent communities in our county where local unemployment is estimated from 30-40%. The average wage per job in 2008 was $32,707. That was only 63% of the state average. The median household income was $36,823 — or 60% of the state median. Non-household median income is currently $27,718 — a ranking of 47th in the state. The AP Economic Stress Index ranks Siskiyou County as the 14th most economically stressed county in the United States.
Siskiyou County has a substantial low income population. In 2010, 18.6% of all residents in Siskiyou County, 26.6% of children under the age of 18 and 7.3% of those 65 years or older lived below the poverty line. In 2010, the economic impact of jobs at Human Services and entitlement benefits to County residents was $71,581,874. This includes: $11.6 million in annual “assistance costs” (CalWorks/welfare, Foster Care;) $8.8 million in annual food stamps; $4.7 million in In-Home-Support-Services for the elderly and disabled; and $36.7 million in Medical Assistance/Medi-Cal.
Social statistics indicate that Siskiyou County has the second highest child abuse/neglect rate in the state – (3 times the state average.) Compared to Los Angeles County, Siskiyou Count
According to Indicators of Alcohol and Other Drug Risk and Consequences for California Counties Siskiyou County 2007, the number of local fatalities in alcohol-involved motor vehicle accidents was three times that of the statewide average; the death rate due to alcohol and drug use was 32.5 deaths per 100,000 persons (compared to a state average of 20.9/1000.) Methamphetamine accounted for 44% of admissions for alcohol and drug treatment. Admissions for alcohol use accounted for 31 percent of admissions in 2004. The death rate for cirrhosis if the liver was three times the Healthy People 2010 goal. Drug-induced deaths were 19 times higher than the Healthy People 2010 goal per 1,000. About 85% of child abuse cases involve methamphetamine.
The economy of Siskiyou County is based on small business. In 2008, there were 6,857 non-farm proprietors in Siskiyou County. According to 2007 data, 61% of non-farming establishments in SiskiyouCounty had less than 4 employees; 82% had less than 10 employees and 93% had less than 20.
Agriculture is a major economic sector of the county. Our 2010 Siskiyou County Annual Crop and Livestock Report indicates that the agricultural valuation in the county was $195,711,956 (gross and excluding timber.) According to the USDA Ag Census, in 1992 Siskiyou County had 647,446 acres in farms. By 2007, this had been reduced to 597,534 acres. The 1996-2008 Land Use Summary, Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program indicates that during the span of the report, Siskiyou County lost 15,164 acres of prime farmland; 3,036 acres of farmland of statewide importance; 40,456 acres of farmland of local importance. With an addition of 16,126 acres of grazing land and 2,390 acres of unique farmland, this mean a total loss of 40,140 acres of farmland. In 2000, there were 895 farm proprietors in Siskiyou County. This declined to only 730 in 2008. The county lost 81 livestock ranches from 1992 to 2007, with an accompanying loss of 20,882 fewer cattle and calves in inventory. According to the CA D.O.T. Siskiyou County Economic Forecast, since 1995, Siskiyou County’s agriculture industries have experienced substantial job loss of about 586 jobs, declining almost 45%.
During the past 20 years, there has also been a restructuring of size and sales in agricultural operations. Since 1992 to 2007, there has been an increase in the number of small farms: farms under 10 acres doubled to 80. Farms under 50 acres increased 59% to 229. Farms 50-179 acres increased 27% to 228. Farms from 180-449 acres remained about the same at 79. However, there was a 19% reduction in farms 1000 acres or more to 100 farms in 2007. One aspect of this is land conversion from private to Federal lands. Since 1999, 8,625.71 acres valued at $3,922,179 have been converted to Federal land. Another 11,236 acres of ranch land in the Shasta Valley is currently proposed for conversion to a new wildlife refuge. In addition, the proposed Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement seeks to convert 44,479 acres of farmland in the Upper Klamath Basin to wetlands, (some of which may be in Siskiyou County.) It also proposes to secure 21,800 acres of farmland by acquisition or conservation easements in the Scott and Shasta Valleys of Siskiyou
At the same time, farms having less than $2,500 in sales increased 105% to 359. Farms selling $2,500-9,999 stayed about the same at 151. Farms selling $10-$24,999 decreased 10% to 95. Farms selling $25,000-$49,999 decreased about 18% to 60. Farms selling $50,000 to $99,999 decreased 45% to 44 and farms with sales in excess of $100,000 increased by 28% to 137.
Siskiyou County accounts for 15% of the timber harvested in California. At one time, it was the second largest timber production area in the state. However, our forest industries have been devastated by Federal and State regulations. For instance, the forestry section of Siskiyou County’s 1972 Conservation Element of the General Plan indicated that there were 17 sawmills in the county (employing 2,055 people or 24% of the employment base) and 8 wood processing facilities (employing 294 people or 3% of the employment base). There were 46 logging contractors and support establishments employing 501 people or 5% of the employment base. By 2007, all 17 sawmills were gone. The census indicates that there were a total of 6 wood products manufacturing establishments (including veneer mills) employing 380 people (one mill has subsequently closed in Butte Valley). There were 38 Logging, Forestry and Support Establishments employing 157 employees.
There is no doubt that the restrictions on timber harvest from public lands under the Northwest Forest Plan have played a significant role in this decline. In 1978, 239 MMBF of timber was harvested from the Klamath National Forest (KNF), 274 MMBF from the Shasta Trinity National Forest (STNF) and 73 MMBF from the Six Rivers National Forest (SRNF.) In 2008, 20 MMBF was harvested from the KNF, 22 MMBF from the STNF and 8 MMBF from the SRNF. [Seehttp://users.sisqtel.net/
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