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Judge denies farmers’ request on Klamath water

A federal judge Wednesday denied a request by irrigation suppliers in California’s Central Valley to stop emergency water releases intended to help salmon hundreds of miles away in the Lower Klamath River survive the drought.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill in Fresno, California, denied the temporary injunction sought by Westlands Water District and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority. Westlands is the nation’s largest supplier of water for agricultural use.

The judge ruled that the potential harm to salmon from drought conditions right now outweighs the potential harm to farmers next year.

Man airlifted after fall

Courtesy of Mike Cuthbertson
A man was airlifted to a Medford hospital after falling approximately 25 feet near a Smith River bridge Wednesday, CalFire officials say.

CalFire Battalion Chief Tim Devos said the fall was reported at 12:15 p.m. by a U.S. Forest Service Protection Officer who was at the scene at Second Bridge in Hiouchi.

Public invited to help clean up beach on Friday

Clients and staff members with Full Spectrum Services will be out making the beach at Clifford Kamph County Park even more beautiful Friday.

About 20 individuals and staff members with the organization will participate in a beach cleanup from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cleanup will be followed by a barbecue, according to event organizer Jamie Hayden.

Ocean air can’t stop coastal fire risk

Smoke rises from a half-acre brush fire Saturday afternoon on Crescent Beach. Del Norte Triplicate /Matthew Durkee
Brush fire at Crescent Beach highlights danger 

A half-acre fire on Crescent Beach that produced significant smoke in Crescent City on Saturday evening was quickly contained thanks to a heavy multi-agency response.

An air tanker was brought in to quell the fire, which was primarily on Redwood National Park land but threatened a small home on nearby private property, according to Rick Young, deputy interagency fire chief for Six Rivers National Forest and the park.

The fire was started by a beach campfire and carried by the wind to land just north of the Crescent Beach parking lot, Young said.

“The wind was blowing pretty good, pushing it into the wildland,” Young said.

DA eyes need for campus officer

Prosecutor’s office could fill need with staff member  

A school resource officer may return to Del Norte County Unified School District, but only if the district has the money.

District Attorney Dale Trigg approached Superintendent Don Olson and Del Norte High School Principal Randy Fugate with the idea of employing a member of his staff as a part-time school resources officer at a reduced price. 

The officer, a District Attorney’s Office investigator, would be stationed at Del Norte High School and would be able to respond to other schools if needed, Olson said. The district would reimburse the DA’s office $30,000, including $6,000 for training.

Arson wave puts tribe on guard

In a time of high anxiety about drought-related fire risks, an unusually high number of fires, many caused by arson, have the Hoopa Valley Tribe bringing in outside help.

At least 30 suspected arson fires — and one that destroyed a couple of structures — have occurred since May, and the tribe has brought in equipment, investigation and firefighting teams from as far away as Oklahoma to fight the menace. The fire investigations are ongoing and results won’t be publicly released until they’re complete, according to a Hoopa press release. No arrests have been made.

Science wins for salmon

Klamath River Indians and activists protest at Bureau of Reclamation headquarters in Sacramento on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Seventh Generation Fund
Feds will release Trinity reservoir water to avoid a salmon kill in the lower Klamath 

Just three days after hundreds of Native Americans and activists protested outside the Bureau of Reclamation’s regional headquarters in Sacramento, the federal agency announced Friday that it will release extra water from the Trinity River reservoir to prevent a massive salmon-kill in the Lower Klamath River.

Indian tribal members, Humboldt County officials and river activists have been campaigning for extra Trinity water since early July, when Reclamation announced that it would only release water if dead and diseased salmon started appearing.

Indian tribes and river activists said that conditions were primed for a repeat of the 2002 fish-kill, when river diversions to Central Valley farmers during a drought led to the death of 60,000 adult salmon in the Lower Klamath River, leaving an ominous smell of death that tribal members say they’ll never forget.

Lawsuit against county fails

Former D.A.’s civil rights claims tossed by federal judge 

A federal judge dismissed former District Attorney Michael Riese’s civil lawsuit against several county and city officials this week.

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick, in a ruling that granted the defendants’ motions for summary judgement and blasted Riese’s arguments against them as “a jumble of conclusory allegations, unsupported assertions, confusing and incomplete cross-references to other opposition briefs,” on Wednesday effectively ended Riese’s campaign against members of the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and Crescent City Police Department stretching back to 2012.

Climate change workshop Tuesday to look at roads

Road construction crews battle erosion at Last Chance Grade, a notoriously unstable section of Highway 101. Submitted
Rising sea levels and heavier rainfall from climate change is expected to cause even more erosion for a notoriously unstable section of Highway 101 south of Crescent City known as Last Chance Grade, and a public workshop Tuesday will explore how the road system can adapt in the future.

A public workshop about how climate change will affect the region’s state road system — specially Last Chance Grade — will be held from 6–7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Elk Valley Rancheria Community Center, 2298 Norris Ave., Crescent City.

In California, climate change is expected to cause warmer temperatures and heavier rainfall, which will cause greater potential for flash floods and erosion.

First major wildfire threat kept to 1 acre

So far, Del Norte escapes big burns seen around region 

A 1-acre wildfire near Ship Mountain on the Smith River National Recreation Area was quickly contained and snuffed out  by Friday morning after it was discovered Thursday morning.

The fire, located northwest of Ship Mountain Lake, was caused by lightning strikes on the crest of the ridge Monday evening and smoldered until it was discovered by the Ship Mountain Lookout Thursday morning. 

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