Defoliating native plants at Iron Gate Lake's shoreline ecosystem during the peak period of biological tempo subjected flora and fauna to unreasonable damage
YREKA, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, July 29, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — One of several critical and compelling arguments for keeping the Klamath River Dams in place, and therefore the freshwater lakes (Copco Lake and Iron Gate Lake), involves protecting the critical habitats for the local threatened and endangered species at the lakes.
Is it possible that there are people who would intentionally impact the species of flora and fauna so as to reduce or eliminate fauna in an area prior to anticipated NEPA compliance via environmental impact report and environmental impact statement?
And if so, what method might be used to reduce species living in and around the freshwater shoreline ecosystem of a lake?
Before we can explore these questions, some background information is required.
Iron Gate and Copco lakes are formed behind two of the four Klamath River dams that some poorly informed people want to remove.
Together, Iron Gate and Copco lakes hold a reserve of 45-Billion gallons of freshwater.
And quite importantly, if these two lakes are drained, the habitats for hundreds of species will be lost, which will result in a major collapse of the web of life, the foundation of which comes from organisms in the lake (including plants and animals), at the water's interface with the land, and shoreline ecosystems.
The interface boundary at water's edge contains a diverse and robust micro-biome that is critical to numerous other lifeforms.
A little known fact is that a large natural lake called 'Clammittee Lake' existed at the current location of Copco Lake for thousands of years.
And over that time, rare and unique flora and fauna co-evolved in and around this natural freshwater lake.
Clammittee Lake as seen in 1911, was formed by a natural 31-foot-tall lava dam about 10,000 years ago, and was holding back the Klamath River in 1911 when the famous engineer and dam builder, J.C. Boyle arrived to build Copco 1 dam.
In fact, the geology of this area (Ward Canyon) shows that over a period of many millions of years, several different lava dams had blocked the Klamath River at one time or another.
One of these naturally-formed lava dams stood 130-feet-tall, holding back the Klamath River into a massive lake that was 1-mile wide and 5-miles long. Over thousands of years, that 130-foot-tall dam eroded, giving control of the river to a smaller, 31-foot-tall lava dam.
Geology and engineering diagrams drawn by J.C. Boyle in 1911, prove that this most recent 31-foot-tall lava dam was effectively holding the waters of the Klamath River into a pristine lake even as construction of Copco 1 dam began.
Nature, not man, had ordained that fish migrations did not pass this 31-foot-tall lava dams, as well as the older larger lava dams.
It's important to note that detailed scientific studies prove that salmon cannot jump higher than 12-feet. Therefore, any dam or barrier higher than about 12-feet-tall would be a significant barrier fish migration.
The Copco 1 dam project began in 1911 and was completed in 1918 under the oversight of the famous engineer and dam builder, J.C. Boyle.
And when the waters from the Klamath River filled-in behind this new 132-foot-tall man-made dam, Clammittee Lake and its smaller dam were covered with water. However, this modern dam was indeed of the same height as the 130-foot-tall prehistoric lava dam, as mentioned.
The important point here is that; millions of years ago, mother Nature built the first dams on the Klamath River, which stood blocking fish passage for time immemorial. Arguably, this barrier (the lava dams) allowed for the allopatric speciation of salmonoids, and the evolutionary rise of the Redband salmonoid, commonly called Redband trout.
The lakes behind the dams, especially Iron Gate Lake and Copco Lake provide habitat for numerous endangered and threatened species of flora and fauna, which arguably have not been properly or objectively assessed beyond out-dated assessments made by contractors hired by same people who benefit the most by dam removal. Such assessments are arguably biased and prejudiced.
The habitat used by the resident rare species of flora and fauna is integral to the shoreline ecosystems of the lakes behind the Klamath River Dams that are being threatened by dam removal.
The 'Kill Zone'
Using weed eaters, people from vehicles marked with the logo of the company called Resource Environmental Solutions, LLC ('RES') defoliated the flora, native and invasive, from large areas of the waterline of Iron Gate Lake.
It has been reported that RES is one of the companies working in cooperation with the shell company, Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), whose sole mission is to remove the dams, which suggests a predetermined outcome, even before the required NEPA compliance. That is truly concerning!
This defoliation and destruction of habitat began in May of 2021 and continued through June. The defoliation went from the waterline of the lake, back 20 yards onto the lake shore, or more in some areas (See Images).
The flora that was removed has co-evolved fauna, that depend upon these grasses and plants, which were taken down to the dirt.
The question arises; if these people were in fact from RES, did they have a permit, based upon NEPA, to conduct the disturbance of the landscape and arguably the intentional taking of flora and some fauna?
What many people may not realize is the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) is paying close attention to the huge flaws in their plan to remove the Klamath River Dams.
And one of the most glaring flaws in the KRRC plan to remove the Klamath River Dams is the fact that; the existing numerous threatened and endangered species of flora and fauna that require the lakes and shoreline ecosystem will be wiped-out if these lakes are drained to remove the dams.
By removing the shoreline cover native plants and grasses down to the dirt from the water's edge out 20-yards, as it seems that RES has recently done, they have removed the cover that rare species (amphibians, reptiles, birds, small mammals, etc.) require for protection from the sun and predators when they haul-out of the water, or when small terrestrial animals go to the shoreline for a drink.
Without the natural vegetative cover that nature timely provides during springtime, rare species of animals that require the vegetative cover as security for their offspring as well as sources of food, are deprived of that key habitat, and are made exceptionally and unnaturally vulnerable to the host of species of birds and raptors that patrol the lakes and shorelines in search of prey.
Arguably, this defoliation project has led to unnatural depredation of sensitive animal species, some of which are threatened and endangered.
This open area, or what might be called a 'kill zone', has rendering the resident rare and endangered species to rapid and unnatural depredation by predators. And when the birds (and raptors) haul away these rare creatures that have been made vulnerable, there is no evidence left.
The result of creating what can be called a 'kill zone' will inhibit any honest species assessment or verification of the existing threatened and endangered species going forward.
A question arises: Was this by design?
In other words; if the populations of the already rare species of animals suddenly collapse as a result of this defoliation project, which was reckless at the very least, any future objective effort to catalogue and document the presence of existing rare species of fauna during NEPA compliance will be severely hindered, since many of the few remaining rare animals will have been virtually erased for the ecosystem.
When the worker from the truck marked with the 'RES' logo was interviewed, he claimed it was being done to prevent invasive species weeds from being introduced into the lake once it is drained. However, that reply made no sense in light of the millions of seeds from the plants just beyond the 20-yard cut along the shore, and the other 5,000 acres just outside this so called weed boundary?
When the worker was further queried, who via his lexicon surely had some science training, "wasn't this defoliation exposing the threatened and endangered species to abnormal excessive depredation"? The worker replied; "that's a fair assessment".
Navigable waterways in the United States, including the Klamath River and the water and shorelines behind the dams are owned by the public and subject to all of the regulations that require compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act ('NEPA').
Isn't an Environmental Assessment ('EA') and an Environmental Impact Study ('EIS') required for this particular defoliation project, before such a radical disturbance of the habitat required by threatened and endangered species?
What about the Endangered Species Act?
A species is considered endangered if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
A species is considered threatened if it is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future.
Through federal action and by encouraging the establishment of state programs, the 1973 Endangered Species Act provided for the conservation of ecosystems upon which threatened and endangered species of fish, wildlife, and plants depend.
*authorizes the determination and listing of species as endangered and threatened;
*prohibits unauthorized taking, possession, sale, and transport of endangered species;
*provides authority to acquire land for the conservation of listed species, using land and water conservation funds;
*authorizes establishment of cooperative agreements and grants-in-aid to States that establish and maintain active and adequate programs for endangered and threatened wildlife and plants;
*authorizes the assessment of civil and criminal penalties for violating the Act or regulations; and
*authorizes the payment of rewards to anyone furnishing information leading to arrest and conviction for any violation of the Act or any regulation issued thereunder.
William E Simpson
Wild Horse Ranch Productions
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Source: EIN Presswire