The California Department of Fish and Game wants to know how much water coho salmon actually need. To find out, they’ve launched a statewide study of water and salmon, and they asked for the counties to help out. Some did, but Siskiyou decided to opt out of the study.

According the county supervisors, the fear is that the study will result in greater restrictions on water for their farmers, which could hurt the already tenuous economic recovery.

The county says their decision to refuse was also influenced by the role they would play in the study. As participants, they would be viewed and treated as another stakeholder, while being a semi-sovereign, elected government would give them far greater authority and legal protections.

But whether or not their opting out of the study will protect farmers remains to be seen.

From the Redding Searchlight:

Siskiyou County’s supervisors have opted out of state biologists’ plans to study stream flows in threatened coho salmon habitat, saying they refuse to participate in a process that will end only with more restrictions on farmers’ water.

At its Tuesday meeting in Yreka, the board voted 4-1 not to be part of a study flows on the Scott and Shasta rivers, two streams at the center of a contentious dispute over fish habitat and farmers’ irrigation practices.

Department of Fish and Game biologists say they hope to determine how much water coho salmon need, and they’d asked the county to be part of the process.

Read the full article here.