© 2013 Concerned Citizens of Western Montana
We reported that on Wednesday past, Duane Mecham of the federal negotiating team visited the FJBC in St. Ignatius to explain that the instream flows established in the 80’s or 90’s on the irrigation project are significantly inadequate for fish. He also announced the feds would be completing an “independent study” and issue a decision about increasing flows sometime “before the next irrigation season”. He then reminded the board that the Endangered Species Act and the “threatened bull trout” was a looming threat to the irrigation project and likely the waters of western Montana.
Remember, we are talking about an irrigation project, designed for beneficial use of water by farmers and ranchers Indian and non-Indian alike. We’ve seen no science to prove existing flows are inadequate, so we must instead take our “trusted” governments’ word for it. Also note, the current compact proposes to use 11% of the water for irrigation, 89% for fish. We also have no idea what percentage of project waters are now being used for these insteam flows.
Reliable sources show that the human impact on the waters of western Montana are not measurable because of the amount of water available, and that human consumption, including that of farmers is miniscule, and has no real impact on the waters. So if that is indeed true, why the heavy handed threats concerning people’s water, the very resource necessary for their personal survival and livelihood?
Is it possible that this compact, the granddaddy of them all, is more about control and money than it is about water for fish? After all, people need water too, and farmers feed our country, so where do you draw the line?
This got us to wondering. Is our federal government trying to make humans, more specifically farmers, an endangered species? Does the name San Joaquin Valley ring any bells? How about the Klamath?
So let’s ask the question, how much water do humans need to survive? As someone asked at the meeting, have they weighed the benefits of farming with those of saving a few pounds of fish that are not used to sustain people in any measurable degree?
Perhaps that would be too pragmatic, after all the whole idea of endangered species is based upon garnering support through an emotional rather than a rational argument. This is how the enviros have garnered so much power in our government and over the opinions of the public. After all, who doesn’t want to save fish or other endangered species?
Did you know that the Environmental Assessment completed when the cooperative management entity was created a few years ago listed three pages, yes three pages of “species of concern”, plants and animals in this area, any of which is a ticking time bomb, a potential hammer to be used either by the federal government, or the tribes to further restrict people’s property rights, to limit their lives in some way shape or form. Here’s the list. Odd, but farmers aren’t listed.
Perhaps after the existing proposed compact is passed, and a “MEPA or NEPA triggering event” is actually done which shows the damage inflicted by an ill-advised flow regime, then humans, private property owners, or farmers will finally show up on the government’s threatened or endangered species list. Oh and don’t forget that Mr. Mecham also reminded us the federal government has no duty, or responsibility to protect most of us living in western Montana.