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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Water everywhere, well in Oregon and Washington and Idaho! And other things like fires and roads

I took a week and traveled up to visit friends in Idaho and returned Monday.  The drive is long and I probably won't be doing it again but it was instructive.  California is a mess.  And it is not just one thing but many.  I have concluded that our state is run by incompetent people in Sacramento.  The evidence was there for me to see all the way to the state line at Oregon.

Angora Fire 2007
The state is losing its forests to lousy management from both the state and federal governments.  As I drove the I-5 north, I was listening to the radio as the "King" fire was burning down the El Dorado National Forest and now the Tahoe.  I was then traveling towards Weed, a small town in the far north of the state and it too was on fire (apparently there were 11 fires going in the state).  When I got there the road was detoured away from the fire areas and that added another 60 miles to my trip.  Weed's fire was much smaller in acreage but it burned down about 150 homes and other structures.  The air was smoky most of the trip to the Oregon border.  I lamented that the air of our state was now the resting place of the carbon particulates that were once our grand forests.

On my way north I crossed over the mud pit that was once the Shasta Lake.  With a capacity of 6.2 million acre feet of water, it was probably 1/3  or less of that total.  I did not see the Oroville Lake levels (3.5 million AF) but the fore-bay did have some water.  The lake levels for most of California's lakes and reservoirs can be found HERE.  When I crossed the state line into Oregon I soon arrived at Klamath Falls on my way through central Oregon.  Klamath Lake was FULL!  It has a capacity of about 870,000 acre feet.  Heading north I passed the Deschutes River and it appeared to be at high water mark as did other small rivers along the way.  Then I got to the Columbia!

Three-color map of the Columbia River watershed. The watershed is shaped roughly like a funnel with its wide end to the east and its narrow end along the border between Washington and Oregon as it nears the Pacific Ocean. The watershed extends into the western U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana, and the western Canadian province of British Columbia as far east as its border with Alberta. The river itself makes a hairpin turn from north-west to south in British Columbia and another sharp turn from south to west as it nears Oregon.
Columbia River Watershed and Course
The Columbia is a huge river with a monster watershed.(359,000 square miles)  It is wide and there are many dams across the river.  Each dam seems to have electric generating capacity.  The volume of water is incredible.  I guessed the flow of this river could fill Folsom Dam in a few minutes!  Maybe a bit longer for Shasta.  But the water is headed out to sea!  Luckily Oregon and Washington have used the river for all the ways a lake can be used.  Electricity, recreation, water, farming, industry,environmental issues, fish, etc.  If only we could transport that water headed for the sea down to our parched state!  Well, it is parched because state and federal fools have decided to make it so.

After another five hours or so I got to my destination, Coeur d' Alene, Idaho.   Getting there took me through Spokane, Washington where my Dad was born in 1920.  I crossed the Spokane River and some other smaller ones, all running to high water mark.  Of course the Coeur  d'Alene Lake is full, (2.26 million AF) and huge! So are those state's management teams just smarter and better than California's?  Or is it they are simply blessed with more rain and snow?  Since those two state's are now considered part of the "left coast" of America, I am not optimistic they will last much longer regarding the use of their water and infrastructures.

All along the way through Oregon I saw the remnant of once beautiful forests.  Mile after mile of black sticks that were once living trees were all that I could see from the highway.  Millions of trees, dead.  Those trees were once sucking in that CO2 the "greenies" say we need to combat the hoax of "global warming".  Why would the state and feds let these forests burn up?  The trees are a testament to the ridiculous policies we see all over America foisted on our lands by stupid people.  Those people have said leave the forests alone and let them burn.  Starting with the "let it burn" edicts when the fire at Yellowstone burned in 1988.  That was the beginning of the wholesale foolery of our forest management strategies the "eco's" were able to get into law. HERE are a montage of pictures for your pyromaniac desires of the forest burning.

California has long mismanaged its own lands and the feds are even worse.  The Angora Fire near Lake Tahoe in June 2007 was the most recent example of the stupidity of the people in charge of the forests and the State Legislature of California.  The management policies kept homeowners from raking their leaves and pine needles (under threat of fines).  Those fuels became the hot fire that burned down hundreds of homes.  All those beautiful trees the people in charge loved to save are gone now.  All burned and then removed.  A moonscape in place of the "high country" lifestyle area.  Rather than change the stupid rules on the books regarding the management of the forests though, what did the Power people" do?  They passed hundreds of new restrictions on those wanting to rebuild!  Then they passed rules for all of the rest of California!  Passing on more costs and restrictions to a homeowner rather than change their stupid management of the forests.  That is why our state and our forests are in deep trouble.  Rather than address the real problems of how they manage, these stupid people in charge force the homeowners to beg for permission to build and design their dreams on their own property.

I saw the other stark contrast in the public roads.  We in California spend billions of dollars in tax generated money to maintain our roads.  We even have a tax on a tax here on gasoline and other oil products.  We have a myriad of local taxes passed by towns and counties to supplement road construction and maintenance.  We in Nevada County have Measure F passed in the 90's to supplement our road maintenance. (where is it now, it appears to be lost in the budget).  So how come Oregon,. Washington and Idaho's roads are so much better?  Even Montana's roads are better and that state has less people than Sacramento County!  I can only guess that it is the "stupid people" in charge of the money.  The roads I drove on to my destination were much better and maintained more often than here.  I recall when the Feds were building I-80 it was said it was a million dollars a mile.  Now it is much more than that just for a soundwall!  Something is amiss.  How can state's with less money and people keep their roads in such good shape?  Is it stupid people and stupid policies?  I think so.

The other thing I paid attention too when I arrived in Idaho was the layout of uses regarding the placement of buildings.  There was a mix of uses which seemed to me to make a lot of sense.  They have zoning I am sure, but they use common sense by allowing interspersed commercial areas throughout the town and it's suburbs.  This keeps people from having to travel miles to get goods and services and appeared to be very convenient to the residents.  California should learn but we have stupid people and laws in charge and I see little hope of a fix.

So with all the problems California has, how has this come to be?  Once the most innovative and beautiful place on earth, we have allowed stupid people to run the place into the ground.  Our forests are burning, the river and lake are running dry, the Golden Goose has been cooked!  If our people don't start tossing the stupid people out of power we are destined for an ignominious end to Shangri-La.

1 comment:

  1. There is huge I-5 capacity and putting Columbia water in water trucks would make sense, this road is lightly used except during tourist season.


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