Dead River Case Skirts Court. Shasta River.


Mar 11, 2001
Reaction score
Dead River Case Skirts Court

Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle

May 15, 2002

A battle over a dried-up trout stream will go to mediation as a last try to avoid a court date. The conflict is filled with consequences for the entire state.

At issue is the Shasta River in Siskiyou County, where ranchers diverted the entire river for six months last year, drying it up over the course of 10 miles. Without water, all fish and aquatic species were killed.

"I want to make it clear that I don't want any money out of this," said Pauline Robinson, who is forcing the issue. "I just want them (DFG) to follow their own laws, to get water running down the river again for the trout, and to provide passage for the fish so they can get upstream and downstream."

Robinson is a streamside property owner who is suing the ranchers who operate the diversion, claiming they broke a state law that guarantees water for fish. She is also suing the Department of Fish and Game for providing a permit for what she believes is an illegal operation.

On the other side, the ranchers, the Edison-Foulke Yreka Ditch Company, have filed a lawsuit against Robinson. They assert they have legal water rights, a permit from the DFG for the operation of the dam, and that Robinson has illegally barred them from passing across her land for access to the diversion.

Also involved is Siskiyou Country District Attorney Peter Knoll, who has chosen not to prosecute the case but instead is trying to help mediate discussions between the groups. The next meeting is set for this month, but no date was announced.

The case has gained attention across the West, where farmers are in constant battle to get the use of inexpensive public water. Similar diversions last year that caused fish kills occurred on the Scott River near Fort Jones and on the lower Kaweah River near Visalia. No arrests were made in those cases either. In the Bay Area, landowners have alleged similar incidents at Pescadero Creek in San Mateo County.

Latest Posts

Top Bottom