Monday, July 1, 2013

A Basic Pop-Environmental Strategy - To Control People Control Their Water

If you really want to control the everyday lives of people, control their water.
Whatcom County, Washington is an example of how the pop-environmental movement, in an effort to impose its will on the unwashed masses, has seized control of a water rich environment on the basis of (you guessed it), water shortages!

The first pioneer settlements in Whatcom County centered on Whatcom Creek (Supposedly translated as "Noisy Waters") because the falls provided power for sawmills
Once nicknamed “The Fourth Corner” because it is the most northerly of the United State’s West Coast counties, Whatcom County, along with the rest of Western Washington, is world renowned for rain.  As this is being written near the last weekend in June we are seeing our third straight day of rain.  Summer crops are sometimes ruined by rain in June and July though, in general, rainfall does slack off in July and August.  In those months it is not uncommon to go for two or three weeks without rain.
On top of that, literally, is a mountain range beginning its rise only a couple of dozen miles in from the ocean inlet, Puget Sound.  An hour’s drive from the bayside city of Bellingham, a ski resort holding the world’s record for snowfall in a winter season at ninety-five feet contributes to a year around rush of water from mountainside to ocean.
So where’s the water shortage?
The water shortage is in the most important place it can be; in the minds of a cadre of urban centric pop-environmentalists dedicated to forcing Whatcom County’s rural landowners off the land and into high rises located in the city.
So how does one go about creating a water shortage in rivers and streams discharging tens of millions of gallons of water into the ocean each day?
Well, if you want to assure success, you combine two perfectly reasonable concepts, connectivity and minimum instream flows, into a unified water plan and then you use false science to force the drawing of false conclusions.
Fish, especially fish that migrate to the ocean then return to rivers and streams to spawn are important to the people of Whatcom County so measures designed to improve fish runs are easy to promote to an audience largely uninterested in questioning the pronouncements of those purportedly speaking with authority.
Put simplistically and speaking only to the issue of connectivity and minimum instream flows, fish need a certain amount of water flowing down stream and river beds to propagate and send lots of little fish children out to sea.
So, scientists, and others, pay attention to minimum instream flows in developing strategic plans to enhance fish health and survival. 
Many sources contribute to flow volume in rivers and streams.  Water flowing underground is one important source, especially in months where rainfall and/or snow melt are inadequate to maintain healthy levels of flow so, connectivity becomes an issue legitimately open to discussion.
Connectivity is the issue allowing zealots to seize control of the daily lives of individuals owning land throughout a river system.  The claim of connectivity provides control of water withdrawals from wells dug or drilled to provide water for lawns and gardens or for other daily uses.  “After all,” the argument goes, “When a homeowner turns on the faucet to get the water needed to make a cup of tea that homeowner may be harming fish by taking future water away from their poor little gills.”
So, how much water actually is needed in a stream to support a healthy fish population?
In Whatcom County no one quite knows and that’s just the way the pop-environmentalists like things.  It is difficult to create hysteria without a sense of crisis.
Minimum instream flows for Whatcom County were established by state law in the middle 1980s using a curiously odd technique having nothing to do with what fish need to live but, rather, with what the pop environmental movement needs to keep raising funds.
Basically, in Whatcom County, minimum instream flows represent the average flow of water measured month by month the year around.  Using that methodology assures the County’s waters are guaranteed to be out of compliance with the purported needs of fish much of the year.  Average, after all, means that some of the time water levels will be higher than average and some of the time water levels will be lower than average.  Since lower than average flows violate the law the approach assures water shortages and plenty of fodder for those pursuing political ends that can be linked to those purported shortages. 
Think about it.  Based on the averaging technique for calculation of necessary instream flows, pre-settlement streams were unable to support fish populations, by definition.  So, where did all the fish purported to have existed in pre-settlement times come from?

The technique used to measure minimum instream flows, applied to areas with little or no habitation as is the case here still shows violations demonstrating the inaccuracy of the technique
In Whatcom County, violations of minimum instream flows are being used by an urban centric elite to seize control of the ability to drill wells in the county needed by farmers and other landowners wanting to live on, and work, their lands.
If you want to control people, control their water and, to the pop-environmental movement, the ends justifies the means, as is the case in most of the discussions about environmental health going on in the world today.

1 comment:

  1. Check out this document on instream flow setting in Washington State. It is not based on a simple average. It takes into account seasonal variation, "Instream flow recommendations need to reflect the seasonal flow changes" (direct quote from page 22).,0,394