LOIS HENRY: New Kern River coalition; Grassroots or astroturf? | Lois Henry – Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California 2021-11-24 21:00:00 –

Major water districts involved in several court battles over the water of the Kern River have launched a new coalition / messaging campaign called the Sustainable Kern River.

According to North Khan General Manager Dave Hampton, the website states that the organization is a coalition and lists several members, but its creation and funding comes from the North Khan Reservoir. .. North Khan has hired Los Angeles public relations firm Fiona Hatton & Associates to run the campaign.

“We wanted to do this right,” said Hampton. “The idea is to take water users to the table and develop a collaborative solution that works for all parties and does not steal water from existing beneficial users.”

He said this was an effort to “balance the story” on the Kern River, partly in response to an ongoing water rights hearing by the State Water Resources Management Commission, and to raise awareness led by local group bling. He said it was in response to the campaign. Return to Khan.

The Water Conservancy Commission is considering whether and, if so, the amount of water available in the river as a result of the confiscation of some river water by the Khan Delta in 2007. If water is available, the Water Board will consider several different uses of that water, including from the city of Bakersfield, which promised to flush the riverbed flowing through the town. Bringback Khan supports Bakersfield applications.

The next Water Commission hearing on confiscated water will be on December 9th at 9am.

“We are very concerned about protecting the rights of the Kern River, and people are very concerned about how the river is used and how it helps agriculture, urban, recreation and groundwater recharge. I don’t fully understand it, “Hampton said.

The campaign mentions a collaborative solution, but Hampton said the effort is still in its infancy and has not yet been developed. He invited interested residents and groups, including Bring Back the Kern, to join the coalition and bring their ideas.

So far, the coalition has five members. North Khan, grower DM Camp and Sons, the city of Wasco and Shuffter, Sierra South, a rafting company in Khanville.

Tom Moore, owner of Sierra South, said the Sustainable Kern River Group called him and asked for his opinion on the river.

“This is the first time everyone has invited us to a table to convey our opinions, wishes, needs and wishes in the river,” Moore said.

The rafting community has long sought cooperation with Kern River stakeholders at the bottom of the valley for a more reliable release from Lake Isabella, especially during drought times. Specifically, the rafters called for the release from Isabella Dam to be timed to create a “pulse flow” downstream of the Kern River between late spring and months of summer. However, with the exception of the pre-Olympic national kayak trial held in Sydney, Australia, those requirements have not been granted.

Moore’s goal in discussing with the Sustainable Kern River Group was to ensure that the economic impact on the Kern River Valley was taken into account, he said. According to a Sustainable Kern River press release, problems can occur if the outflow from Lake Isabella is untimely.

The website and press release also include comments from the city leaders of Wasco and Shuffter. The Sustainable Kern River is a “disadvantageous community” and states that the river helps bring economic well-being to these towns.

The shuffter joined North Khan when applying for the confiscated water to the State Water Commission.

There was considerable skepticism about the launch of the Sustainable Kern River.

“It seems inconsistent to say that you want a sustainable Kern River and at the same time support a dry riverbed,” said the city’s water committee chairman, Riverbed Water. Bob Smith, a member of the Bakersfield City Council who supports the event, said. .. “I think this is a clever marketing campaign by (North Khan).”

Adam Keats, who represents Bring Back the Kern and other public interest groups at the State Water Commission hearing, called the new initiative “obvious astroturfing” in connection with the practice of creating fake grassroots campaigns. He added that North Khan and his landowners: True collaborative solutions work from the baseline of creating a healthy ecosystem first. “

This new effort was disappointing to get Kahn back, said spokesman Leah Mendes.

“This group perpetuates the false story of having to choose between using water for agriculture or draining some of that water into the waterways of a natural river,” Mendes wrote in an email. I am. She asked why she didn’t bring Khan back if the group was really interested in collaboration.

“Nearly 7,500 people have signed a petition in support of restoring water flow to the Kern River. Why does the Sustainable Kern River Coalition not want to express these voices?”

Lois Henry is the CEO and Editor of SJV Water, a non-profit, independent online news publication that addresses the water issues of the San Joaquin Valley.She can reach at website is

LOIS HENRY: New Kern River coalition; Grassroots or astroturf? | Lois Henry Source link LOIS HENRY: New Kern River coalition; Grassroots or astroturf? | Lois Henry

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