Fish and Game and Lahontan in a dispute

hotcreekhatcheryThe Lahontan Water Quality Control Board met this week in Apple Valley.  On their agenda was a closed session item that involves allegations that Hot Creek Hatchery outside Mammoth Lakes has violated water discharge standards and owes a $225,000 penalty.

According to a Lahontan order issued to Hot Creek Hatchery, water pollution violations started in 2006.  Lahontan alleges that Hot Creek committed 16 serious violations and 74 chronic violations of water standards between 2006 and 2009.  The order also says that according to California Water Code, Hot Creek owes a total of $225,000 in penalties for allowing nitrate and nitrite levels to exceed the rules and for failure to submit operation reports.

The Lahontan Board does say they believe $18,000 is a more appropriate penalty but that state water law requires $225,000. The penalty was supposed to have been paid by May of 2010.  The item on Lahontan’s board agenda calls for discussion of litigation and a review of a Fish and Game petition in this matter.  So, apparently Fish and Game will fight Lahontan’s order.

We placed calls to Fish and Game’s Bruce Kinney and to management of Hot Creek Hatchery for Fish and Game’s side of the story.  We have received no calls in return.

We also called Mr. Kinney to comment on the recent tragic fish kill at Fish Springs Hatchery.  Andrew Hughan of Fish and Game in Sacramento did confirm that Los Angeles Department of Water and Power crews had shut off the groundwater pump that supplies water to the hatchery for maintenance purposes.  Hughan said that the secondary pump to the hatchery “couldn’t keep up” and did not provide enough water to the trout.” Some 40,000 trout in one corner of a raceway were trapped with no water and died.

Hughan said the fish ranged from fingerling size to about 3/4 of a pound.  “We just couldn’t maintain enough flow,” he said.  Why didn’t Fish and Game know it’s back-up pump was inadequate?  Hughan didn’t know, and Mr. Kinney has not returned our calls.  Hughan says that this fish loss will not negatively affect trout planting.


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4 Responses to Fish and Game and Lahontan in a dispute

  1. Philip January 12, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    The DWP nevers fails it seems to disappoint villainy and the Ca. Dept. of Fish and Game partners up with them once again.The dance isn’t square, it’s not honest and it’s also a dance of deception and damage control with no accountability.
    The recent judgement or whatever (Thanks to the Owens Valley Committee) regarding the Fish Springs ground water pumping and the recent DWP lawsuit for water rights with the Town of Mammoth Lakes are now augmented by the Lahontan Water Quality Control Board revelations of the DFG Hot Creek nitrate violations in DWP drinking water. What else is going on with our water? Not 40,000 fish floating bellyup.
    As a current DWP customer in L.A. with a muddled thirst for a cool glass of untainted water I have to say that we are all proud of your DWP management skills and expertise – that being your historic and unrelenting conduct of thieving, swindling, pilfering and deprivation of Mother Nature’s gifts.
    William Muhollands words “Take it” has been a drain on the water resources of the Eastern Sierra as it also has the meaning of a bully boast of, “take that ” to many folks. It is time for the DWP ,the DFG to come correct, return a phone call ,find some solutions, make the tough decisions needed to be thought of as guardians of our resources. You need to become legitimate leaders who can stand tall and try and remove the bitter bitter taste of your Water and your out of touch Power trips. You are the problem and now is the time to be a solution that no one could question. Do this difficult deed and earn not only your big bucks paycheck, but a new kind of respect that Eastern Sierra inhabitants know so well, that being the respect of one another and this wondrous part of the planet earth.

  2. JJ January 13, 2012 at 7:19 am #

    If Fish and Game is reading this More Fishy’s Please!!! 🙂 Bigger is good too.

  3. Eamon January 18, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    This story is quiet comical; Lahontan, who is General Funded at the State level is broke and now they want to go after Fish and Game for $250K, who happens to be made up of a mix of Special and General Funds……this is the beauty of one State Agency “fining” another, all it does is move one pot of taxpayer money to another pot of taxpayer money while Lahontan will claim that they’re doing their job of keeping the water safe they aren’t doing a thing……I’m sure Lahontan will try to figure out a way to go after Caltrans next (another Special funded Department).

    • upthecreek January 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

      A sure sign of desperate times in Taxifornia, Government turning on themselves


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