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Crooked River rehab a first-class boondoggle foisted on residents

Letter: Jon Menough, Ph.D. P.E. Elk City

Last week, Mr. Philip Jahn took issue with our commissioners for “losing touch” for becoming more interested in historic preservation within the proposed “Crooked River Rehabilitation Project” than in the jobs and economic impact it would have on the county. My response to Mr. Jahn: “Hogwash!”

First, Idaho County was built on agriculture, forestry and mining. Too many of the historical artifacts from our mining history have been obliterated. That history – rich in color and character – is important to us in Idaho County. We need to keep the few reminders we have of the tenacity and ingenuity of these pioneers. They help define who we are.

Second, quoting from the Record of Decision, “Alternative 2 will be implemented in six … phases … within annual budget allocations. … Implementation … is dependent upon funding over time.” In other words, there is a distinct possibility that the project could be stopped half-done. Starting this project and leaving it half-done would be much worse than never starting it.

Third – jobs. Yes, we need jobs in Idaho County. But this project will provide few (if any) jobs for local residents. And none of these jobs will have any permanence. We need jobs with permanence – timber, agriculture and manufacturing – not the crumbs this project will offer.

Fourth – mining claims. Planners have assured those with claims in the area that they will replace the markers exactly where they were. However, the fact that they are moving the river and removing and relocating the gravel beds all around the river area effectively destroys those claims.

Finally, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately, when it comes to this fishery, no one knows whether it’s broke or not. No one kept records of fish in this area prior to dredging. After fish stocking began (1925), most of the fish stocked in the lakes and streams in this area were simply classified as “unspecified rainbow” until 1965. Nobody really knows what was there before.

This is a first-class boondoggle being foisted on the residents of Idaho County by those who are supposed to know better than us. As I said before, “Hogwash!’”

Jon Menough, Ph.D. P.E.

Elk City


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