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Plan for Water public comments and questions - April 19, 2022


Workshop video available:


Q: (1:28:06) NID GM Jennifer Hanson: Do you have a sense of what the original population numbers were?

R: (1:28:16) Brian Wallace, Lizzie Enos Nisenan Family Foundation: That's been debated a lot. It is hard, but I will say that early anthropologists really lowered the numbers. And the more we understand about how people were living in this area than you can see rather than the early kind of 20,000 numbers that people were talking about, it was more up into the 100,000 area. And that's because we know more about the resources. We've started to (gasp) talk to the natives themselves about who know their own family history. So it's hard to reconstruct, but we know that this was a well-populated area.


Q: Can we get some clarification on which Nisenan groups are being represented today? Thank you for your presentation.

R: (2:03:29) Today we’re being represented by the Tanku Nisenan. Upper Bear River.


Q: (2:04:27): What is the difference between the Nisenan watershed and the source watershed in the Plan for Water?

R: (2:04:40) Jennifer: From our perspective I don’t know if they're all that different, with the exception that we are not as informed to what I would refer to the importance of the connectivity between the complete fabric of cultural significance, biological significance, spiritual significance, how healthy watersheds come. Was that what you were referencing to with “deep domain?”

R: Brian: I'm trying to interpret ‘source watershed’ so you can talk about it. You know where the water is sourced; while I’m guessing. So I say the same thing and in a way that was here with other tribal groups. We're happy to be one of the indigenous voices but we're not the only ones.

With those upper reaches of the watersheds, you're starting to see the landscape and the interconnectedness. You can't just look at one watershed without understanding what feeds that watershed and what the source of that watershed is, not just at the very source at the Sierra but all the way down and where the water goes. It’s all interconnected


Q: (2:07:49) Dianna Suarez: Do we have any evidence that there's salmon in the Bear River?

Q: (2:08) Stewart Feldman: Are there memories, legends or records of anadromous fish (salmon/steelhead) in the region? Which watersheds or subwatersheds had these species present? Where can someone find this information?

R: (2:08:19) Brian: Finding evidence of things like salmon in our waterways is very difficult. Just trying to find salmon bones alone is very, very difficult. In certain cases out of Sacramento or Feather from really large projects, say levees, very rarely do we come across the fishbone. Usually most fish bone was crushed up and utilized later on -- not just thrown away after consumption (unless it's a case of an offering). Typically they used it all and pounded it down into a powder that could be made into a soup later on.

That's probably why you don't see a lot of salmon bone existence in archaeological studies. But I think if you were able to find some you'd be able to get some good information, which we’d be interested in because we do know the history of salmon being present but in our lifetimes.

We have not been able to witness that, but I've heard it's very, very small numbers. And they just don't have the habitat anymore to can come up this far.

I've heard people say they remember times when they were able to walk across the river on the backs of salmon.

2:10:10 We had multiple runs years ago. Now there's basically one run because things are just so out of balance. It's a shame that we've lost four out of five salmon runs in the state.


Q: (2:10:57) Jeff Litton: Is the Lizzie Enos Nisenan Foundation affiliated with the United Auburn Indian Community? In March 2017, past NID General Manager Rem Scherzinger essentially told Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan and Colfax Todds Valley Nisenan that they would need to join the United Auburn Indian Community (because they are a recognized tribe) to collaborate with NID regarding Centennial Dam. I’m just wondering how that relates today.

R: (2:11:32) Hanson: That is not true at all today. Nobody needs an official representative; that's a lot to invite.


Q: (2:15:59) What are the unratified lands promised to the Nisenan and did the Bear River have a salmon run to those lands?

R (2:16:19) Brian: The first question refers to the Treaty of Camp Union, which was executed in July of 1851 and was the second in a series of negotiated agreements with the Nisenan to settle future potential conflicts between cultures, the area and transition of economics and demographics, and pressures that that created. That particular treaty was negotiated to set aside about 150 square miles in and around the beginning of Camp Far West, north up to the Yuba, back down to about Combie, and then back down. That was intended to be a homeland post settlement.


Q: (3:09:38) Were there salmon runs to the unratified lands that were promised to the Nisenan?

R: (3:09:43) Those lands began and Camp Far West so it's really low, the intersection of the Bear River, the Feather and Sacramento.


Q: (3:10:13) Molly: What common ground exists between farmers and ranchers in the watershed in the restoration of healthy exposure pathways presented this evening? How can farmers and ranchers who rely on irrigation supplied by NID support our Nisenan neighbors?

R (3:10:34): There is room for an abundance of partnerships and collaboration. The agricultural tradition here is shared between this agriculture community goes way back, and then there was original Nisenan agriculture that existed pre-settlement here.


 Q (3:46:10): What does the board think about forming the framework for the next 50 years of watershed planning for the Plan for Water in the context of the gold miners versus the Nisenan legacy?

R (3:46:29) Jennifer Hanson: I think that's an interesting comment. We've been speaking

a lot about how can we work together and move forward and collectively? Because I don't know that I, or any of us, consider ourselves the gold miners’ legacy.

R: (3:47:14) Brian: when we make the proclamation for the river, it's not against all activities. It's just calling out or saying activities that harm the river. You’re not against mining; you're not against recreation; you're not against anything. But if it's going to harm the river then, yeah, we need to think about it and look at it. It’s where we start.


C: (3:48:15): A huge thank you to the presenters. We need to rethink our relationship to the land and to the water. Those who have cultural ties to local lands and water can provide us a valuable guidance on how to begin in a good way.


Q: (3:48:25) James Haufler (Friends of Auburn Ravine): the Bear River, from its headwaters all the way down to Camp Far West, historically supported a cold water fishery with brown and rainbow trout. While salmon once thrived in the lower reaches of the river a natural waterfall or ledge now submerged under the new Camp Far West Reservoir blocked further migration upstream.


Q: (3:39:10) Jeff Litton: Your proclamation was beautiful. Thank you so much. It’s similar to Ecuador's constitution which recognizes the rights of Pachamama, Mother Earth, to exist and to maintain regenerate its cycle structure functions and evolutionary processes. It would be wonderful for NID to adopt some of these writings into its mission and practices.


C: (3:49:46) Mikos Fabersunne: It’s just a wonderful presentation, and a big thank you to all of you.

C: (3:50:25): A big thank you for the presentation perspective for a regenerative legacy and a bright future.

C: (3:50:11): I think this has been our best Plan for Water presentation (no offense Jenn)

C: (3:50:32) (Brooklyn Shinabargar): a big thank you Family for speaking for all of us. And thank you to NID for this opportunity.






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