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Water System permit renewal - Delays even by USFS standards!
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1/15/2020 at 12:46:35 AM GMT
Posts: 1
Water System permit renewal - Delays even by USFS standards!

I am the "water master" for our tract in the San Bernardino (CA) National Forest.  There are 9 cabins drawing water from a creek diversion/tank system under a USFS permit issued many decades ago.  In August 2015, the FS notified us that our permit "is currently expired or expiring and needs to be reissued."  I was instructed to contact them if we still desired a permit for renewal.

I did so and filed the appropriate paperwork.  Since then, this project has been passed to (I think) four USFS folks, the last one in Boise Idaho.  Seven months ago (after a year's lack of response from her) I reached out again, and she responded the project had been passed along again.  She "cc'd" the new contact and asked her to respond to me, which she didn't.  

So, is anyone else out there dealing with a renewal of a permit for a water system such as this?  I got the impression from the Boise contact that she was a regional person and handling a bunch of these and it was a nationwide project.

I am content to let sleeping dogs lie, but don't want our tract to get stuck with some massive penalty or other accusation of non-compliance, since we have had no interaction with the FS for many many years.  Our system is permitted and inspected annually by the County Health Department, but we seem to have been ignored or forgotten by the FS.

Any help?

Dave Vangsness

direct e-mail:

1/15/2020 at 10:22:15 PM GMT
Posts: 11
Hi Dave, my cabin tract is on the Shasta-Trinity NF. Our association has a water system serving 47 cabins, permitted by USFS and registered with the county and state. Our water system permit with the FS is a 10-year Special Use Permit issued to our association and, similar to an individual cabin, we pay an annual use fee. I think the most important thing is you're compliant with county/state water system requirements. I believe there are quite a few tracts with water systems in your forest and if you've not heard back from one of them, please give me a call directly (408-391-9603) and I'll try and connect you with one or two of them to find out what their experience has been. Cheers, Desiree

1/24/2020 at 4:21:22 PM GMT
Posts: -10
Dear Dave,

I encourage you to contact the next level up in your Forest directly. A polite email to the next authority above the person you're currently dealing with, followed up by a call in a day or so, might see some responsiveness. Who is the cc'd contact you mention in your note and what position does she have? Reach out directly to your Ranger, or if you've tried that already, go right up to the Forest Supervisor level to get a response. Feel free to cc me at NFH:

I recently heard from a member in the Lassen NF who kept trying to get someone to respond to his concerns - it involved a letter from the USFS to him and yet nobody was being responsive to his letters in response. I advised him to raise it up to the next level. He raised it up to the Ranger and the Ranger got in touch right away. It doesn't always go that way, but it can budge something that is otherwise stalled. This is the best way to either appeal a decision or to get some attention, by going up the chain. The kind of hand-off several times that you described is also sufficient reason to get in touch with a higher authority to get the water permit resolved.

Which district is your tract located in? I can get a name and contact information for you if you let me know your district. Hopefully you will see results as the NFH member in Lassen experienced. If, however, you get a response that is in any way troubling or revises your existing water use, please get in touch with NFH again.

Thanks for reaching out,
Sharon Leach, NFH Executive Director

4/1/2020 at 9:11:45 PM GMT
Posts: 2
The Mount Laguna Improvement Association water system which serves 175 cabins in the Descanso District on the Cleveland NF expired in 2011. We did ask for it renewal but have seen little progress. A SOPA was initiated by the FS that encompasses 3 other water systems in the district and its decision was signed in 2018. Fortunately we have not been billed for the expired permit since 2016. Who knows where the process is hung up at. I get tired of asking.
Frank Kalinoski
President MLIA