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Glenn Colusa Irrigation District February 2, 2023



By Don A. Wright

The Glenn Colusa Irrigation District met at its headquarters in Willows and online or phone on Thursday, February 2, 2023. Chairman Don Bransford started at 9:00am with a flag salute. The public participation was the first item and I had a heck of a time understanding who and what was said.

The Meeting

The first action item was the election of the board members. There was some consideration about Bransford stepping down from the presidency. A lady on the phone named Alexis Stevens, I believe she’s an attorney, advised using the time today to discuss the situation and vote next month. She believed there wasn’t a full board in attendance. Bransford pointed out there is a full board and the vote can be taken today.

Bransford said he wants to stay involved and he encouraged all the board members to become involved. He listed the Voluntary Agreements as an important matter to be engaged in. I think the idea was to spread around more of the responsibilities. Bransford has been on the board for 30-years. Someone said if there were more involvement to take some of the load off of Bransford would he be willing to retain the office. The board decided to take a look at how best to divide the choirs and will come back next month. So the offices and committee assignments were tabled until next month. Evidently Bransford’s institutional knowledge and leadership is critical to the board and the district. As is developing the other board members’ involvement. It was agreed being chair takes much more time, as does just being a board member than it did in the past.

That’s so true. I think back to the 1960s when I was just a young child and I don’t recall every hearing my father or grandfather talk about how much trouble it was to get enough water to grow a crop. They didn’t have retreats, workshops and conferences and the only NGOs around were the Farm Bureau and the Grange Hall.

Business Items

After passing the consent agenda the board heard from General Manager Thad Bettner about extending the private lateral landowner petition process. There were questions about why place any deadline at all. The answer was to place a milestone to get the process finished. It sounds like GCID has a program that helps landowners with conveyance infrastructure not owned by the district. The deadline was extended.

GCID, Tehama Colusa Canal Authority and the Sites Reservoir are interested in sharing facilities. Bettner said there is a need for GCID to be reimbursed for certain obligations from the Sites Authority. I believe attorney Andy Hitchings had to recuse himself from the discussion due to his involvement with Sites. Stevens was available to provide legal advice, so I guess she is in fact an attorney. Good for her. She said this is basically an agreement to reach future agreements. The district has a system set up to start recording costs right away. There are still some details to work out on the billing and reimbursement process itself but the board liked the idea. This agreement will cover things like CEQA costs and such. Likewise the document is in draft form and needs to be further reviewed by Bettner and legal counsel. The board approved.

A gentleman named Ricky Haines claimed his windshield was damaged by a GCID employee driving a district vehicle. Finance Director Louis Jarvis said this was a pickup truck, not a dumpster and after interviewing the employee he recommended denying the claim. The board agreed.

That lead into the next item dealing with claims. A resolution was considered to authorize the GM to handle claims. Jarvis said if there is serious claim over $25,000 or injury it goes to ACWA JPIA. This resolution would cover the smaller claims. Bettner could still bring a claim to the board at his discretion. It would speed some things up and save a bit of work for staff. The board wanted to try it for one year and see how it works. Resolution No. 2023-01 passed.

Next Jarvis gave the board an update on internal control. He said he and other management has an annual 60-point review and he feels it more than covers the situation. Bransford asked if it would be more official for the reviewers to sign on at the end of the review. So that review document will be signed from now on.


Someone, not sure who reported on maintenance. Could have been Superintendent Jeremy Richardson, could have been Zac Dickens. Whoever he was he was a little difficult to understand but I did hear there was plenty of storm clean up throughout the district. The water rose to a record level and hit the squirrel holes. It was observed the weather has been cool and the next storm is expected to be cold as well. That lessons the worry about flooding somewhat because the snow will stay snow longer. Staff was confident the system will be ready for deliveries when the time comes.

Water Operations

The main canal gates are getting repaired and readied. More metering is in place and clients like it. The canals to the wildlife refuges are charged. Shasta is taking on water. There was a question about the timing of the releases starting at sundown at Keswick. As the solar power wains hydropower needs to be increased.

Informational Reports    

Bettner reported the water operations positions hires will not be finalized until after next week’s Colusa Farm Show. The Water Users Work Group is being fired up again after a Sino Cooties hiatus. Landowners will meet with the Directors and staff by division. The effort is to have a discussion with the farmers in the district and work out in advance any problems and concerns. In the past turnout was good.

The report on Shasta inflow was presented. It does look good for Shasta. Inflow is up due to the storms. But inflows are starting to drop. There is a forecast for five million acre feet of inflow this year. The state’s average watershed is above the April 100 percent average mark. At four-million-acre feet in Shasta the Central Valley Project will be able to serve its commitments. The April snow level is considered the definitive reading for allocations as this is when most of the snowfall will have peaked for the year. This is very good news providing the temperature doesn’t heat up prematurely.

There was an engineering report and Able Check structure is well on schedule. Gates and site backfill are underway. The contractor is ready for the next storm it sounded like. There was a huge head start and the workers are hammering it. A photo was shown and it did look like all hands-on deck.

Meeting Reports

The Button Groundwater Authority has put water in its first recharge project. It was said it wasn’t much water but it does work and it is cost effective. Other GSAs in the area are making similar progress in recharge projects.

One of the directors was appointed to the NCWA board, if I understood correctly. Bransford said he’s on a Sites environmental committee and he’s the only farmer. Someone is trying to convince California Fish & Wildlife’s Chuck Bonham the state needs a watchdog hired to keep an eye on this committee. Bonham was approached by the enviro NGOs and it sounded like Bonham didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with this.

Folks from GCID attended the recent, ACWA sponsored I think, Washington DC trip. Director Pete Knight said they met with National Marine Fisheries Service’s Director Janet Coit and she didn’t seem to take much interest in what was being said. The West Coast salmon are threatened but the feds in Washington don’t have the time and money to invest in any other solutions save reducing water deliveries to farms.

Coit joined the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration in 2021. Prior to that she was director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. Rhode Island, home of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse who advocates using RICO laws to prosecute global warming skeptics,  faces a whopping 43 miles of Atlantic Ocean. That’s not really fair. If you were to take the coastline and include Narragansett and Mt. Hope Bays it’d be much longer. But from Connecticut to Massachusetts as the crow flies along the Atlantic is less than 44 miles. But according to the NOAA the only wild salmon on the United State’s East Coast are found in a few rivers in Maine and are of course listed as endangered. Perhaps Ms. Coit just felt out of her element talking to water users from California that has such a large salmon population and long coastline.

Knight added over all the trip seemed like a good, productive venture. They met many elected officials and committees. It was a bit of whirlwind. Bransford said getting a briefing book from the trip disseminated would be good. There is a great amount of important information compiled within it.

Janet Zimmerman reported to the board on outreach saying the recruitment brochures have been distributed. Also, the GCID job offer posts are way up on social media. The farm shows and university interaction is beginning to pay dividends. Someone suggested Bettner get on Tik Toc. Probably have to die his hair an unnatural color to get any attention.

The attorney report was only in closed session and the open portion of the meeting ended at 10:25am. There were only three items in closed session and they all dealt with litigation. That was that at GCID.

DISCLAIMER OF RESPONSIBILITY; strives to provide clients with the most complete, up-to-date, and accurate information available. Nevertheless, does not serve as a guarantor of the accuracy or completeness of the information provided, and specifically disclaims any and all responsibility for information that is not accurate, up-to-date, or complete.’s clients therefore rely on the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of information from entirely at their own risk. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not represent any advertisers or third parties.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2023 by

GLENN COLUSA ID – President Donald R. Bransford, Vice President Peter Knight, John Amaro, Logan Dennis and Blake Vann.

Staff: Thaddeus Bettner – General Manager, Zac Dickens – District Engineer, Jeremy Richardson – Superintendent, Louis Jarvis – Finance Director, Andy Hitchings – Attorney Somach, Simons & Dunn.


344 East Laurel Street

Willows, CA 95988


DWR SGMA # 5-021.52

From the GCID website: Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District (GCID) is dedicated to providing reliable, affordable water supplies to its landowners and water users, while ensuring the environmental and economic viability of the region. As the largest irrigation district in the Sacramento Valley, GCID has a long history of serving farmers and the agricultural community and maintaining critical wildlife habitat. The District fulfills its mission of efficiently and effectively managing and delivering water through an ever-improving delivery system and responsible policies, while maintaining a deep commitment to sustainable practices. Looking ahead, GCID will remain focused on continuing to deliver a reliable and sustainable water supply by positioning itself to respond proactively, strategically and responsibly to California’s ever-changing water landscape.


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