The Lake Berryessa News

Your Information Gateway to Lake Berryessa and our Napa Back Roads!

At its regular monthly meeting on January 12, 2015, the Board of Directors of the Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce voted to oppose the creation of a so-called Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument (BSMNM). The Board's primary concern was the potential negative impact of the designation on Lake Berryessa and its business and residential communities.

 

The Bureau of Reclamation is set to release a new bid prospectus in April for the renovation of five of the seven recreation areas which border the lake. This is critical to the revitalization of the Lake Berryessa region. The BSMNM proposal could potentially limit the number of bidders for the contracts because of the uncertainty of future federal governance at the lake.

 

Although the main proponents of the designation, Tuleyome, an environmental group headquartered in Woodland, California, and Congressman Mike Thompson, have publicly stated that Lake Berryessa itself would be removed from the proposal "because it is not of historic or scientific value", the Board still had serious concerns.

 

Is Lake Berryessa really off the map? Does that mean the water surface only? All the land bordering the lake to a certain distance from the shoreline is owned by the federal government and administered by the Bureau of Reclamation. Does this land have "important values" to be protected by limiting access to the lake around the shoreline?

 

Another concern is the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument proposal map. It is a geographically and ecologically incoherent patchwork of federal parcels. Lake Berryessa is not even geographically connected on the map to the rest of the proposed National Monument, which stretches far into Northern California. The eastern boundary of the map is coincident with the borders of Glenn and Colusa counties.

The reason is political, not ecological. The Glenn and Colusa County supervisors strongly opposed the original NCA. Because of that, the "National Monument" doesn't even include the whole Snow Mountain Wilderness nor even most of the Mendocino National Forest. Why is the proposal even called "Berryessa Snow Mountain"?

 

Fundamentally, the Board believes there are no compelling reasons to create this National Monument and encourages its members to also voice their opposition to the proposal to President Obama and Interior Secretary Jewell.

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Please send your letter of opposition the so-called Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument to President Obama, and especially to Secretary Jewell. You may write a letter and mail it (the long way), or you can go to the listed web site link and enter your comments directly. The DOI site allows longer comments. The White House site is limited to 2,500 characters so you’ll need to be brief.

The Sample Long letter below will fit on the DOI site. The short version will work on the White House site.

President Barack Obama                                                                    

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, D.C. 20502

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Secretary Jewell                                 

Department of the Interior

1849 C Street, N.W.

Washington DC 20240

http://www.doi.gov/feedback.cfm

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Sample Long version for snail mail or DOI web link

Dear     ,

I write to request that you do not create the so-called Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. My primary concern is the potential negative impact of the designation on Lake Berryessa and its business and residential communities.

The Bureau of Reclamation is set to release a new bid prospectus in April for the renovation of five of the seven recreation areas which border the lake. This is critical to the revitalization of the Lake Berryessa region. The BSMNM proposal could potentially limit the number of bidders for the contracts because of the uncertainty of future federal governance at the lake.

Lake Berryessa does not meet doesn’t meet the basic criteria to become a National Monument. The Antiquities Act states that National Monuments should contain “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” and be “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

Although the main proponents of the designation, Tuleyome, an environmental group headquartered in Woodland, California, and Congressman Mike Thompson, have publicly stated that Lake Berryessa itself would be removed from the proposal “because it is not of historic or scientific value”, I still have serious concerns.

Is Lake Berryessa really off the map? Does that mean the water surface only? All the land bordering the lake to a certain distance from the shoreline is owned by the federal government and administered by the Bureau of Reclamation. Does this land have “important values” to be protected by limiting access to the lake around the shoreline?

Another concern is the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument proposal map. It is a geographically incoherent patchwork of federal parcels. Lake Berryessa is not even geographically connected on the map to the rest of the proposed National Monument, which stretches far into Northern California. The eastern boundary of the map is coincident with the borders of Glenn and Colusa counties. The reason is political, not ecological. The Glenn and Colusa County supervisors strongly opposed the original NCA. Because of that, the "National Monument" doesn't even include the whole Snow Mountain Wilderness nor even most of the Mendocino National Forest. It is a geographically incoherent patchwork of federal parcels. Why is the proposal even called “Berryessa Snow Mountain”?

Although proponents claim that a National Monument designation could have a positive economic impact, detailed studies of several National Monuments found none of the predicted increases in economic activity. And economic development is not why national monuments should be created in the first place.

Fundamentally, there are no compelling reasons to create this National Monument.

Respectfully,

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Sample Short version for White House link

I write to request that you do not create the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. My primary concern is the potential negative impact of the designation on Lake Berryessa and its business and residential communities.

The Bureau of Reclamation is set to release a new bid prospectus in April for the renovation of five of the seven recreation areas which border the lake. This is critical to the revitalization of the Lake Berryessa region. The BSMNM proposal could potentially limit the number of bidders for the contracts because of the uncertainty of future federal governance at the lake.

Lake Berryessa does not meet doesn’t meet the basic criteria to become a National Monument. The Antiquities Act states that National Monuments should contain “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” and be “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”

Another concern is the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument proposal map. It is a geographically incoherent patchwork of federal parcels. Lake Berryessa is not even geographically connected on the map to the rest of the proposed National Monument, which stretches far into Northern California. The eastern boundary of the map is coincident with the borders of Glenn and Colusa counties. Because of that, the "National Monument" doesn't even include the whole Snow Mountain Wilderness nor even most of the Mendocino National Forest. Why is the proposal even called “Berryessa Snow Mountain”?

Although proponents claim that a National Monument designation could have a positive economic impact, detailed studies of several National Monuments found none of the predicted increases in economic activity. And economic development is not why national monuments should be created in the first place.

Fundamentally, there are no compelling reasons to create this National Monument.

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Winters Chamber Releases Flawed National Monument Economic Benefits Report - Proves There Is No Real Benefit to Lake Berryessa From a National Monument Designation

The recently released economic analysis of the impact of creating a Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is highly flawed and makes an amazing number of assumptions and comparisons that are not relevant to Lake Berryessa, Winters, or Napa.

Also it is not what the news stories claimed. Everyone seems to think it affects Winters the most. It actually says that the benefit to the whole National Monument at the high end is only $50M cumulative over 5 years - $10M per year stretched over hundreds of miles of landscape and many "gateway" communities - Williams, Maxwell, etc., etc ....The low range is only $33M over 5 years - about $6M per year.

Lake Berryessa itself had a gross revenue of more than $15M per year and hundreds of jobs when it was a fully-operational recreation destination with 7 full-service resorts and many local businesses.

If you read the report critically, the summary shows that current visitation to the WHOLE AREA TO BE DESIGNATED is only 1.1M visitors per year. The report also admits that the highest visitation to Lake Berryessa itself was 1.8 M visitors in one year. We know that visitation averaged about 1.2-1.3M people per year when the lake was fully operational. The report estimates that current visitation to Lake Berryessa is 500,000 visitors per year, which seems a bit high.

The report also uses a bit of ingenuous reasoning on page 23, “Factors Influencing the Designation Effect.” That section alone contradicts the basis for the whole report’s optimistic conclusions. It admits that the Bureau of Reclamation expects visitation to rise to previous levels, but states that the rise would be due to “potential” capital investments. Of course! That’s the basis for the new Bid Prospectus to be released in a few months. That capital investment is not in doubt. But then why is the recovery of the lake considered a benefit of the name change to a National Monument. You can’t honestly add the known economic benefit which will occur anyway to the potential benefit you predict for a National Monument designation! More economic dishonesty known as “cooking the books” in polite economic circles.

The bottom line is that if Lake Berryessa alone opened for business the way it was, the financial benefits would far outstrip anything that could possibly accrue to the WHOLE NATIONAL MONUMENT based on a name change. The report estimates that the total number of jobs provided at present in the whole BSMNM is only 600 (page 2). The increase in new jobs after 5 years would be only and additional180 (page 3). There were already more jobs in the greater Lake Berryessa region alone during a good year.

Lake Berryessa and Winters do not need a National Monument designation to increase economic benefits. They need Lake Berryessa back up and running. And if the lake were back at full steam, there is no way a simple name change would make any significant effect on our economy.

But more importantly, using economic benefits as a criteria for creating a National Monument is dishonest. National Monuments ARE NOT created to be economic benefits to rural communities but to “conserve, protect, and restore nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of current and future generations.”

If money is so important why not simply sell naming rights. Our Senators and Representatives have already sold us out often enough.

Google Snow Mountain National Monument

IBM Cache Creek Wilderness

City of FedEx Winters

Napa Citibank County

The report is available at: http://winterschamber.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/BSM-Economic-Impact-Final-Report.pdf


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Gov. Brown Names Napa City Councilmember Alfredo Pedroza to Replace Bill Dodd as District 4 Supervisor: A New Political Face at Lake Berryessa

  

On December 29, 2014 Gov. Jerry Brown announced Napa City Councilmember Alfredo Pedroza as the new District 4 Supervisor. Pedroza replaces former Supervisor Bill Dodd, who vacated the seat after his election to the State Assembly earlier this year. Pedroza will attend his first meeting as District 4 Supervisor on Tuesday, Jan. 6. 

“The Governor made an excellent choice,” said Board Chair Mark Luce. “Alfredo is a bright young man, and I welcome his talent and energy. I expect he will represent the County well. The Governor’s decision is also timely, as this gives us a full Board to address a number of important decisions in the coming year.” 

Pedroza, 27, is one of the youngest to ever serve on the Board of Supervisors and will represent District 4, which includes the southeastern portion of Napa County stretching from northeast City of Napa to the southern shore of Lake Berryessa. 

He was elected to Napa City Council in November 2012 and was the first Latino councilmember. Pedroza, a lifelong Napa resident, is a graduate of Sonoma State University, where he holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a minor in Economics. 

He and his wife, Brenda, another Napa native, plan to raise a family here. He currently works as an assistant vice president at Mechanics Bank.

Cong. Thompson’s public meeting in support of a Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument was simply staged political theater choreographed down to the detail of bussing in supporters from remote locations to small children reading letters to the Secretary of the Interior about their wonderful outdoor activities in the region. As cute as the kids were, their comments were irrelevant to the issue of a National Monument since their experiences would not change in the future. They were visiting completely protected areas that would continue to exist whether part of an NCA/National Monument or not.

Valid scientific arguments were made about the uniqueness of some of the plant ecology in the area. But most of those biological “hot spots” are already protected as part of federal land. Private land would not be included in a National Monument so protecting those “hot spots” on private land would require negotiation with property owners. This is already an ongoing project that is part of the agenda of Blue Ridge Berryessa Partnership and UC Davis.

At times the meeting reached heights of political satire worthy of a Saturday Night Live skit. But fundamental issues were never addressed.

What about Lake Berryessa itself? Many of us have proposed that Lake Berryessa be taken off the NCA/National Monument map. The day before yesterday’s meeting, the proponent of the original failed Lake Berryressa NCA proposal, Bob Schneider of Tuleyome, wrote in the Napa Register:

“Rep. Thompson and national monument proponents are advocating that Lake Berryessa itself should not be included in a national monument and there be no impact on lake management and operations or recreational use. We are also advocating that existing federal public lands surrounding the lake that have important values should be protected as part of a national monument.”

The same day an Associated Press article in the New York Times stated:

“Lake Berryessa, already popular with water skiers, anglers and house boaters, would not be included in the national monument designation because it is not of historic or scientific value, an aide to Thompson said.”

What does this double talk really mean? This subject was not addressed at the meeting. Is Lake Berryessa really off the map? Does that mean the water surface only? All the land bordering the lake to a certain distance from the shoreline is owned by the federal government and administered by the Bureau of Reclamation. Does this land have “important values” to be protected by limiting access to the lake around the shoreline? Any federal land put into a National Monument would automatically be given to the Bureau of Land Management. How would this potentially affect the contracts for the redevelopment of the old resort areas under the new bid prospectus being released by the Bureau of Reclamation in a few months?

Most opponents of this proposal agree with Yolo County Supervisor Matt Rexroad, who voted against a resolution endorsing a national monument designation. He was quoted in the New York Times article: “He said the federal government already administers all the land, which makes it easy to stop any unwanted commercial development. He said he has never seen proof the designation is necessary.”

One of the silliest things about the Berryessa Snow Mountain Nat'l Monument proposal is the map. The "National Monument" doesn't even include the whole Snow Mountain Wilderness nor even most of the Mendocino National Forest. The reason is political, not ecological. The Glenn and Colusa County supervisors strongly opposed the original NCA. A little photo shop overlay work shows that the National Monument map avoids those county borders intentionally. Why aren't the environmental advocates protesting this "oversight" of worthy territory?

Political theater without any substance is not is not a way to run a democracy, especially when it can potentially negatively affect so many people.

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Lake Level Update: 1/5/15

The elevation of the spillway (Glory Hole) at Monticello Dam is 440 feet msl. The water is now 31.76 feet below the top of the spillway at 408.24 feet. The lake has not risen during the last week. No rain.

Lake Berryessa has had a total rainfall of 13.34 inches since 7/1/14.

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A Quadcopter Trip to Check Out Low Water at Lake Berryessa, Dec 2014
14 Stops in 12 Minutes

http://youtu.be/5d-WIJcmu60

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If you want to see how low the water is at California's largest reservoirs, check out this great video that sums up the old question... Is the glass half full, or half empty?... in the case of the California water supply, less than 30% of capacity means neither. PLEASE LIKE & SHARE THIS VIDEO TO SPREAD THE WORD TO ALWAYS CONSERVE WATER.

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Lake Berryessa Photos: Rainbows and Glory Holes

Quadcopter Shot from the Berryessa Highlands, December 4, 2014 by Evan Kilkus

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Lake Berryessa does not meet the basic standards of an NCA. And it especially doesn’t meet any criteria to become a National Monument. The Antiquities Act states that National Monuments should contain “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” and be “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” Lake Berryessa meets neither criteria and clearly falls into the “Rural Developed Setting” under the government’s own Water and Land Recreation Opportunity Spectrum Users' Handbook (WALROS) quoted below. This designation should immediately exclude it from National Monument or NCA consideration. Read full analysis here...

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Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area/National Monument Controversy
Historical Analysis of the Issues - How We Got Here

This analysis was written two years ago, but is as valid now as then, especially in light of the subsequent controversial campaign to create a National Monument instead of the NCA. This history is important to an understanding of the political issues involved and potential practical impacts on the Lake Berryessa recreation, business, and residential communities.

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Welcome to the Legendary Napa Valley!

Aerial Video by Evan Kilkus

NapaEvan@Yahoo.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7up1qiuwN4

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Open Facilities

Markley Cove Resort, Pleasure Cove Marina, Steele Canyon Recreation Area, Spanish Flat Recreation Area and Putah Canyon Recreation Area continue to be open and offer a variety of recreation services. For information regarding operations and services offered at concession-operated facilities, please call the concession operators or visit their websites:

Markley Cove: 707-966-2134, www.markleycoveresort.com

Pleasure Cove Marina: 707-966-9600, www.goberryessa.com

Steele Canyon Recreation Area: 707-966-9179, www.goberryessa.com

Putah Canyon Recreation Area: 707-966-9051, www.royalelkparkmanagement.com.
For questions, please contact the Lake Berryessa Field Office at 707-966-2111 ext. 0.

Please visit the Lake Berryessa website at http://www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/berryessa/index.html for additional information.

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Carol Fitzpatrick has developed a great new Facebook for the Berryessa Valley History Exhibit at the Spanish Flat Village Center with some interesting photos and personal stories about the Berryessa Valley and Town of Monticello before the Monticello Dam was built in 1958.

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The Lake Berryessa News Archives (2005 - 2012)

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Peter Kilkus, Owner/Editor
1515 Headlands Drive
Napa, CA 94558
pkilkus@gmail.com, 415-307-6906
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Last Update on January 18, 2015

Copyright © 2015

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Monticello Rodeo Video1

Monticello Rodeo Video2

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Big Ass Truck

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