Lake Level as of 5/25/18

The lake level continues to drop slowly and is now at 432.8 feet - 7.2 feet below Glory Hole. 

Rainfall total season-to-date remains at 14.84 inches. Last year at this time the rainfall total was 47.1 inches and the lake had dropped to 4 inches below Glory Hole.

Water temperature has risen to 72 degrees at the surface.



 Saturday, June 2, 2018 9am-4pm

 Sunday, June 3, 2018   9am-1pm

 4380 Spanish Flat Loop Rd., Lake Berryessa


 100°/o of Proceed Sales to Benefit the

Lake Berryessa Senior Center & Community Hall



 Come mingle & join the fun!

 If you would like to donate items and receive a donation receipt, please call CeCe 707-337-0224

CeCe furniture ad


No On Measure C

When Good Science Goes Bad - Or Doesn’t Go Anywhere At All

by Peter Kilkus

As a practicing physicist for much of my career, I obviously love science. I’m particularly annoyed when science is manipulated to support political goals, especially when those political goals have nothing to do with the science. This is particularly true of the so-called “Oak Woodlands” Initiative on the June ballot as Measure C. 

Despite applehood and mother pie statements about the environmental benefits of oak woodlands, this initiative is simply an anti-winery, anti-vineyard, anti-growth measure. 

At its core this battle is between dueling visions of what Napa Valley should be - preservation vs. development, growth vs. quality of life. You’ll notice that the initiative is about Napa Valley, not Napa County, and especially not about Lake Berryessa. However, it will have the unintended consequence of negatively affecting Lake Berryessa and other rural property owners.

It is also the resurrection of the similarly specious 2005 initiative called the "Stream Setback Ordinance" which was defeated by the voters. This new initiative attempts to reanimate the previous stream setback goals while adding onerous rules regarding tree-cutting without compelling environmental benefits. 

It then obfuscates its main goal within a forest of words designed to appeal to environmentally-unsophisticated voters in the urban areas where the majority of the votes exist. Again it will negatively affect east County and Lake Berryessa property owners with no benefit attached.

Voters should read the original initiative if they actually care about the outcome. 


It’s complex and convoluted and impacts the General Plan, zoning regulations, and more. 

A one page report from the Napa County Counsel is an easy read: 


Those who care enough and have more stamina should also at least scan a complicated but thorough 79-page report: 

Legal Analysis of Napa County Watershed and Oak Woodland Protection Initiative of 2018.(Download pdf here…)

Sometimes a position is not wrong, it’s just not right. Yes on C proponents are correct that uncontrolled, even controlled, new development in Napa County is not the economic boon that so many support. There are serious negative consequences to the quality of life in the valley.

Most of the profits go to the large corporations or wealthy business owners, and most of the new jobs go to people who can’t afford to live in Napa County. Every new job creates a new commuter. But Measure C is not the answer.

Measure C establishes an arbitrary annual 795 acre limit (retroactive to January 1, 2017) on tree removal after which special permits will be required for activities or projects on privately-owned parcels of land within the Agriculture Watershed district that are greater than one (1) acre.

You’ll need a permit from the county to cut a tree. And on privately owned parcels within the AW district that are greater than one (1) acre, the County shall require replacement of lost oak trees or oak woodlands, or permanent preservation of comparable habitat, at a minimum 3:1. If you cut a tree for firewood or to improve your view, you have to plant three trees somewhere else!

Another problem with this type of measure is that is basically unenforceable. The County will only respond to complaints. Measure C allows neighbor to turn on neighbors with anonymous complaints to county officials.

Any rural property (and even some urban lots) can be classified an "oak woodland" since “oak woodland” is defined in the initiative as an oak stand with a greater than ten percent canopy cover. An oak stand consists of at least two (2) oak trees of at least five (5) inches in diameter, measured at 4.5 feet above mean natural grade. A parcel may contain one or more "oak woodlands”.

Arre we 2 tree edited-1
An oak woodland copy

What’s a bit bizarre about this definition is that it gives no guidance about how far apart the two trees must be nor how far apart any two trees need to be from another two trees for them to be considered one or two “oak woodlands”.

This definition of a two tree oak woodland does not appear to be used anywhere else in the initiative. It implies that you can cut down any single oak tree without a permit as long as it is far enough from any other oak tree so that it is not considered a “woodland”. But that's not what the measure says. 

Although the target species appears to be oak trees, the measure also calls for the amendment of the Napa County code to require a permit for removing any species - not just oaks.  SECTION 4: NAPA COUNTY CODE AMENDMENTS. D.5:  “Tree removal” means causing the death or removal of any living tree of any species that is five (5) inches or more in diameter, measured at 4.5 feet above mean natural grade, by cutting, dislodging, poisoning, burning, topping or damaging of roots.

One tree edited-1
Am I an...

A county report says oak woodlands cover 167,000 acres – about 33 percent – of the county. The Atlas, Tubbs and Nuns wildfires last October burned about 30,000 acres of oak woodlands. Newspapers have reported that millions of trees burned. 

This may be a silly question, but if limiting the removal of trees to only 795 acres a year and oak woodlands are so critical to the water, soil, and human survival in Napa County, why have the Measure C proponents not clamored for an emergency task force to address the major disaster facing Napa from the loss of 30,000 acres in one week? That’s 38 years worth of trees destroyed at the 795 acre per year limit of Measure C! Armageddon in Napa Valley!

Protecting the so-called oak woodlands around Lake Berryessa is unnecessary since the area (and Napa County itself) is already one of the most protected in the state. Lake Berryessa is factually the cleanest lake in northern California.

Another consideration supporting a No on C vote is that the proponents of the Zombie Tax (Measure Z), defeated by the voters in 2016, are lurking in the wings observing the outcome of this election. If Measure C wins it gives them hope that they could try for another parcel tax vote in the future to fund the Napa Regional Park and Open Space District (RPOSD) to the tune of many millions of dollars. The RPOSD has proven itself to be of marginal benefit to Napa County and basically no benefit to the Lake Berryessa region.

How many

Any future funding considerations should be aimed at the revitalization of Lake Berryessa. We are very close to a better future for the lake.


You know summer is here when the Monticello Ski Club opens!

Digital Version copy


Taking Children on their First Fishing Trip (to Lake Berryessa)

Sid collage



Lake Level as of 5/7/18

The lake level continues to drop slowly and is now at 433.69 feet - 6.31 feet below Glory Hole. 

Rainfall total season-to-date remains at 14.84 inches. Last year at this time the rainfall total was 47.1 inches and the lake was still 1 inch above Glory Hole.

Water temperature has remained at 65 degrees at the surface.


CeCe May2018 original


30 Years Ago in the Lake Beryessa News 

by Bill White (1988)

If it ain’t true, it oughta be…

I remember my father (William C. White retired park ranger from the Berryessa boat patrol) telling the story several times about boaters on Lake Berryessa saying that when the lake levels are low you can still see the old church steeple protruding from the lake water. One fisherman even said that he had tied his boat off to the old steeple and fished away the afternoon.

Well let’s straighten thisout once and for all. There is no Church under Lake Berryessa. There was no Church in Monticello. Regardless, everything over six inches high was knocked down and burned before thevalley was flooded.  It is just a tall tale...Folklore of the area.

Why, I remember back in1969 I was scuba diving in the area of the Monticello Dam and saw catfish the size of Volkswagens in that deep dark water.

It's true!

RecentlyI met a tourist fisherman at a local tavern and told him of seeing those big catfish which I swore to him weighed at least 150 lbs. The tourist then told me that he too was a scuba diver and that just that day he had been at the old church steeple diving down into the old town of Monticello. 

The tourist said he had actually swum into the old general store there and was amazed at how everything was still in place after all these years. He said it was just as if the townsfolk had just walked away from it leaving all in place. He noted that even a kerosene lamp was sitting on a table in the store and after three decades the lamp was still burning!

After regaining mycomposure, I told him that if he would turn off that kerosene lamp I would cut 245 lbs. off the catfish I saw. He said he would. 

So, if you see a church steeple out on the lake, please, let someone else drive.


Notes from the Napa County Sheriff: What is suspicious activity?

"Am I witnessing a crime?" Most of us have found ourselves wondering this at some point or another. However, because we're not really sure, we tend to ignore what we have just seen and, hoping it wasn't so, we continue about our business.

People aren't suspicious, behavior is! Always consider the context for what you are witnessing and remember there may be a simple explanation for activity that at first glance appears suspicious. Here are behaviors that may be associated with criminal activity:

-Someone walking down the street looking into multiple vehicles and/or trying door handles to see if the doors will open.

-Someone taking a package from someone else's property (keep in mind that sometimes neighbors leave or pick up packages for other neighbors).

-A person who is not your neighbor walking about your neighbor's home and looking into windows, or trying to gain access by forcing open a window or door.

-A person knocking on your door and asking to speak with someone who does not live there and who may also go to other homes knocking on doors. This is a tactic used by people with the intent to burglarize to see if people are home. (Keep in mind that people may mistakenly go to the wrong home.)

-Someone claiming to represent a utility company who is either not wearing a uniform, does not produce identification upon request, or does not have a company logo vehicle.

-Someone using binoculars or other devices to peer into your or your neighbors' homes.

-At night, a person sitting inside a vehicle that you do not recognize with the lights off for extended period of time.

-A pushy salesperson not producing identification upon your request or asking to come into your home.

-A vehicle you do not recognize that is circling multiple times around the neighborhood.

Remember, if you think that a crime may be occurring, or that the safety of you or your neighbors may be at risk, don't hesitate to call 911. You shouldn't worry about using up police time. Calls to 911 will be prioritized based on availability of law enforcement. Your call could be the one that lets us put a stop to the break-ins or a crime streak in your neighborhood. We are happy to check things out!


4312 SpanFlat Loop May2018


The Lake Berryessa Senior Center & Community Hall

A Community Resource for All

The Center is a self-supporting, non-profit organization. We have regular monthly dinners and events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, the annual Crab Feed, summer BBQs, bingo, and various fundraisers.

Please join the Lake Berryessa Senior Center to support the Lake Berryessa community during this time of positive change at the lake. There is no age requirement to become a community support member. Families and children are welcome.

Please send your contact information and a check for $25 per person (children are free) made out to Berryessa Senior Citizens and mail it to:

 Lake Berryessa Senior Center,

Spanish Flat Village Center

Unit # 9113

Napa, CA 94558


Community Hall Rental Policy

$250 per day for non-members

$100 refundable cleaning deposit

Proof of $1M liability insurance policy


$150 per day for members

$50 refundable cleaning deposit

($100 Discount: Benefit of membership)


Reservations need to be made in advance:



CeCe furniture ad


2018 WED Flyer v3


4780 Berryessa Knoxville May2018


2018 Recreation Season Begins at Lake Berryessa

The Bureau of Reclamation announces summer hours and programs for the 2018 recreation season at Lake Berryessa.

Reclamation Facilities are Open

Starting April 1, 2018, Park Rangers will staff the Dufer Point Visitor Center from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Stop-in with your questions about visiting the lake, volunteering with our new birding program, or upcoming events.

The north end of Oak Shores Day Use Area will re-open for day use on April 1. Oak Shores opens daily at 7:30 a.m. throughout the year and is free of charge.

Closing hours will gradually increase as follows:

April 1- May 4: 5 p.m. weekdays, 8 p.m. weekends.
May 5- September 30: 8 p.m. weekdays and weekends.
Once repaving is complete, the Capell Cove Boat Launch will be open from 4 a.m.-10 p.m. and is free of charge.

Make Your Reservations

Beginning May 1, 2018, Oak Shores Day Use Area offers six large group shade shelters at Acorn Beach, Foxtail Flat and Coyote Beach. Group shelters can be reserved for groups of up to 50 for $25, per shelter per day, at http://www.recreation.gov. For more information, or to organize a larger event, please contact the Lake Berryessa Park Ranger Office at 707-966-2111 ext. 113.

Markley Cove Resort, Pleasure Cove Marina, Steele Canyon Recreation Area, Putah Canyon Recreation Area, and Spanish Flat Recreation Area offer services including camping and boat launching. For information on concession-operated facilities, or to make reservations, please call the concession operators or visit their websites:

• Markley Cove, 707-966-2134, markleycoveresort.com

• Pleasure Cove Marina, 707-966-9600, goberryessa.com

• Steele Canyon Recreation Area, 707-966-9179


• Spanish Flat Recreation Area 707-966-0200, spanishflatcamping.com

• Putah Canyon Recreation Area, 707-966-9051, royalelkparkmanagement.com.

Plan for a Safe Visit

For those boating this year, familiarize yourself with the California Boater Card program. As of January 2018, boaters 20 years of age and under are required to possess a valid vessel operator card. Boaters may apply for the $10 card from the California Division of Boating and Waterways at: http://californiaboatercard.com/applynow/ .

All Coast Guard and State of California rules for navigation and boat operation apply and are strictly enforced by the Napa County Sheriff’s Office. For more information on preparing for a successful day on the water, read the Division of Boating and Waterways ABCs of California Boating which can be found at https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=28711

Here are some tips to stay safe in the water this summer:

• All swimming at Lake Berryessa is at your own risk.
• Never swim alone
• No lifeguards are present at Lake Berryessa
• Everyone should always wear life jackets and be supervised near water
• The reservoir bottom is uneven and features sudden drop-offs
• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that up to 70 percent of adult and adolescent water recreation deaths are alcohol related. Sun exposure and heat compound to intensify alcohol’s effect on balance, coordination and judgement, so please use caution. For more details: https://www.cdc.gov/…/water-sa…/waterinjuries-factsheet.html.

Both child and adult-sized life jackets are available for the public to borrow, free of charge, from Oak Shores Day Use Area.

Campfires are only permitted within campfire rings in established campgrounds. Personal charcoal barbecue grills are not allowed anywhere at Lake Berryessa. Those wishing to barbecue with charcoal must use the grills provided in established campgrounds and Day Use Areas. For more information on safely using campfires and barbecues this year, please visit: http://www.preventwildfireca.org.

Join the Fun

Reclamation is looking for motivated individuals to join our team of employees and volunteers who keep Lake Berryessa running throughout the year. Look for our job and volunteer announcements throughout the year at www.usajobs.gov and www.volunteer.gov.

For more information, please contact the Lake Berryessa Field Office at 707-966-2111 ext. 113, or visit the Lake Berryessa website athttps://www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/berryessa/


1085 Headlands Apr2018


May, 2018

May 2018

Click above to download this issue…


Welcome to the best map of Lake Berryessa you’ll ever find!

Click on the map to see a larger version.

Click here to download a pdf copy.

1 Lake Map Base 082317


Lake Berryessa Fills and Glory Hole Spills: The Video History

This amazing series of Lake Berryessa News Drone videos by Evan Kilkus documents the 45 foot rise of Lake Berryessa in 2017.



Full lake level history 2015
Lake Levels 2006 to 031217 edited-1



Berryessa Valley and the Town of Monticello Historical Photos and Videos from before Lake Berryessa covered it.

Berryessa Valley photo

Thanks to Carol Fitzpatrick for creating the Berryessa Valley Exhibit at the Spanish Flat Village Center described in the first video.




1958 - 2018

by Peter Kilkus

How Could the Government Have Done Something So Stupid?

Download a PDF of the first 180 pages of the book here....



Without THE LAKE BERRYESSA NEWS there would be no Lake Berryessa News…and finally there would be no definitive history of what happened at Lake Berryessa. Having participated directly for more than twenty years as an advocate for the lake in the fiasco that was the Bureau of Reclamation’s Visitor Services Plan, its farcical but tragic outcome, and the process of rebuilding, I have very strong views of the causes and results - supported by facts and data which were mostly obfuscated by the proponents of the destruction of the lake’s residential and business community.

The Bureau of Reclamation and their supporters destroyed family recreation at Lake Berryessa for a generation of families, children, and friends. Many people ask me about the history of the process that led to the present situation at Lake Berryessa. When I explain what happened most become incredulous and can't believe the government could have done something so stupid. "How could they have gotten away with that?" they exclaim.

The goal of this book is to provide the history and the context within which such an incredibly destructive course of action took place.

The initial timeline shows a condensed history of the process. The next section tells the story through the eyes of Lake Berryessa News articles. With the permission of the Napa Register, a parallel history is presented through contemporaneous editorials, articles, and letters to the editor from the Napa Register.

This book is not a traditional academic exercise in historical exposition. Academic historians define history as presenting facts without expressing any opinion or analysis of the events whereas memories are comprised of emotions that can have a great influence on the perception of an actual event. Critical historians live by the old saying of "there are two sides to every story and then there is the truth."

I’m more interested in the narrative approach to defining this history. Almost two decades have passed since this story began, and Lake Berryessa history has been created with every day of that twenty years.

This book is the raw, as-it-happened, unfiltered picture of what many of us lived through. It is organized chronologically; focused on a single coherent story; primarily descriptive but also analytical; primarily concerned with people but also the abstract circumstances in which they find themselves. To me a big part of the fascination with any history is trying to discover what was going on inside people's heads in the past, and what it was like to live in that past.

The future is finally looking brighter for Lake Berryessa. History continues to unfold.

Peter Kilkus, Lake Beryessa, 2018


Table Of Contents

Lake Berryessa History Timeline

How It All Began: The Origins of the “Big Lie”

Will History Repeat Itself In Reverse? What Happened in 1975?

Notice of Intent: Solano Project--Lake Berryessa; Napa, California

The “Big Lie” Continues: Task Force 7 Protests Reclamation’s Unjustified Negative Propaganda

The Facts Fight Back: What You Need to Know About the Battle for Berryessa

Local Businesses Fight Back: Chamber of Commerce Critique of Draft Environmental Impact Statement

Residents Fight Back: More Than 900 Unleash Scorn on Reclamation Plan

The Perversiopn of Public Law 96-375: Demolition Hardball by the Bureau of Reclamation

Reclamation Defends Unjust Requirement to Demolish ALL Existing Facilities At Lake Berryessa

The Pensus Years: The Lake Berryessa News View

Pensus: The Short Story That Was Actually A Fantasy

Pensus Signs Berryessa Contract – Begins Facilities Development – Announces Resort Openings

Springtime at Lake Berryessa: Pensus in Bloom?

They’re Off Like a Herd of Turtles! Bureaucracy at Berryessa

Lake Berryessa: When Do Past Memories Actually Become “HISTORY”?

Goodbye 2011: Another Year of Process Without Progress! Will 2012 Be Any Better?

A Lake Berryessa Midsummer Night’s Dream (With Apologies to William Shakespeare)

Applehood and Mother Pie! What’s Right, What’s Wrong, and Why

Catch-22: The Bureaucratic Double Bind Theory in Practice

Seasons, Cycles, and Radical Change: Chaos Theory - Lake Berryessa Style

Floundering About at Lake Berryessa (This is not a fishing story.)

SNAFU, FUBAR and BOHICA: Deciphering Berryessa’s Ancient Rock Sculpture at Steele Park

Feds Final Folly: The Destruction of Steele Park - Public Law 96-375’s Unintended Consequence

A Modest Radical Proposal: Transfer Management of Lake Berryessa to Napa County

A Path Forward To Revitalize Lake Berryessa: Fire The Feds!

Open Letter to the Federal Government: Get Out of Lake Berryessa!

Napa County and the Bureau of Reclamation: Working Together to Rebuild Lake Berryessa?

Will 2017 Be Lake Berryessa's Lucky Year?

Milestone Achieved! A Positive Report on the Potential Future Rebirth of Lake Berryessa!

The Future of Lake Berryessa Looks Brighter, But The Sun Also Rises A Bit Slowly

Napa County Releases Lake Berryessa Request For Information & Interest

Lake Berryessa History Through Napa Register Articles    

Lake Berryessa History Through Napa Register Editorials

Dueling Napa Register Letters To The Editor 


Here's an interview I did in 2010, three years after the interview below with Pat Monaghan and just after Pensus had been given the contract for 5 resorts. As we all know Pensus was subsequently kicked out in 2012.        

Here's a 2007 TV interview with Pat Monaghan, cofounder of Task Force 7 at Lake Berryessa, to give you some historical insight. Those of you who remember Pete Lucero will recognize his description of what we called "The Big Lie" - which turned into the "Epic Fail".


Some Interesting Past Stories

No On Measure C: When Good Science Goes Bad - Or Doesn’t Go Anywhere At All

A Tale of Two Aircraft Tragedies - Twenty Years Apart

Reclamation Releases Final Environmental Assessment (EA) For Lake Berryessa Recreation Areas Development

"Holes In History" at Lake Berryessa: Simple Incompetence, Fervent Ignorance, Malicious Arrogance

Who Will Run The New Lake Berryessa Resorts?

2017: The Year In Review Through Lake Berryessa News Headlines

Christmas Calls To Action For The Survival 

Of The Human Race

The Great Lake Berryessa (Atlas) Fire of 2017

Atlas Fire Timeline From The Berryessa Highlands

What Is That Red Stuff Falling From The Sky?

Circle Oaks Fire - The Great Escape

Lake Berryessa Boater Outreach Program: Summer 2017

Download full report pdf here...

Lake Berryessa 1971: Controversy Begins (Oakland Tribune)

My First Fishing Trip on Lake Berryessa

The Destruction of Steele Park Resort

Analysis of the Creation of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument - the Dumbest National Monument in the United States

Napa County Wildfire Awareness Resources

Lake Berryessa History: The Summer of Love (1967) versus The Summers of Chaos (1998-1999) 

Exciting New Game Fishing Opportunity at Lake Berryessa

Rattlesnakes: Friend or Enemy – or just a primal fear?

Algae at Lake Berryessa


Special Publications

Final Ragatz Report (75MB PDF)

Ragatz Summary Recommendations (75 KB PDF)


Conspiracy Theory Or Automatic Pilot: The Economic Roots Of Environmental Destruction        

By Peter F. Kilkus 

Download PDF of this report (2 MB)


The Amazing Foods of Chef Neiman Marxist

Chef Neiman Marxist French rev1


Winters Express logo

The Winters Express




pKilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2018