Congressman Thompson’s Lake Berryessa Town Hall Meeting Draws Large Concerned Crowd
It is always difficult to summarize an hour and a half of spirited discussion. More than a hundred local area residents packed the Capell Valley Fire Station on Octobr 25th to discuss the future of the Lake Berryessa region. Thanks to the Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce for organizing this important meeting.
The crowd clearly seethed with anger at the federal government’s handling of the Lake Berryessa situation and distrust of the motives behind the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area proposal. But, by the end of the meeting many questions were answered and promises made, which now need to be translated into actions.
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area
After being pounded by heated questions and comments concerning government intentions regarding private property included in the NCA map and concerns regarding the future of motorized recreation at Lake Berryessa, Congressman Thompson promised to change the bill’s language before reintroduction next year.
Specific language clearly stating that private property is not included in the NCA will be added. He will ask that the controversial map created by the Bureau of Land Management be modified to clearly show that private property is not included in the NCA. He will also include specific language to permanently allow motorized boating on Lake Berryessa.
Bureau of Reclamation Actions Regarding the Pensus Contract
Don Glaser, Regional BOR Director, discussed the details of the Pensus issue and said that the mediation process did not result in an agreement. The Reclamation members of the mediation team recommended to him that the Pensus contract be terminated. He hopes to make the final decision by the end of the month, aka next week.
He detailed the legal requirements he must consider to make a final correct decision that is in the best interests of local residents and the wider recreating public, and complies with the contractual rights of Pensus.
After the decision is made public, Glaser stated that Reclamation will hold several public meetings to explain the final decision and discuss the next steps. He will be creating a new Reclamation team to manage lake development issues. He also apologized for the chaos at the lake and lack of information. He promised to create a Stakeholders’ Advisory Committee to meet monthly with Reclamation to provide local input to the future lake development process.
His statements and apparent sincerity regarding issues so important to the local community reassured many of those in attendance. Glaser also remained for more than an hour after the formal meeting ended to continue to answer questions and give as much information as he could within the legal limits under which he is operating.
Of course, actions speak louder than words and we’ve heard this all before – remember “seamless transition”? Hopefully this disastrous multi-year “learning experience” will finally result in a positive outcome.