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Petition to Prohibit the Proposed Water Released at Lake Naciminto

Petition to Prohibit the Proposed Water Releases at Lake Nacimiento

Water Release News from the San Luis Obispo Tribune

Below there is an article that appears in the San Luis Obispo Tribune as well as a followup Letter to the Editor


The original article can be found

Nacimiento has lost half its water — and other SLO County reservoirs are down, too
February 27, 2018 05:51 PM
Updated February 27, 2018 07:09 PM
Less than a year after emerging from five years of parched conditions, another dry winter is taking its toll on San Luis Obispo County reservoirs.
As of Feb. 22, most of the county had slipped back into severe drought conditions,
according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. As a result, the region’s reservoirs are all down from this time last year, with some losing substantially more water than others.
Lake Nacimiento, Lake San Antonio and Santa Margarita Lake have all lost significant amounts of water since early 2017.
Lake Nacimiento was 96.5 percent full on Feb. 23 last year. On Monday, it was at 40 percent of capacity, according to the Monterey County Water Resources Agency.

Lake San Antonio was 31 percent full on Monday, compared to
46 percent on Feb. 23 last year. Monterey County manages the two lakes, although Lake Nacimiento is located in San Luis Obispo County.
“It’s Mother Nature,” said Brent Buche, deputy general manager for the Water Resources Agency. “It’s rainfall — it’s lack of rainfall.”
Even though officials release water from Lake Nacimiento to recharge the Salinas Valley aquifer and preserve fisheries, Buche said the agency hasn’t released more water than normal.

“Our releases were not excessive of any other year,” he said.
Santa Margarita Lake in the North County has lost about a fifth of its water — to 79.8 percent capacuty from 101.2 at this time last year.
“We were in a worse state last year,” said Ray Dienzo, the county’s supervising water resources engineer. “The two miracle rain months raised it past 100 percent.”
Rain is in the forecast for San Luis Obispo County this week, but Dienzo said it might not do much for the area’s lake and reservoir levels.
“I wouldn’t expect there to be much of a rise from this little rain,” he said. “The ground still needs to be saturated.”
Still, some of the county’s reservoir levels held steady, in spite of the lack of rain.
Whale Rock Reservoir near Cayucos was 72.7 percent full as of Feb. 21. The water level is down only slightly from last year at this time, when it was 73.5 percent full, according to Noah Evans, the reservoir supervisor.
Lopez Lake was at 50.2 percent of capacity on Monday, down just 6 percentage points from last February, when it was 56 percent full.

Evans said Whale Rock hasn’t lost much water because the region continued to get rain into late spring in 2017 and the reservoir wasn’t drawn down very much throughout the rest of the year.
“Last year, we were still filling up the tank, so to speak, through May,” he said.
Evans said he’s not too worried yet, as there’s still “quite a bit of fuel in the tank.”
“We’d like to see the reservoir full all the time,” he said. “... I can worry all I want — I still can’t make it rain.”


The original article can be found here
Monterey County has some explaining to do about Lake Nacimiento
March 07, 2018 08:44 PM
If the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, which controls all the water in Lake Nacimiento, had a motto it would be: “If you don’t like what we did before, wait until you see what we do next.”
This lake is currently at 40 percent of capacity; a year ago it was at 96.5 percent. Why has it gone down so much? Brent Buche, the deputy general manager of the Water Resources Agency, blames “Mother Nature,” what with the nasty drought and all.

That might be true if Mother Nature controlled the spigot and dumped 60 cubic feet of water per second from the reservoir into the Salinas River. But it wasn’t Mother Nature who did that, it was Buche and his cohorts in Monterey County. By the way, a water release of 60 cubic feet per second (60 cfs) amounts to 36 million gallons per day.
And guess what they’re planning next? The Water Resources Agency is going to ramp up the release of water to 295 cfs by mid-March, and up to 450 cfs from April through the middle of July.
Make Monterey County explain this. And don’t let them blame Mother Nature.

Monterey County Rangers - 2018 NRWMAC Release


We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens and residents who demand that a minimum of seven full time Monterey County Park Rangers be redeployed exclusively to Lake Nacimiento and surrounding areas. We believe that seven Park Rangers constitute the minimum staffing level necessary to enforce the law, to provide safety for locals, visitors, camping and boating, and to protect the lake waters from invasive mussels.

Over the previous two years, the Monterey County Parks Department has reduced the number of Park Rangers and other Parks Department employees on Lake Nacimiento to a dangerously low level. In the past, there were as many as 30 Park Rangers patrolling Monterey County parks, including Lake Nacimiento. Now there is only one Park Ranger on patrol at all of these parks, and comes to Lake Nacimiento on only a part-time basis.

This must change. Park Rangers are responsible for law enforcement and perform many vital functions, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Citing and arresting intoxicated boaters;
  • Citing reckless boaters;
  • Citing boaters who do not possess daily or annual passes;
  • Performing invasive mussel permit inspections and citing violators;
  • Providing emergency services in case of a catastrophe, such as fires, drowning and boating accidents;
  • Maintaining channel buoys to keep boaters from running aground; and
  • Being a deterrent to dangerous behavior by their visible presence.

It takes a minimum of three Park Rangers in order to put one Park Ranger Boat on the lake (two Park Rangers in the boat and one at the Resort Marina). With shift coverage and days off it takes at least seven Park Rangers in order to keep a boat on the lake. Campers pay Monterey County as much as $47.00 per night to stay at the resort; boaters pay $100.00 per vessel for a yearly lake permit; day use is $10.00; and dock owners pay $60.00 for each dock. Monterey County continues to collect this money yet fails to provide the safety and security we rely on for our fees.

Unfortunately, there have been a number of deaths on the lake caused by reckless and/or intoxicated boaters, resulting in accidents and drowning. Thefts and gang activity are on the rise. Boaters are using the lake without fear of having to provide proof of either a mandatory mussel inspection or an annual or daily pass. On a busy weekend there can be hundreds of campers and thousands of boats on the water. When there are no Park Rangers it becomes a virtual free-for-all. And word is getting out. For some, it might seem welcome news that law enforcement has been so severely depleted, but for the great majority of us who use the lake, it is entirely unsatisfactory. We want and need to know that in the event of an emergency or catastrophe that there are trained people available to help. We expect to have our lake waters protected from the devastating effect of an irreversible infestation of invasive mussels. We demand full time Park Rangers be returned to Lake Nacimiento at the staffing levels necessary to provide for our safety and to enforce the law.