TO SAFE LEVELS AT LAKE NACIMIENTO*
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.
*THIS PETITION CAN BE SIGNED ONLINE AT nrwmac.org OR savethedragon.org
NACIMIENTO REGIONAL WATER MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE
This is an important issue regarding the Lake area Rangers at both Lake Nacimiento and San Antonio.
The rangers serve the lake area both on and off the water. Most of us know, if you call the local sherif it will take 45 min or more for an officer to arrive. To the contrary, the Rangers show up in minutes.
There has been confusion on an action taken by Monterey regarding the rangers. It has been reported by rangers and others that the ranger positions at the two lakes were being eliminated. The report was that some positions were being terminated permanently and the ones left were going to be servicing the North part of Monterey county. This caused a firestorm of residence contacting District 3 supervisor Simon Salinas’s office at Monterey who resides over this issue as its in his district. Contact Monterey Here
The first reports back from Monterey and the lake info line was that it was true and no rangers would be on either lake this year. Because of complaints from residences Simon Salinas had a second meeting with the Rangers. It is reported that Monterey softened their position and would possibly consider some limited ranger coverage at the lake, some jobs eliminated and those remaining would spend most of their time in the North part of Monterey county. This prompted more complaints to Simon Salinas office. One caller reported Simons assistant told one caller Monterey wasn’t responsible to the Nacimiento people as they don’t vote in Monterey. Contact Monterey Here
Jeff Greene informed us that Simon Salinas returned his call. Mr. Salinas agreed that it was predictable the attendance at the lake this year would be very high because of the lake level. Mr. Greene informed Mr. Salinas he felt it would be gross negligence not to have a full staff of rangers at the lake. Mr Salinas agreed. He said he would be recommending to the board of supervisors to keep the rangers at the lake. He did say that when there were large public events like a concert or the like in other parts of the county the rangers might be needed for that event but then sent back to the lake immediately. Thereafter. Mr Salinas said that even though he will give the recommendation to keep the rangers at the lake full time he warned that the full board of supervisors make the final decision by vote which is coming up in just a few weeks. He recommended citizens contact all the board with their support to keep the rangers. With that said Monterey is having a homeowner meeting regarding the tunnel project. They have invited only the homeowners over the tunnel. Monterey will be discussing the tunnel project. Contact Monterey Here
Because we have limited ways to communicate with Monterey, homeowners might want to attend the homeowners meeting to voice their displeasure with the Ranger situation. The meeting is at Lake Nacimiento Dragon Grill at 1:30 pm. Simply showing up in force will help get the message to Monterey that the people of the lake demand proper security. Also since Monterey collects significant income from the lake, which is in San Luis Obispo County, it would seem a conflict of interest for them to take those funds collected and send them to Monterey for other Monterey projects vs paying the rangers for the security at the lake with lake money. Contact Monterey Here
As a side note: This last week there was a car accident between the two lakes. The rangers were there within minutes aiding the driver and controlling traffic. Without rangers it would have been a very different situation. Over the years Monterey has drastically reduced the County Ranger staff to only 6. We can't loose more Rangers. Contact Monterey Here
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM NRWMAC **updated**
Lake Nacimiento was originally designed to provide irrigation water and flood control, as well as recreation, by Monterey County, which built the 210-foot earth-fill dam to create the reservoir in 1956. Much of the lake water is diverted each month to: 1) Monterey County, to provide irrigation primarily for farmland; 2) municipalities in San Luis Obispo County for their own use, including drinking water, and 3) the Salinas River, where it finds its way, eventually, into the ocean. Although the borders of Lake Nacimiento are entirely within the confines of San Luis Obispo County, the waters are controlled by Monterey County, which, unfortunately, has displayed precious little concern for the economic or social impact that its management of the lake has had, and continues to have, on property owners, visitors and lake enthusiasts.
Because of this, the Nacimiento Regional Water Management Advisory Committee (“NRWMAC&rdquo was organized in 1989 to try to correct some of the problems associated with Monterey County’s management of the lake. NRWMAC holds a seat on the Monterey County Water Resources Agency Reservoir Operation Committee (“Res. Ops.&rdquo. This committee meets monthly and advises Monterey County on lake operations, maintenance, and other issues regarding both Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio. At least one NRWMAC Director travels to Salinas to attend this monthly meeting. We have a strong voice on your behalf because of the support and donations that you provide.
NRWMAC wants to alert you to a serious matter, which was revealed to us at the most recent Res. Ops. meeting in Salinas: Monterey County’s stated intention to remove the Rangers from Lake Nacimiento (and Lake San Antonio) as of July 1, 2017, and reassign them exclusively to parks in Monterey County. Their plan is to replace the Rangers with untrained, unarmed, minimum wage, security guards who will have no law enforcement authority. In fact, these security guards will not even be physically on the lake; instead, they will patrol the campground at the resort marina.Contact Monterey Here
In times past, the number of Rangers on both lakes exceeded 30. Over the years, due to budget cuts in Monterey County, that number has been reduced to its current level of eight. It takes a minimum of three Rangers in order to put one Ranger boat on the lake (two Rangers in the boat and one Ranger at the resort marina). With shift coverage and days off, it takes at least seven Rangers in order to keep a boat on the lake.Contact Monterey Here
The Rangers are the only full-time law enforcement authority on the lake. They perform many vital functions, including, but not limited to, the following: Citing and arresting intoxicated boaters; citing reckless boaters; performing Quagga mussel permit inspections and citing violators; maintaining center line channel buoys to keep boaters from running aground; being a deterrent to dangerous behavior by their visible presence; providing emergency services in case of a catastrophe like the Chimney Fire, the two drownings last summer, or a boating accident; and providing a deterrent to gang activity, which seems to be spreading.Contact Monterey Here
Monterey County knows both lakes will be very active this year because of the water level. Boaters pay Monterey County $100 per vessel for a yearly lake permit; dock owners pay $60 for each dock. Yet, although Monterey County continues to collect these fees, its current plan is to eliminate the remaining Rangers, and along with them, any hope of real security at the lake.Contact Monterey Here
NRWMAC is working on several action plans to remedy this situation. We have already sent a letter to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, which has the ultimate authority on this issue, insisting that it reconsider the decision to remove the Rangers from the lake or, in the alternative, assign Monterey County Sherif deputies as necessary law enforcement. We have mailed copies of the NRWMAC letter to, among others, Mr. John Peschong, San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors; Ms. Rita Neal, SLO County Counsel; and Mr. Jesse Avila, Monterey County Counsel. We are communicating regularly with other individuals in order to develop strategies in the event our entreaties to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors are ignored. In the meantime we are spreading this message to as many of you as possible.Contact Monterey Here
For more information about NRWMAC and the issues we are working on, such as Quagga mussel control, lake level maintenance and the inter-lake tunnel, please visit our website: http://nrwmac.org but make sure to contact Monterey and let them know your opinion. Contact Monterey Here