The Lake Berryessa News Endorses 

Diane Shepp for Napa County District 4 Supervisor

Diane Shepp

Lake Berryessa Issues: Lake Berryessa needs revolutionary change to revitalize our community.

Sustainability vs environmentalism - there is a difference.

Community development and education are the primary focus of Diane's professional career as a teacher (Vichy Elementary), nonprofit administrator, fund developer, and artist.

Diane served on the Napa County Grand Jury 2007-2008 and as Pro-Tempore of the 2008-2009 Grand Jury; President of the Napa County Chapter of the California Grand Jurors Association (CGJA) 2010-2011 and 2012-15; and the Vice President of the statewide California Grand Jurors' Association 2014-15. 

Appointed by the Napa County Board of Supervisors in 2007, to the Napa County Commission for Arts and Culture, Shepp sat as Chair of the Commission 2009-2012. She has held executive positions with the John Muir Festival Center, the Napa County Arts Council, the Solano County Arts Alliance, the University Art Museum Council-University of California, Berkeley, Napa Emergency Women's Services and the Wildlife Rescue Center of Napa County.

Active at the local, state and national levels, Shepp is a founding board member of the Napa Valley Opera House Inc., Ag 4 Youth- Upvalley Ranchers, Napa Vision 2050, Protect Rural Napa and the Soda Canyon/Loma Vista Land Stewards. Shepp also served as a founding board member and Past President of the California Assembly of Local Arts Agencies; Past President of the Volunteer Council of the di Rosa Preserve: Art & Nature; Past President of Vichy Elementary Alternative PTA; served on the original faculty of Leadership Napa; and a former member of the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies Leadership Committee.

Shepp is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and the Getty Leadership Institute. A charter member of the Golden West Women Flyfishers, Shepp enjoys fly-fishing, and travel when not in her art studio.

Diane is a third generation Californian. She and her husband Alan have raised two daughters since moving to the Napa Valley in 1984.


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

We need a revolutionary strategy to stop the death spiral at Lake Berryessa.

The fifteen year failure of the Bureau of Reclamation is not based on simple ineptness, often complex ineptness is involved. But the failure is actually based more on a fatally-flawed policy at the federal level which treats Lake Berryessa as just another "lake in the country" to be dealt with as any other federal rural holding - independent of context.

Lake Berryessa is not another “lake in the country”. It is a major economic, social, and recreation resource in an urban-proximate setting whose value to Napa County and the State of California is being utterly wasted. Lake Berryessa clearly falls into the Rural Developed Setting category in the government’s own Water and Land Recreation Opportunity Spectrum Users’ Handbook (WALROS).

Old-school environmental thinking, especially at the Federal level, is pointless in this situation. After 50 years of progress, we know how to implement sustainable practices for wineries, sustainable design outcomes for lake resorts, and sustainable rural development for the good of local people.

The Federal Government needs to be fired! "You're Fired!" We need home-rule closer to the source. Napa County should take control of Lake Berryessa again. The State should do everything it can to support economic development here.

Why isn't the Napa County Board of Supervisors outraged by the economic and social damage done to the County by the Feds? Napa County should stop sitting on the sidelines - NOW!

Why have the big guns in the Napa Valley tourism and financial industries ignored the perfect location to expand their businesses and Napa County’s reputation as a premier recreation destination? Your expertise is needed - NOW!

Even Governor Brown wishes to see more rapid progress at Lake Berryessa. The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development could be a resource for revitalizing an economically-depressed Lake Berryessa region.

Why does the City of Winters care more about being on the ragged southern edge of a phony national monument with no measurable economic benefit to Winters rather than once again being the gateway to a thriving Lake Berryessa which provided enormous economic benefit to the city?

The rationale for revolutionary change is simple:

1. The federal government has shown its inability to successfully implement its own policies for decades, resulting in the destruction of a once-thriving region.

2. Knowledgeable recreation and hospitality companies have pointed out the flaws in the federal government’s contract policies, policies which would need to be changed before serious companies would be interested in the lake’s investment potential.

3. The federal government (BOR or BLM) is unlikely to change its policy on those flawed contract terms -  which is a recipe for future lack of action.

4. Napa County successfully ran the lake from 1958 to 1975. Many U.S. counties run major successful concessions - San Diego County, for example.

5. Napa County managing the resorts again is a home-rule issue which solves many problems the County has complained about for decades - cost of public services with no financial return - Sheriff patrol costs, for example. One supervisor infamously called the lake a “black hole in the County budget”.

6. There are several precedents for the BOR turning over management of the land portion of their water projects to local jurisdictions, Elephant Butte, New Mexico, for example.

The parties who could help create a framework for this revitalization of Lake Berryessa are:

1. Napa County Board of Supervisors;

2. The State of California - through Bill Dodd, State Assembly/Senate member and previous County Supervisor for part of Lake Berryessa;

3. Visit Napa Valley, leader of the Napa tourism industry;

4. Congressman Thompson, needed to effect change at the congressional level; 

5. Sally Jewell, Interior Secretary, who could be the top-down advocate for this change and who is familiar with Lake Berryessa from her work on the National Monument.

Simply put, the federal government owes the Lake Berryessa community and Napa County BIG TIME. Napa County owes the Lake Berryessa community BIG TIME for its lack of action over the decades. Napa County managing Lake Berryessa in partnership with Napa Valley tourism professionals is the best opportunity for a Renaissance Lake Berryessa. Let's start NOW!

CeCe Parkview 051116


Through the Government Looking Glass: What The WALROS Says!

(with apologies to Lewis Caroll)

The Bureau of Reclamation developed a Water and Land Recreation Opportunity Spectrum Users’ Handbook (WALROS) which defines various forms of recreational settings. Lake Berryessa clearly falls into the Rural Developed Setting:

“A rural developed area is beyond a metropolitan area and the suburban ring of development. Rural developed areas may serve as “bedroom” communities for urban areas and may contain working farms, ranches, and towns. In this setting, primary road networks are common. Although development will be prevalent and common, the setting has a pastoral sense because of an interspersing of forests, water resources, hills, valleys, canyons, wetlands, open spaces, and agricultural lands. Naturally appearing shoreline edges are common, although various water controls or other structures are also common...

Recreation use, diversity, socialization, concentration, sense of security, and conveniences are less common than in a developed suburban or urban setting. The sights, sounds, and smells of recreation and non-recreation use are common, yet interspersed with locations and times when the urbanized visitor may experience a sense of tranquility and escape from everyday challenges. Examples of rural developed areas include areas with country estates, second homes and cabins, dams, power stations, primary and secondary roads, communication lines, resorts, marinas, small communities, full service campgrounds, county and State parks, farms, ranches, and small commercial and industrial establishments.”

"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:

Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--

Of cabbages--and kings--

And why the sea is boiling hot--

And whether pigs have wings."

Why is Lake Berryessa Missing Out?

California's Napa Valley draws thousands of national and international tourists each year.  Napa Valley continues to be one of the strongest resort submarkets in California, driven by healthy demand.... With the recovery and resurgence of the regional Bay Area economy, largely led by the technology sector, area residents have increased discretionary spending related to travel, particularly for drive-to destinations like Napa Valley. 


Marty rack card 050916


Lake Level Status as of 5/11/16

The lake level is now 410.15 feet - 29.85 feet below Glory Hole. The lake continues to drop about an inch per day. Its high point this year was 411.08 feet on 4/8/16 - down 10.1 inches since then. The lake level at this time last year was 409.26 feet, 1 foot lower than today.

Rainfall was .45 inches last week bringing the season total to 24.57 inches of rain at Monticello Dam (about average).

At the present level Lake Berryessa holds 1,031,966 acre-feet of water, which is 64.6% of it’s 1,600,00 acre-feet capacity.

Lake Level MarMay2015-16


1145 Rimrock


Share the Road Goes Both Ways

During any local discussion of bicycles on Lake Berryessa roads, motorists express annoyance at having a bicyclist impede their progress.  Some truly odd stories come up. The one that sent chills up my spine was about the lady who rode with her baby in a bicycle sidecar that stuck out into the highway although she was riding on the right side of the road.

Each year in California, more than 100 people are killed and hundreds of thousands more are injured in bicycle collisions. Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations.

The Lake Berryessa Chamber of Commerce has initiated a bicycle safety project since bicycles are a fact of life at the lake and both bicyclists and drivers need to understand the rules. But the Golden Rule is: Exercise Patience! Slow Down and Think!

The law says that people who ride bikes must ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable except under the following conditions: when passing, preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, if the lane is too narrow to share, or if approaching a place where a right turn is authorized. Unfortunately, some motorists and even police don't understand cyclists' right to "take the lane."

The driver of the motor vehicle that is overtaking or passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway from passing at a distance of less than 3 feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator. 

State law has never guaranteed motorists a right to pass whenever or wherever they want. Motorists may only pass when it's safe to do so. Technically, motorists cannot cross a double yellow line to pass a bicycle. However, police have the authority to exercise discretion when enforcing the law and have consistently said they are unlikely to ticket a motorist who straddles the double yellow line to provide three feet of clearance, provided they do so safely and carefully.

Bicyle Nuisance


Lake Berryessa Watershed Partnership

2016 Lake Berryessa Boater Outreach

Lake Berryessa provides drinking water for nearly 500,000 people and provides year-round recreation opportunities for tens of thousands of people each year. Lake Berryessa water also serves farmers and businesses downstream. Even the local Budweiser Brewery and Jelly Belly factory contract for Lake Berryessa water!

To protect this important resource, the Lake Berryessa Watershed Partnership   provides a Summer Boater and Visitor Education Program. Every summer, seasonal interns provide person-to-person water quality stewardship education to boaters and shore visitors at locations all around the lake.

The fight engine fluid pollution prevention through a free oil-absorbing bilge pad dispersal and exchange project.

Their larger-than-life mascot, Bilgee, the Protector of Clean Waterways regularly visits sites around the lake.

They provide support in preventing introduction of the invasive quaaga and zebra mussles to Lake Berryessa through boat screenings and boater education.

LBWP 2016 interns
Bilgee & Baby


Lake Berryessa Has More Than Fifty Bass Fishing Tournaments Annually

According to fishery biologists, length of the day and water temperature are what determines the spawning cycle in largemouth bass. Many fishermen believe the moon phase plays a major role in the spawning, but biologists will tell you there is no scientific evidence to back that up. 

Bass eats trout


World Environment Day 

Sunday, June 5, registration at 9:30 a.m., Group Clean Up 10 a.m.-12 p.m. 

Meet near Markley Cove Resort, past Monticello Dam 

Join Reclamation Park Rangers and the Lake Berryessa Watershed Partnership for a fun lakeshore clean-up event. Volunteers will help clean up trash and debris along trails and the shoreline at the south end of the reservoir. This is a great opportunity to earn volunteer hours while spending the afternoon in a beautiful outdoor setting! Please wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots and bring work gloves, a hat and sunscreen. Those who pre-register by May 22 will receive a free World Environment Day shirt. To pre-register, please contact Marianne Butler, Environmental Education Program Manager at the Solano Resource Conservation District, at 707-678-1655 ext. 114 or

WED Poster 2016


Read the Latest Print Edition Here.

LBNews Pg 8&1 15May16
LBNews Pg 2&7 15May16
LBNews Pg 6&3 15May16
LBNews Pg 4&5 15May16


Lake Berryessa History 2010

The Bureau of Reclamation has destroyed family recreation at Lake Berryessa for a generation of children. 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.    

How Could the Government Have Done Something So Stupid?

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.

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".


Reclamation Announces Spring 2016 Events and Park Ranger Interpretive Programs at Lake Berryessa

All activities will be held rain or shine and are free of charge. Some programs have group size limitations, so please contact the Park Ranger Office regarding availability. Participants should wear sturdy shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather and bring water and sunscreen. Children are welcome, but those under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Dufer Point Visitor Center

April 1 through September 11: Weekends and holidays 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Weekdays Noon-3 p.m.

Park Rangers are available to answer questions about natural resources, recreational opportunities, wildlife and the area’s history. Brochures, maps, trail guides and other educational information are available free of charge. Contact the Park Rangers at 707-966-2111 ext. 113 for information about park events, hikes, kayak tours and educational programs.

Meet a Park Ranger at Monticello Dam!

Saturdays (Starting April 23) 12-3 p.m., Monticello Dam Overlook Parking (Highway 128, 9 miles west of Winters)

Ever wonder why Lake Berryessa was created? How much water it holds? What was there before the reservoir? Where the water goes? Get answers to these questions and more when you meet a Park Ranger at Monticello Dam every Saturday throughout the summer. Stop by any time between 12 and 3 p.m. to learn fun facts about this essential water resource. Please contact a Park Ranger at 707-966-2111 ext. 113 with questions.

Bird Inventory

Saturday, May 21, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Meet at Monticello Dam Overlook Parking Lot

Get a little exercise, learn some local history and tally Berryessa’s bird species all at the same time! Join Ranger Todd Eggert and visit Berryessa’s three dominant vegetation regions while inventorying resident and migrant bird species. Participants will carpool or caravan the length of the lake, stopping for short walks. Experienced and beginning birders are welcome. Bring binoculars and water, wear sturdy shoes, and dress in layers. For details, directions and/or to RSVP, please contact Ranger Todd Eggert at 707-966-2111 ext. 113 or



Lake Level Fifty Year History

Full lake level history 2015

****                       © Peter Kilkus 2016