Lake Level 9/18/17

The lake is now at 432.18 feet - 7.82 feet below Glory Hole - down another 4 inches this week. The last time the lake was full was on May 10, 2017.  

7.82 feet down in just over 4 months = 1.96 feet drop per month.The water temperature is still a pleasant 80 degrees. 

Wqater temp 091117


Lake Berryessa Has Lost A True Friend!

Bob White Passed Away Friday, September 9, 2017.

Bob will be remembered by most of the Lake Berryessa community for his decades long efforts to preserve and improve the best qualities of the lake and of Rancho Monticello Resort.


 Celebrate BOB WHITE (July 31, 1946 - September 9, 2017)

Bob White

 Please join his family and friends for a celebration of Bob’s life!

Saturday, September 23, 2017
12:30 PM – 5:00 PM
2363 McNary Way, Woodland, CA

Bob is survived by the love of his life Lucy White and his five children, Alexander DP WhiteCassandra Chase, Robert White, Adam White and Thalia Pearce and his amazing grandchildren Jack Pierce, Alara Pierce, Wyatt Chase, Charlotte Chase and Austin White.

Please join us as we raise a glass of cheer and as we share stories of the happy times and of a life well lived. There will be appetizers and beverages, but all are welcome to bring additional fare to add to celebration!

Bob wore his amazing Hawaiian shirts everywhere and you would be welcome to honor his style and spirit by doing so for this event! Please come wearing your Hawaiian garb and bring stories, photos, and your loving experiences.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Bob’s memory to Americares, a charitable relief organization for storm victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.


Bureau of Reclamation Releases Draft Environmental Assessment For Lake Berryessa Recreation Areas Development

 After Reclamation cancelled the contract with Pensus in 2012, there was such an uproar that Reclamation created the Community Forum and started planning for a new bid prospectus to replace Pensus. They acknowledged the problems with the previous process and agreed to be more supportive in their efforts to structure the next bid prospectus to be released in 2015. For example, they created temporary concession contracts for three recreation areas: Steele Canyon, Spanish Flat, and Putah Canyon.

Between September, 2013 and January, 2014 Reclamation prepared a Market Development Plan, Conceptual Site Plans, Conceptual Designs, and Potential Market Demand and Financial Feasibility Analysis for five concession areas. 

Additionally Reclamation agreed to prepare environmental assessments (EA) for each of the areas. This was to avoid the big problem of the required environmental studies causing serious delays in the development process. When a new concessioner won a contract they were still faced with the onerous task of doing the environmental analysis before starting construction.

The EA process was a major stumbling block for Pensus since Reclamation did everything possible to make the process as complex and bureaucratic as possible. See story below - Catch-22: The Bureaucratic Double Bind Theory in Practice (May 2012)

But in 2015 Reclamation agreed to do most of this Environmental Assessment work itself ahead of time. Reclamation’s goal was to prepare Environmental Assessments, especially those needed for infrastructure construction, up to a sixty percent completion level, so the new concessioner could start rebuilding immediately. The release of this latest EA includes such a report in Appendix D: Final 60% Design Geotechnical Engineering Report (CDM Smith 2015).

In January, 2014, Reclamation held a public workshop to gather input on the Preliminary Draft Conceptual Site for Steele Canyon, Spanish Flat, Berryessa Point, Monticello Shores, and Putah Canyon Recreation Areas. The Environmental Assessment work was basically completed before and during the last abortive bid concession attempt in 2015, but never published. 

Reclamation released the Concession Bid Prospectus in July, 2015. That failed bid process, which resulted in no "acceptable" bids, generated the present efforts to get the county to take over management of the lake Recreation Areas through a Managing Partner Agreement.

The release, finally, of this Environmental Assessment (EA) explicitly supports the county's negotiation process with Reclamation to develop a Managing Partner Agreement (MPA). The draft EA is available at It includes several relevant sections.

“Reclamation intends to initiate a managing partner agreement (MPA) for management of concession areas at Lake Berryessa. The managing partner would be responsible for awarding and managing contracts for the development and operation of concession areas to commercial concession contractors. Throughout this EA the terms “concessionaire” or “concessionaires” means either or both the managing partner or the commercial concession contractor. The target goal for initiating a managing partner agreement is spring of 2018.”

“This EA provides documentation to assist Reclamation in determining whether to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the action alternative described in Chapter 2 (i.e., “proposed action”).”

“At this time, Reclamation is seeking to authorize installation of infrastructure that is ready to be constructed (i.e., sixty percent designs are ready to finalize for construction purposes, and adequate site-specific environmental analysis has been completed).”

“The EA analyzes the impacts of the proposed action and no-action alternative. Implementation of the proposed action would result in overall minimal impacts on the environment because most facilities and infrastructure would be located in previously disturbed areas.

“Standard construction measures and best management practices (BMPs) would be implemented during all construction activities to avoid or minimize environmental impacts, and mitigation measures are identified in the EA to further reduce potential adverse impacts. Cumulative impacts of the proposed action and other projects at Lake Berryessa would also be minimal through implementation of BMPs and project-specific mitigation measures. The proposed action would comply with federal environmental statutes and other authorities. Table S-1 summarizes the anticipated environmental consequences of the conceptual site plans and infrastructure plans and lists measures that would ensure minimal impacts.”

For questions on this project or to request a copy of the document, please contact Bonnie Van Pelt at 916-537-7062 or

Comments must be received by close of business Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, and should be sent to

Bonnie Van Pelt

Bureau of Reclamation

Central California Area Office

7794 Folsom Dam Road

Folsom, CA 95630-1799

Comments may also be emailed to or faxed to 916-537-7035.


Lessons from 2012 - How Far We Have Come

 Although the latest generation of the Bureau of Reclamation appears to be moving in the right direction for the benefit of Lake Berryessa, it is instructional to review what the previous generation was like. The following story from the Lake Berryessa News illustrates the unexpected problems that Pensus faced after it signed a contract with Reclamation in 2010. Pensus prepared a perfectly adequate (and expensive) Environmental Assessment which was nitpicked to bits by so-called government experts. It seems that everything Pensus proposed was obstructed by Reclamation bureaucrats (who subsequently either retired, resigned, or were promoted out of the area).

Never Forget!


 Catch-22: The Bureaucratic Double Bind Theory in Practice (May 2012)

The series of actual emails below is emblematic of the dysfunctional approach the Bureau of Reclamation is taking to any actions proposed for the redevelopment of Lake Berryessa. The resorts have existed for more than 50 years. No items of cultural or historical importance have ever been discovered within the resorts or at Oak Shores or other Bureau-maintained facilities.

Reclamation demolished more than 1,000 mobile homes and resorts facilities, and is still digging and scraping away at the remaining residue, without any substantive environmental or historical studies to support their actions. They simply filled out a short form called CEC 743, which was approved on October 11, 2007 concluding:

“Reclamation has determined that the proposed action is appropriate for Categorical Exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act 011969 (42 United States Code [U.S.C.) 4321, et seq.) based on the following information: The removal of all existing trailers and associated appurtenances within existing and developed sites at Lake Berryessa resorts involves only minor construction activities on previously disturbed land and there will be no impacts to waters of the United States.

Further, Reclamation has reviewed the proposed action and determined that there is no effect to Federally-listed species or critical habitat. A consultation with the State Historic Preservation Office has concluded that there are no affects to cultural resources under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.”

Now the BOR wants detailed studies for any action taken by Pensus, even digging a hole for a power pole, moving fence posts originally hammered in by Reclamation to eliminate dozens of campsites from use, and just about anything else. They even deny approval of the same type of Categorical Exclusion they used themselves to undertake massive demolition and ground disturbance over hundreds of acres of shoreline.

No wonder the Pensus project manager below may want to call himself Captain Yossarian when dealing with the Bureau of Reclamation. For those of you who remember the book and movie, Catch-22, we truly find ourselves in a “Catch-22” situation at Lake Berryessa! One bureaucratic justification for Catch-22 actions from the book is:

“Catch-22 states that agents enforcing Catch-22 need not prove that Catch-22 actually contains whatever provision the accused violator is accused of violating.”

This directive seems to perfectly encapsulate the local Reclamation approach and conduct. The project referred to in the email chain below is the simple digging of a couple of trenches. Read it to believe it!


From Reclamation, May 25, 2012: Thank you for your email.  Your revised project statements of May 18, 2012 have been received at both Lake Berryessa and CCAO offices (May 23rd, 2012).  As of today they have been routed for review of administrative sufficiency, followed by technical and environmental review. I have requested a time estimate for completion by the review team and should be able to provide a response to your question by COB Weds. May 30th (considering staff availability due to the Holiday weekend).

From Reclamation, May 29, 2012: I spoke with staff today as they work through their review of the revised project statements for your project. It appears there are still some questions regarding some details of the proposed project. My engineer will have his comments prepared by Thursday mid-morning. I propose a brief meeting to discuss the questions, followed by your providing a written response on the comment form we provided or other form best suited. Once all comments have been addressed, the NEPA evaluation will continue to the stage of cultural review by the Mid-Pacific Region and then State Historical Preservation Officer (SHPO). I am told we should expect a timeframe of 90 days or less for cultural review and concurrence by SHPO.

From Pensus Project Manager, May 29, 2012: Thanks for the update. When we last spoke, when the subject of NEPA / SHPO came up, I pointed out that all of the testing would effectively be performed in areas previously disturbed during the preceding 50 years of use under the former concession contracts. I thought that our discussion at that time had reached at least a tentative consensus on the conditions.

Our application includes a request that the USBR issue a Categorical Exclusion for this work, similar to numerous instances of minor work operations categorized previously by your office. I respectfully request that the nature of the work to be undertaken as well as the fact that the area has already be thoroughly disturbed be considered before launching into another lengthy period of review.

From Reclamation, May 30, 2012: I know that you and others at your company have stated that you believe the previous disturbance in the concession areas warrants relief from further review of cultural resources. I am not able to concur with this, nor have I in the past, because it is a matter of Federal and State law, and it is not my role to determine how the laws are to be implemented by Reclamation.  

My role is to obtain complete project descriptions for concession development activities and pass them to the appropriate staff in Reclamation for compliance with NEPA/NHPA. Staff specialists review the project description and other documentation, determine what level of NEPA and NHPA analysis is required and initiate that process. If significant ground disturbance will occur from the project then it will normally require review by SHPO. The review time required by SHPO is not within Reclamation’s control. Understanding this planning process and the timeframes required is key to successful project management, which is why we have provided you with flowcharts and NEPA process information.

I understand your wish to expedite this project and will do everything I can to assist in getting it approved. Having a completed cultural survey as you initially set out to do would have significantly streamlined this and other projects. In the absence of that survey, each project will have to be individually evaluated for NEPA/NHPA compliance.   

From Pensus Project Manager, May 30, 2012: I still have no official word on the status of the Project Statements themselves, but given the tone of this communication I am not expecting anything less than another re-write. At this rate, even with a perfect Project Statement, we will be denied permission to undertake even the most basic of testing for another three – four months. If this is the best that can be done for something this simple, I can only guess how difficult a real building project will be to obtain approval.   Aka: Capt. Yossarian

“Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything 

we can't stop them from doing.”


 Did You Hear the One About…

…how many bureaucrats it takes to screw in a light bulb? No, not that one – the one about how many BOR officials it takes to dig a one-foot diameter hole only four feet deep? Witnesses at Chaparral Cove last month say it was four – and it took six hours! The hole was for a PG&E pole. They would dig six inches down, then sift the dirt for Native American artifacts.

As silly as this may seem to some, there is often a good reason (and some legal requirements) to exercise care when excavating in areas that may potentially contain Native American cultural artifacts. But from a scientific point of view, the areas inside the resort boundaries, and even areas outside them, are not of significant cultural value.

This excessive bureaucratic oversight is not justified based on previous archeological studies done above the 440 foot lake level. Native Americans in the Berryessa Valley lived principally along Putah Creek, not 440 feet above it. When farmers plowed the fields in the Berryessa Valley before the dam was built, they would uncover so many primitive artifacts (simple bowls and scraping tools) they would lay them along the banks of Putah Creek to prevent erosion.

Any delays in redevelopment, such as requiring hours to dig a hole, are just nonsensical academic exercises for the Reclamation participants. Especially considering Reclamation approved the "grind it to the ground" approach originally.


From Learning to Lodging:  Napa County Supervisors Approve Vacation Rental Units On Former Lake Berryessa School Site

Back in 2009 when the Bureau of Reclamation closed and demolished five of the seven Lake Berryessa resorts, they also hammered the last nails into the coffin of Capell Valley Elementary School. Without the resorts being open to provide jobs to hundreds of local folks, student enrollment dropped.  

The Napa Valley Unified School District soon closed the school in 2010 due to lack of enough students, less than 50, to justify its continued use. Children from the local area are now bused to and from the Napa Valley daily - a long twisty ride.

Local residents created a non-profit organization to promote the use of the school site as a community center. After several years of hard work and negotiations with the school district, the group was unsuccessful. 

The NVUSD put the property up for bid and finally sold it in 2016 for $325,000 to the Pridmore family who, coincidentally, had donated the property to the school district in 1958 to create the local school in the first place. 

The Pridmore family now proposes bringing short-term vacation rental cottages to the former Capell Valley school site to help boost a struggling Lake Berryessa tourist economy. 

They filed a request with the county to build nine or so cottages on five acres of the site on Capell Valley Road near Moskowite Corners, about six miles from Steele Canyon Recreation Area.

Supervisors are considering whether the county should enter into a Managing Partner Agreement (MPA) with the Bureau of Reclamation to manage five of the Lake Berryessa resorts. 

So far the results of an economic study of the possibilities have been promising. Meanwhile the supervisors are well aware that the local economy continues to suffer.

“I’m fairly familiar with the Pridmore family,” Supervisor Ryan Gregory said. “I can’t think of a better custodian for this area.”

Supervisor Diane Dillon said the Pridmores’ idea “seems like a perfect thing to do,” given the county’s efforts to revitalize the Berryessa economy.

Although the site is designated as agricultural watershed and open space by the county’s 2008 general plan, overall, the parcel lends itself to a commercial use much more than an agricultural use. 

For the Pridmores’ proposal to become reality, the Board of Supervisors must change this designation to one allowing commercial development.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to initiate a General Plan change. Public hearings will follow by the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

Under Measure P, voters must approve most general plan changes involving the loss of agriculturally-designated land. The Capell school site is among the exceptions. It had a rural residential designation when Measure P’s predecessor, Measure J, passed in 1990, a county report said.

Principal Planner John McDowell told the Board both verbally and in writing that the site is not particularly well-suited for agriculture, nor can a winery be built there, given the county’s 10-acre minimum for winery development.

In addition, the area east of the Napa Valley toward Lake Berryessa has few lodging options. Providing more lodging there could help promote agriculture in a less-visited portion of the county, given the local link between tourism and agriculture.

With the Board’s positive vote, the Pridmores will work out their proposal in greater detail for future public hearings.


Pope Canyon Sep2017a


The Steele Park Hurricane Story Comes Full Circle

Now that the Napa County supervisors have approved moving forward with the process of potentially taking over management of the Lake Berryessa resorts, a feeling of cautious optimism is in the air. County staff are meeting on a weekly or biweekly basis with the BOR. The County plans a September release of the Request For Information and Interest (RFII) to solicit large recreation companies to invest in Lake Berryessa.

One of the conclusions of the very positive Ragatz-Sedwick report to the Supervisors last month, Lake Berryessa: An Untapped Resort Development Opportunity, was that the most attractive location to major resort companies is Steele Canyon Recreation Area, formerly Steele Park Resort, which was unquestionably the best resort at the lake.

The following story about Steele Park Resort from 2009 is meant to provide some context to the present efforts to revitalize Lake Berryessa.

Never Forget!

Feds Final Folly: The Destruction of Steele Park Resort

As the Bureau of Reclamation’s Katrina-like process at Lake Berryessa lurches on to an unknown resolution, local residents and previous lake recreation users are fed up with the Feds. This was made clear to Supervisor Diane Dillon at the latest Berryessa Highlands community meeting. Both Supervisor Dillon and Congressman Mike Thompson are clearly frustrated by their apparent helplessness to do anything about Reclamation’s lack of progress in signing the new contract for the five major west shore resorts.

The Steele Park Resort contract is especially important since it has a major impact on the water and sewer rates for Berryessa Highlands residents which appear to be headed to a minimum 82% increase by August, 2009.

Four of the resorts have been closed since the middle of last summer. Steele Park is shutting down soon and will be demolished during the next nine months. The Pensus Group was chosen last May to manage these five resorts, but Reclamation has been unable to finalize a contract with them since that time. In several public statements, Reclamation claimed that there would be a smooth transition and recreation services would be only minimally affected as the resorts were all upgraded and improved.

1.2 Steele Park Restaurant from lake before
1.3 Steele Park Restaurant after

See more photos of the destruction of Steele Park Resort at

Tragicomically, this has not happened, although the Reclamation refrain has remained, “We are making good progress and expect the contract to be signed soon.” The first such statement was made in May, 2008 and last publicly-stated deadline expired last week with no action.

Why did this happen? Follow the money. The table gives the annual revenue of each of the five Pensus-designated resorts as well as its appraised value. These figures are from public documents that were part of the bid process.

Under normal circumstances in the transition of a business ownership, the new owner would pay the previous owner fair-market value for its permanent facilities as well as for other property and equipment it might want to keep.

This approach is actually codified in Public Law 96-375: “…if a new concessionaire assumes operation of the concession, require that new concessionaire to pay fair value for the permanent facilities to the existing concessionaire.”

But this would mean that the entry cost for any new concessionaire would be $32M. They would then have to make major capital improvements costing tens of millions more. And all this for resorts that had only produced a previous GROSS annual revenue stream of about $12M. At least $4M of that revenue had been rental payments from the long-term mobile home owners - essentially pure profit since the resorts provided almost no services to those tenants.

Not only would any new owners be faced with a major capital investment program, but at the same time 37% of their pure profit was also eliminated. This is a tough financial nut to crack during a contract term set by Reclamation of only 30 years.

Reclamation’s solution to this dilemma was to re-interpret Public Law 96-375 and, despite it’s own appraisal, declare the present facilities of no value to the incoming concessionaire, and require the present resort owners to remove or demolish everything, including restaurants, motels, launch ramps, roads - back to bare ground.

3.0 Steele Park Marina before
3.2 Steele Park Marina after

In a May 19, 2008 letter Reclamation stated: “Based upon evaluation of the successful proposal and subsequent confirmation with the successful offeror, The Pensus Group LLC, Reclamation has determined that all permanent facilities in your Resort  concession area must be removed by the end of the concession contract.”

Of course, since this was impossible to accomplish by the end of contracts, which expired for some resorts in only two months. Reclamation asked for a demolition plan. At least one submitted plan gave a time-frame for completion of many years.

The fallout from this debacle has been very damaging to the local Lake Berryessa community. The resorts provided hundreds of jobs. Steele Park Resort had a payroll of 50 people during its summer operations.

When Steele Park essentially ceased most operations at the end of last year, Capell Valley Elementary School lost about 10 students, bringing its enrollment to less than 50 students. The Napa Valley Unified School District is preparing to close the local school and bus the children to the City of Napa every day. 

But the closures also impacted many local and other Napa County businesses.  Restaurants lost 40% of their business. Local service businesses also lost 30%-40%, some 50%, of their revenue.

Just one closed resort, Rancho Monticello, has eliminated approximately $500,000 worth of purchases from local and regional suppliers annually. This doesn’t include the loss to Reclamation of $105,000 per year in franchise fees from the resort.

The real tragedy is that none of this ever had to happen. During the controversial government process that led up to the present situation, several common-sense plans were proposed, LBVSPT A+ and the Resort Operators Plan, which would have accomplished the goals of  improving all the resorts without destroying them first.

At least one of the bidders for the new concessions, the Lago Group, a consortium of present concession owners and local business people, would have kept these five resorts open. But their bid was disqualified on a technicality.

Steele Park Resort was arguably the best resort on the lake. It has one of the best views from its older but well-kept restaurant. The mobile homes blended with the environment with their subdued “Steele Park grey” mandatory color. They were well-maintained with expensive interior upgrades - some selling for up to $100,000 only 5 years ago.

Their owners would have given them to the new concessionaire for free to be used as upscale short-term rentals under the new contract. Instead mobile home owners are paying $3,000 to $5,000 to demolish them and the demolition continues at a swift pace.

Steele Park does look as if a hurricane hit it. This hurricane wasn’t caused by nature but by the federal government itself. Once again real people’s lives and livelihood have been seriously damaged - with no end in site. As one local wag put it, paraphrasing a recently unknown public figure,

“Heckuva job, BORnie!”

Resort Revenue table 2009 edited-1


Big Catfish
120 Parkview Aug2017


NTSB Releases Final Report On ICON A5 Lake Berryessa Accident

Federal investigators conclude that pilot error caused double-fatality plane crash at Lake Berryessa

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its final report on the May 8, 2017, accident in which ICON Aircraft employees Jon Karkow and Cagri Sever lost their lives.

The pilot, Jon Karkow, of ICON Aircraft in Vacaville, was flying too low and mistakenly entered a canyon surrounded by steep terrain, the report stated.

It is likely that the pilot thought he was in a different canyon that led to the larger, open portion of the lake, the NTSB said.

It is likely that, once he realized there was no exit from the canyon, he attempted to perform a 180° left turn to exit in the direction from which he entered.

He climbed the amphibious aircraft to about 100 feet above the water and “accelerated hard” in an attempt to climb out of the canyon, according to a witness. Shortly after the witness lost sight of the plane, he heard it crash.

“Based upon performance information outlined in the Pilot’s Operating Handbook for the accident airplane, the airplane’s altitude above the water’s surface and its indicated airspeed, and the ridge line elevations in the area adjacent to the accident site, the airplane would have not been able to climb out of the rising terrain that surrounded the area, which led to his failure to maintain clearance from terrain,” the report reads.

ICON Aircraft has resumed customer deliveries. ICON delivered six of its A5 light sport amphibious aircraft to customers in June and July.

See full story here...


1068 Eastridge Sep2017


On The Celebration of Ignorance in 2017: 

Carl Sagan's Wisdom (From 20 Years Ago)

Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time - when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting  our  horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. 

The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

From "The Demon-Haunted World: Science As A Candle In The Dark (1996)"




by Peter Kilkus

For the 30% or so of people in this country who seem to revel in the celebration of ignorance described by Carl Sagan above, a lesson in basic American values and fundamental economics may be in order.

People come first! Years ago it was assumed that working people would share in the fruits of economic productivity increases. Wages would go up with productivity; we'd have a 4-day work week; businesses would sprout to cater to our leisure time needs.

But economic principles have been perverted as educational standards have have been driven down. Predatory capitalism has become a religion based on the premise that real people don't really count. 

Instead of the simple and fair idea that when a robot  builds something quicker, the productivity (profit) derived from the use of that robot should be shared by all the members of the company, corporations actually treat robots better than people - and all the money goes to the managers at the top.

Compensation & Productivity edited-1

Why do Americans allow that perversion of basic societal fairness? Why do narcissistic, empathy-challenged, frat boy sociopaths with a grammar school grasp of the English language steal our own money while doing nothing of real value? During my career I've known too many of these Goldman Sachs-types. They are actually proud that they got their MBAs so they could rip off the "sheep" - you and me.

FDR and his colleagues recognized this basic problem decades ago when they created Social Security and other social safety nets. Roosevelt proposed a Second Bill of Rights - an Economic Bill of Rights -  for the safety and security of United States citizens. Why don't we have these protections yet - more than 70 years later?


The Economic Bill of Rights

Franklin D. Roosevelt (Jan. 11, 1944)

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people — whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth — is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights — among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however as our industrial economy expanded — these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all - regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

1. The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

2. The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

3. The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

4. The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

5. The right of every family to a decent home;

6. The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

7. The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

8. The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.

FDR Bill of Rights


The California Boater Card Is Coming!

CalBoaterCard2017 edited-1

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, California is phasing in by age the requirement that residents who operate a motorized vessel on state waterways will be required to carry the California Boater Card. The card will be issued by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW).

The new requirement will begin on Jan. 1, 2018 for all persons 20 years of age and younger who operate a motorized vessel on state waterways. On that date these boaters will be required to carry a boater card issued by DBW, unless they meet certain exemptions.

Each year after January 2018, a new age group will be added to those who are required to possess a valid card. By 2025, all persons who operate a motorized vessel on California waters will be required to have one. 

 See full story here...


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.

LBMap & Info Summer 2017


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September, 2017

LBNews Pg 12&1 Sep17

Click to download this issue.


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.

It was the second largest annual increase in the history of the lake.

It was also the second highest level the lake has reached in its 58 year history.

The lake has only spilled into Glory Hole 26 times in those 58 years. Also the rainfall total (47.1 inches as of 5/8/17) is the highest in 20 years.

The first video shows how low the lake was 2 years ago. You should watch it before the others to get some perspective on the amazing rise of the lake in 2017.


Full lake level history 2015



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 - 2017

by Peter Kilkus

Download a PDF of the history timeline here.

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.

The Bureau of Reclamation 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.        

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

Adventure Water Drinking - The New Outdoor Sport

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

Rural Code Enforcement in Napa County


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



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The Winters Express


Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Report                       © Peter Kilkus 2017