Napa County to hold roundtable discussions

Sharing ideas for a community vision

Napa County will host a series of local meetings throughout the valley to gather input and ideas for a community vision that can help shape the Board of Supervisors priorities. Meetings will be conducted in English and Spanish.

·March 23: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., McPherson Elementary School multipurpose room, 2670 Yajome St.,Napa;

·March 25: 10 a.m. to noon, American Canyon High School cafeteria, 3000 Newell Dr., American Canyon;

·March 28: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Calistoga Community Center, 1307 Washington St., Calistoga;

·March 30: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School multipurpose room, 1316 Hillview Pl., St. Helena;

·April 4: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Yountville Elementary School cafeteria, 6554 Yount St., Yountville.

The roundtable discussions follow the board’s strategic planning retreat, which highlighted current and future opportunities and challenges the county faces. “This is about coming together to look at the bigger picture of Napa County,” said County Executive Officer Leanne Link. “The impact of our work touches everyone’s lives.” 


Monticello Ski Club 2017


Students at the Pope Valley Elementary School had a fun presentation on Friday, March 17, learning about how the Lake Berryessa News tells the stories of the region and keeps a historical record for all. Also of course, they got a LB News Drone demonstration. This video is for all the students and fans of the Pope Valley Elementary School. What a great place to be inspired!

Here is some information form the school website http://www.pvk8.org/:

"Pope Valley Elementary School is the smallest and most isolated school in Napa County. It is a single-school district whose board consists of local volunteers, three of whom also volunteer for the local fire department. Pope Valley Elementary School serves about 60 students from kindergarten to the eighth grade. While students typically matriculate to St. Helena High School, students may attend any high school when leaving Pope Valley.

The students at Pope Valley Elementary School are taught in four classes with experienced and highly-qualified teachers, instructional aides, and a dedicated support staff. One of the aides manages the after school program while the other is one of two bus drivers. The school’s 5th-8th grade language arts and social studies teacher also serves as principal and superintendent.

We Believe in Character Development Education

Pope Valley Elementary School will be expanding its focus on character development education during the 2016-2017 school year. The school has adopted the Six Pillars of Character and the Character Counts! program. Students in all grades will learn about the six traits: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. They will learn how their actions and words affect others and how having a strong character leads to success."

Pope Valley School sticker


Bass Fishing Is Great at the Lake!

THANKS to the 33 Teams that fished the 5th event of the Bib & Tucker Berryessa Bass Tournaments Circuit for the 2016-2017 Season on March 12, 2017 and hosted out of Markley Cove.

We had a great blast off and the time change was not a problem. The morning was warm again, and it feels like Spring now! Main lake is finally starting to get better visibility, but then comes an algae bloom!

The main lake is the place to be fishing! Teams reported catching fish on jigs, spinnerbaits, drop-shot, and crankbaits. PJ & John are leading the AOY race. Will anybody gain ground on points? This tournament, the answer is NO!

With the bladed jig the primary weapon in a shad pattern, First Place went to PJ Bruggeman Jr and John Pearl with a great sack that weighed 23.79 lbs and a 6.90 lb kicker for 2nd Place Big Fish. With a 9.60 lb kicker for 1st Place Big Fish, Second Place went to Will Wyman and Ben Jacobs who brought in heavy sack that weighed 20.62 lbs.

Third Place went to DJ Webber & Chuck McCartney with a solid sack that weighed in at 19.55 lbs. With a Fourth Place finish, Scott Green and Chad Matteri weighed in a nice 19.08 lb sack. Finishing in Fifth Place, with a sack of 17.76 lbs was Ryan O’Shea and Luke Lipanovich. Weighing a sack of 17.42 lbs for Sixth Place, was Mike Nichelini and Carl Keller. Seventh Place went to Devin Dick & Toby Farkas who weighed in 17.38 lbs. With a 5.41 lb kicker, John Maes and Troy Daniels had sack of 16.65 lbs. First out of the money with a River2Sea $100 Certificate went to Greg Bunting and Marshall Blevins with a 15.72lb sack.

We had a great turnout and THANK YOU to all the teams for supporting the 2016-2017 Bib & Tucker Berryessa Bass Tournaments Circuit! Thanks to our Sponsors: P-Line, Ficelle’s Bistro, Tomat’s Restaurant, Kasoku Teriyaki & More, Dobyns Rods, Battery Systems, Pisani’s Automotive, Markley Cove, and CE Ranch, Buckhorn Restaurant, Todd’s Custom Rod Art, Hisui, Marty’s Boat Rental, A-Rig-Wrap, Buckhorn Grill, Pro Cure, Bay Tackle, Putah Creek Café, LEBCO, Bib & Tucker Bourbon, River2Sea and Navionics!

See you all on April 9, 2017 (Sunday)! Email or call office phone if you have any questions (530)794-6085 Duke---<)Xx<

1 guy bottle
2 guys 4 bass
2 guys 5 fish


Help Plan the Future of Lake Berryessa by answering this survey.

This is a repost of a previous request. The survey has been closed for a couple of days because more than 2,000 people responded in less than a week! It has now been re-opened. We are requesting your assistance by completing the following on-line survey. We hope to reach people who may not have seen it a few days ago. Please share it widely. Thanks



Lake Berryessa Takes A Full Breath of Fresh Water

Glory Hole Goes Viral!

Lake Berryessa is almost a living creature. It breathes in and out, grows and shrinks. But it breathes water not air and breathes in during the winter and out during the summer. Actually it is always breathing out a bit through Monticello Dam all year long.

The last time the lake took a full breath was January, 2006 when the level reached 443.5 feet above mean sea level (msl). For the last ten years the lake has breathed out more than in, it’s shallowest breath occurring in October 2016 when the lake level dropped to 398.6 feet. Look at it now.

On February 21, 2017 Lake Berryessa finally took another big deep breath and reached its second highest lake level in history - 443.6 feet msl - a  45 foot rise - the second fastest rise in its 58 year history.

This was above the highest lake level in 11 years. It was only 3.1 feet lower than the highest level in lake history - 446.7 feet in 1983 - 6.7 feet above Glory Hole.

The fastest rise was 61 feet in 1995 - and the lake never even got to Glory Hole level that time. The lake level has only reached Glory Hole 26 times in 58 years.

Rainfall total as measured at Monticello Dam has risen to 41.5 inches as of 3/8/17. This is the second highest amount in 20 years with the 97-98 season hitting 46.3” and 40.6” during the 05-06 season.

Lake Berryessa and our Glory Hole (Morning Glory) Spillway became  famous nationally and worldwide during February due to the amazing drone videos by our Lake Berryessa News Drone piloted by FAA-certified drone operator Evan Kilkus.

Lake Berryessa has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, on CBS This Morning and more.

The two latest Lake Berryessa News Drone videos have gone viral on YouTube reaching 2,668,000 views and 494,000 views respectively.



Glory Hole Spill Watch History

Lake Berryessa water washed over and into the Glory Hole on Feb. 12, 2017 at 1:45 PM for the first time in 11 years! Granted it was helped by California Marine Sports wakeboard boats on a beautiful, clear sunny Sunday, but before anyone objects that this doesn’t count, we were MAKING history.

It was REAL Lake Berryessa water flowing over the lip of Glory Hole. And it was also a bit of good fun the large crowd on hand. Feel the Lake Berryessa spirit after all these years of government turmoil.

2/16/17: Lake Berryessa "officially" hit 439.9 feet - 1 inch below Glory Hole at 7 PM! Wind pushed some small waves over the lip. We really didn’t count this because the lake level was not at 440 feet. The water was just below the lip.

2/17/17: Lake Berryessa  OFFICIALLY HIT THE TOP of the Glory Hole Spillway, 400.0 feet, at 1 A.M! It went back to 439.9' at 3:30 A.M. and back to 440' at 5:45 A.M. It was stable at 440.0' as of 6 A.M.

2/21/17: Lake Berryessa hit 443.6 feet, 3.6 feet above Glory Hole, the second highest level in history.

Glory Hole Dam high
Glory Hole Drone dry wet edited-1
Dam outputs both
Outputs Flowing1


Why Does Lake Berryessa Exist?

Many people still think that the lake was created as a water recreation resource. This is not true. The Solano Project, which includes the Monticello Dam, Putah Diversion Dam, and the Putah South Canal was created primarily for agricultural irrigation. The secondary purposes were for municipal (drinking water) and industrial uses (brewing Budweiser beer) in Solano County.

The federal government never expected the lake to be used for recreation. The recreational benefits are considered a bonus, not a goal. Napa County gave up all rights to the use of Lake Berryessa water. Only small amounts are used to supply the residential developments, such as the Berryessa Highlands and others, around the lake.

CeCe 910 Cape Cod 030917


Who Owns Lake Berryessa?

The United States Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is the owner of the Solano Project which includes Lake Berryessa, Monticello Dam, Lake Solano, Putah Diversion Dam, Putah South Canal, and Terminal Reservoir. 

The Solano Project was built and funded by Reclamation (federal government), but the original loan has been fully paid off by the Solano County Water Agency (SCWA).

The Solano Project is a locally managed project, but Reclamation has the ultimate oversight responsibility, and conducts periodic inspections of all the facilities. SCWA holds the master contract with Reclamation for the operation of the Project. SCWA then contracts the Solano Irrigation District (SID) to assist with the daily operations.

SCWA has a long-term Operation, Maintenance, and Replacement Agreement (OMRA) with Reclamation from the buoy line in front of Monticello Dam down to the Terminal Reservoir. Terminal Reservoir is located in Green Valley at the end of Reservoir Lane.

SCWA conducts extensive monitoring of flows, stage levels, reservoirs levels, weather data, and other operations-related activities for the Solano Project.  SCWA is also the water wholesaler for the Solano Project, with long-term water rights agreements with Solano Irrigation District, Maine Prairie Water District, UC Davis, Vacaville, Fairfield, Suisun City, Vallejo, and Benicia.


Valley Internet color



Sunrise Solar quarter page


Forever Resorts or Suntex Marinas: Who Owns Pleasure Cove?

Rumors have been circulating for several months that Suntex is buying Pleasure Cove. Many people, including Pleasure Cove staff, believe that Suntex is already the new owner. This is not accurate according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

Officially, according to Reclamation, there has been "no completed purchase". The two parties (Forever Resorts and Suntex) are in discussions and in the process of resolving some issues. If the parties reach agreement Reclamation then has its own procedures it must follow to complete the transaction.

Reclamation is only an interested observer at the present time. If things work out between the parties, Reclamation wishes to have the Pleasure Cove transition completed by the beginning of the upcoming recreation season.

Suntex would be acquiring Pleasure Cove "as is" which means they will be held to the terms of the original Pleasure Cove contract - there will be no new contract negotiations according to Reclamation. Since Pleasure Cove is already 8 years into a 30 year contract with a 10 year extension option, Suntex would be buying into a 32 year contract.

From the perspective of the present Napa County project to evaluate the benefits of the County entering into a Managing Partner Agreement with Reclamation to manage the Lake Berryessa Recreation Areas, this is a positive development. It indicates that at least one large national marina management company sees a profitable business opportunity at the lake.


Lake Level Status: 3/12/17

Lake level has dropped about 1 foot during the last 2 weeks and is now at 440.9 feet, just 0.9 feet over the Glory Hole Spillway.

Rainfall total remains at 41.5 inches.

Lake level Jan Mar17 photo
Lake Levels 2006 to 031217


Boat Repair web copy


Measuring Levels and Rainfall

The Lake Berryessa water level is actually measured on the Monticello Dam in a “stilling well” equipped with a float tape attached to a digital rotary encoder that measures accurately to 0.01 ft. Rainfall is measured using a tipping bucket rain gauge. However, the rain gauge on the top of Monticello Dam has never been very representative of precipitation in the overall Lake Berryessa area.  The location, surrounded by mountains on two sides with a strong up-draft coming up the canyon and over the dam, prevents getting reliable data.  SCWA is considering changing this gauge location.

Rainfall measurements at the dam may not be representative of the area, but they are also not the best indicator of how fast the lake may rise.

The Lake Berryessa watershed encompasses the 576–square mile area primarily fed by Putah Creek which originates from springs on the eastside of Cobb Mountain in Lake County. Putah Creek enters Napa County about 11 miles east of Middletown. It merges with Butts Creek just before it empties into Lake Berryessa.

Therefore, rainfall over the Cobb Mountain and Middletown areas provides the bulk of water entering Lake Berryessa. One reason that Lake Berryessa rose so quickly in 2017 was the very heavy rainfall that has occurred in those areas.

Lake Berryessa Watershed story


Joni Rossi from Gardnerville, NV sent in a 1987 copy of the Lake Berryessa News. Below is the lake status on April, 7, 1987. The level 30 years ago was 428.9 feet, 11.1 feet below Glory Hole. Notice the rainfall total from the previous year, 48.95 inches in April, 1986. Looking at the historical lake level map below shows that the lake rose only about 24 feet that year - not much level increase for that much rain.

Weather update Apr1987


SpanFlatVilla 032216


Full lake level history 2015


March 2017 Print Edition (Full PDF Version)

(Pages Below Are Single Images)

LBNews Pg 8&1 Mar17
LBNews Pg 2&7 Mar17
LBNews Pg 6&3 Mar17
LBNews Pg 4&5 Mar17



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.



Click Photo For A Real Time Webcam View of Lake Berryessa



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".

Full lake level history 2015


Winters Express logo

The Winters Express


Lake Level Fifty Year History


Human trafficking

pkilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2016