Lake Berryessa issues - 1971

In my research of the history of Lake Berryessa I came upon this interesting publication from 1971 documenting the situation at the lake. It mirrors the same controversy that occurred in the early 2000s. There were people spreading falsehoods about the lake’s water quality then as there were in 2001 and later. 

Lake Berryessa is and always was the cleanest lake in northern California. The mobile homes never caused any pollution of the lake. This statement is not an opinion - it is supported by all the relevant facts and data. At that time the National Park Service was pushing a plan to develop Lake Berryessa to serve 8 million visitors per year at more than 12 public sites all around the lake.    

Berryessa Bulletin 1971R1 copy Page 1
Berryessa Bulletin 1971R1 copy Page 2
Berryessa Bulletin 1971R1 copy Page 3
Berryessa Bulletin 1971R1 copy Page 4
National Park Service Plan map


Lake Berryessa On The Radio

For those of you (most of you, probably) who missed my interview with Larry Kamer this morning on KVON, the whole interview is now available on-line at 


Click on the audio bar with my misspelled name. It's about 50 minutes long with a couple minutes of commercials at the halfway point. I tried to give a balanced historical perspective about what happened out here and what can be achieved with a revitalization program managed by Napa County.

For those skeptics among you, I can verify everything I said with facts, data, and documentation. You can view a rough draft of the book mentioned in the interview at:

What Happened at Lake Berryessa 


The Latest Issue Of The Lake Berryessa News, January 2020, Has Been Published And Is Available to Download. Click here or on image below.

LBNews Pg 8&1 Jan20


Happy New Year! 

Here’s something to bring a smile to your face 

in the first month of 2020!

These are links to one of my favorite rock videos. A great David Bowie song done by the biggest rock band in the world. I love watching the people enjoying themselves together. I just wish I could have been there with my accordion.

I know most of us believe we have some rebel in us. I watch this video about once a week to give me the energy to keep fighting for the revitalization of Lake Berryessa.

Watch it on YouTube at the first link. Play it on full screen at high volume.


Or you can watch it here on the Lake Berryessa News web site and download it to your computer to play at home anytime at:



Yes on Lake Berryessa Revitalization

In 2011 I wrote an article titled "They’re Off Like a Herd of Turtles!" This was a critique of how long the Pensus Group was taking to rebuild the resorts in the face of an uncooperative Bureau of Reclamation bureaucracy.

Although the image of a turtle stampede is amusing, no one at Lake Berryessa is laughing about how long it was taking to redevelop the demolished Lake Berryessa resorts. Local businesses and property owners who had been severely hurt by the Bureau of Reclamation’s destruction of five resorts had hoped that the redevelopment of those resorts would be fast-tracked by government agencies so the desperately-needed recovery could begin.

Unfortunately, this was not to be the case. Nine years later, despite the years of best efforts by our Napa County supervisors, there has been little progress towards the goal of revitalization other than some "happy talk" reports of progress.

In 1971 there were already 1.8 million visitors per year coming to the lake. The National Park Service produced a report projecting 8.7 million in the future accessing 12 public use areas to be developed around the whole lake. This clearly unsustainable plan was strongly opposed by Napa County.

During the last ten years visitation has dropped to less than 400,00 per year devastating the local business community with significant negative impact on area residents. But reports commissioned by Napa County, especially the Ragatz report of May 2017, concluded that Lake Beryessa is an untapped resource with a huge economic and recreational potential.

Last month we reported that "Staff anticipates returning to the Board in January/February 2020 with the MPA for consideration and releasing a Request for Proposal in April/May 2020 for concessionaires at Steele Canyon, Spanish Flat, and Monticello Shores. Several previous bid proposals and detailed plans are available to re-use."

Hopefully, somewhere, there's  a herd of bureaucratic turtles racing towards the  revitalization finish line.

The satirical cartoon below illustrates the fears of some of the chronically uninformed among us. This can't happen here!

Steel Park-O-Rama 1


No on Measure K: The Boondoggle Tax

Several years ago the Zombie Apocalypse was a popular theme for movies and TV shows. It may not have been World War Z, starring Brad Pitt, where a zombie outbreak erupts in metropolitan areas around the world, but Napa County had a Zombie outbreak of its own in 2016. The Regional Park and Open Space District produced Measure Z: The Zombie Tax. That movie failed at the box office. 

But now the RPOSD is back with a sequel, Measure K: The Boondoggle Tax. The Boondoggle Tax is essentially the same as the Zombie Tax with a prettier master plan on how to spend the $9 million per year projected to be raised by this quarter cent sales tax.

Boondoggle: work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value; an expensive program that is a waste of money, especially one using public money.

A burning question to many of us trying to revitalize a battered Lake Berryessa region is why this Boondoggle Tax is being considered at all when one of the most important recreational areas in Napa County, Lake Berryessa, has been so neglected by the County. We’d like to have $9 a year million to help in the revitalization of this major recreational resource! Lake Berryessa is only mentioned ONCE in passing in the ordinance itself in Section B.1.b describing “protecting” water quality by buying land. But Lake Berryessa is already the cleanest lake in northern California with no foreseeable water quality threats.

The District now has a budget of about $800,000 in Transient Occupancy Tax from Napa County plus various grants. They have been doing fine with this amount. The RPOSD, with its policy of land grabs and trails-at-any-cost philosophy, has done little of compelling benefit for Napa County residents. They claim they are “preserving” land, but they are actually just buying land that is already nearly unusable in any practical development sense. 

Measure K includes the word “protect” ten times but never tells us what it is “protecting” from. Open space preservation, watershed protection and environmental issues have already been properly addressed in county ordinances which have resulted in Napa county being among the most preserved and protected in the state.

Giving $9 million dollars - $9 MILLION! - a year to this agency would be like, to mix cliches, giving it to kids in a candy shop who would spend money like drunken sailors on mostly pointless acquisitions that hardly anyone could use. Their slick master plan would have you believe Napa County is in grave danger which could only be alleviated by buying more unusable, already protected land. Most rural residents understand this.

But to buy the votes of urban folks they propose giving money to individual Napa cities to create more parks within their borders. This is not the role of a Regional Parks and Open Space District.

To inflate their relevance they actually claim they will have a positive impact on climate change. This is a scientifically silly statement in a state where preserving a few hundred acres of forest land to “sequester carbon dioxide” pales in the face of wildfires that burn tens of thousands of acres of trees a year, releasing their already-sequestered carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As of December 22, 2019, more than 7,860 fires have been recorded according to Cal Fire and the US Forest Service, totaling an estimated of 259,823 acres of burned land.

$9 MILLION per year! What could you do with $9 MILLION per year. $9 MILLION stolen from Napa County residents’ wallets. When seeking a sales tax hike such as this, proponents depict the impact as being small on taxpayers. But this is a regressive tax, i.e., a tax that takes a larger percentage of income from low-income earners than from high-income earners. The existing sales tax in Napa County is 7.75 percent, with the exception of St. Helena, where it is 8.25 percent. For people on limited incomes, these taxes build up and become a burden. The RPOSD Board of Directors needs to live on its current budget not tax, tax, tax.

Board Satire 082619 final


Bureau of Reclamation Introduces Its New Logo. 

Now all they need is a better attitude towards Lake Berryessa!

Press Release (Oct2019): The Bureau of Reclamation is modernizing our visual identity, including the logo, as part of a proactive effort to better articulate the important work we do. The new visual identity and logo improves accessibility, is more suitable for digital communications, and can be more uniquely and directly associated with Reclamation.

Commissioner Burman's Message about the new Logo:





1085 Headlands Dec2019
19 Juniper Dec2019


Corporate CEOs Are NOT Worth What They Are Paid, Stupid!

Exorbitant CEO pay is a major contributor to rising inequality that we could safely do away with. CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are increasing productivity or possess specific, high-demand skills. This escalation of CEO compensation, and of executive compensation more generally, has fueled the growth of top 1.0% and top 0.1% incomes, leaving less of the fruits of economic growth for ordinary workers and widening the gap between very high earners and the bottom 90%. The economy would suffer no harm if CEOs were paid less (or taxed more).

When justifying outrageous executive salaries, the press commonly notes the importance of such rewards in motivating the heads of corporations to exert their best efforts. When William A. Anders, the chairman of General Dynamics Corporation, was granted a $1.6 million bonus for having kept his company's stock price above $45 for ten days, a company spokesperson told the Washington Post that the bonus plan was needed to give top executives the incentive to change the company's business strategy and focus on maximizing returns to shareholders. It is an extraordinary claim that the most privileged and well-paid professionals in the world require million-dollar bonuses to motivate them to do their jobs.

Derek Bok, the former president of Harvard University, offers a telling explanation. He suggests that top corporate executives must be paid such outrageous sums to ensure that they place the short term interests of shareholders above all other interests that they might otherwise be tempted to consider - such as those of employees, the community, and even the corporation's own long-term viability.  In short, top executives have to be paid outrageous salaries to motivate them to not yield to their instincts toward social responsibility. Viewed from this perspective, these salaries are an indicator of how distasteful the job of top corporate managers has become in the era of corporate downsizing.

A former Texas commissioner of agriculture, Jim Hightower, made the following suggestion: “Let’s keep our factories and jobs here and move our corporate headquarters to Mexico, Korea, or wherever else we can get some reasonably priced chief executives.” Or maybe we could allow free immigration of cheap chief executives along with cheap labor. Not likely. More likely is that we will witness a further writing off of the laboring class in this country, an increasing disdain toward uneducated and rural people by the corporate and university elite.


CEO compensation has grown 940% since 1978. Typical worker compensation has risen only 12% during that time. 

The United States topped the list in 2018 for the country with the highest gap between CEO and worker pay. In that year, for every U.S. dollar an average worker received, the average CEO earned 265 U.S. dollars. India, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and the Netherlands rounded out the top five for countries with the highest CEO to worker pay.

CEO to worker pay by country


Richard Jolly, author of the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Report of 1996, points out that there are five types of growth that give people less and not more.  They are:

Jobless growth, where the overall economy grows, but does not expand opportunities for employment.

Ruthless growth, where the fruits of economic growth mostly benefit the rich.

Voiceless growth, where economic growth is not matched by democracy or individual empowerment.

Rootless growth, where cultural identity withers as the economy grows.

Futureless growth, where economic growth consumes its very foundations, squandering resources needed for future generations.

What is Economics?

Most people have no idea as to what Economics is really all about - another failure of the Amerian educational system - especially colleges and universities. Combine  this with the public's inclination to believe what they  are told, and you get the present financial depradations of predatory capitalism.

From the Greek root: Oikonomia: the management of the household so as to increase its value to all members of the household over the long run.

From a dictionary: A social science concerned chiefly with the description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

From a textbook: The study of how people make their living, how they acquire food, shelter, clothing, and other material necessities and comforts of this world. It is the study of the problems they encounter, and of the ways in which these problems can be reduced.

From economist Hazel Henderson: Standard economics is a form of brain damage!

Some Thoughts Contrary To Standard Economic Propaganda

“Homo Economicus” is a (mostly) fictitious alien being.

Free trade arguments are based on a (consciously?) faulty premise.

Money is not wealth. 

Most money is phony.

Nature’s services must have value or you would be dead.

Capitalism is not democracy.

Democracy is not just the right to shop.

Growth is not development, is not an obvious good, is not required.

Globalization in its present form is patently destructive.

Corporations are not people and do not have human rights.

Socially-responsible stock market investing is an oxymoron.

The stock market has no productive value and should be abolished.

Interest, especially compound interest, should be eliminated.

Intergenerational equity demands political will.

Trend is not destiny.

The plural of anecdote is not data.

Beware of infectious repetitis.

Sustainability is not hard to define and is the true meta-solution.


New Book Release on Amazon

-Kindle cover

Amazon Kindle - $2.99

I've just released my new book: Conspiracy Theory or Automatic Pilot: The Economic Roots of Environmental Destruction. Available on Amazon in Kindle (above) or Paperback (below).

Classical economics is a mythology. Predatory capitalism is a fundamentalist religion based on this mythology. Environmental destruction and income inequality are results of the practice of this mythical religion. But is the present economic and environmental situation a conscious conspiracy or an unintended consequence of simplistic beliefs supported by basic human greed?

Serfs Up for book

This book provides the basics of classical economic theory and the description of the intended or unintended consequences of predatory capitalism based on this theory. It contrasts these to sustainability principles underpinning modern environmental economic theory and the various movement towards corporate responsibility.

Fishing Financial System

The book is not meant to be an academic or scientific exercise for economists or policy makers. The concepts discussed are easily accessible to thoughtful readers. My objective was to explain to myself the structure of economic influence that is at the heart of environmental degradation (including the welfare of individual human beings). Understanding is the foundation of action.

-Paperback Cover

Amazon Paperback - $7.99


Berryessa Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)  

“Berryessa CERT is comprised of volunteers who live in the Circle Oaks, Berryessa Highlands, Capell Valley, Spanish Flat and Berryessa Pines communities.” ….Shelly van Rijn, Berryessa CERT Team Leader

Berryessa CERT edited-1

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about the hazards that affect their communities and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, personal preparedness, and disaster medical operations. People who go through CERT training have a better understanding of the potential threats to their home, workplace and community and can take the right steps to lessen the effects of these hazards on themselves, their homes or workplace.

If a disaster happens that overwhelms local response capability, CERT members can apply the training learned in the classroom and during exercises to give critical support to their family, loved ones, neighbors or associates in their immediate area until help arrives. When help does arrive, CERTs provide useful information to responders and support their efforts, as directed, at the disaster site. CERT members can also assist with non-emergency projects that improve the safety of the community.

Following a major disaster in the Napa Valley, first responders who provide emergency services will not always be able to meet the immediate demand for these services. The high number of victims, communication failures and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect. People will need to rely on themselves in order to meet their immediate lifesaving and life sustaining needs.

The CERT Basic Training covers basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members are better able to assist their family, neighborhood or workplace following an event when first responders (paramedics, fire, police) are not immediately available to help.

In an emergency, CERT teaches you to take care of your personal safety first, then your family, and then those around you. It is important to know what to do to protect ourselves and our family members before, during, and after an emergency event. CERT Training helps you do  this.



Concession Areas

Markley Cove Resort, Pleasure Cove Marina, Steele Canyon Recreation Area, Putah Canyon, and Spanish Flat offer a variety of recreation services, including boat launch ramps, and are great alternatives to Oak Shores and Capell Cove. For information regarding services offered at concession-operated facilities, please call or visit their websites:

Markley Cove- 707-966-2134, www.markleycove.com
Pleasure Cove Marina- 707-966-9600, www.goberryessa.com
Steele Canyon Recreation Area- 707-966-9179, www.goberryessa.com/campground-at-steele-canyon
Spanish Flat Recreation Area- 707-966-0200, www.spanishflatcamping.com
Putah Canyon Recreation Area- 707-966-9051, 

For more information, call the Lake Berryessa Administration office at 707-966-2111, ext. 113 or visit the website at:  http://www.usbr.gov/mp/ccao/berryessa/index.html    


See my detailed report on how Lake Berryessa and Monticello Dam function at:



Special Release: New combined report for those who want to know almost everything about how Lake Berryessa works!

As Lake Berryessa Flows:

A Combination of Science, Engineering, and Natural Beauty

by Peter Kilkus

The Science and Engineering Elements of a Major Natural Resource

Download Full Report PDF 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.

1 Lake Map Base 082317


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.



Full lake level history 2015
Lake Levels 2006 to 031217 edited-1
Lake Levels 1990 2017



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 - 2018

by Peter Kilkus


Lake Berryessa Project Primary Document Index

What Happened At Lake Berryessa? The Book! (draft) 

(Click to Download the PDF here)

Table Of Contents


Without THE LAKE BERRYESSA NEWS there would be no Lake Berryessa News…and finally there would be no definitive history of what happened at Lake Berryessa. Having participated directly for more than twenty years as an advocate for the lake in the fiasco that was the Bureau of Reclamation’s Visitor Services Plan, its farcical but tragic outcome, and the process of rebuilding, I have very strong views of the causes and results - supported by facts and data which were mostly obfuscated by the proponents of the destruction of the lake’s residential and business community.

The Bureau of Reclamation and their supporters destroyed family recreation at Lake Berryessa for a generation of families, children, and friends. 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 goal of this book is to provide the history and the context within which such an incredibly destructive course of action took place.

The initial timeline shows a condensed history of the process. The next section tells the story through the eyes of Lake Berryessa News articles. With the permission of the Napa Register, a parallel history is presented through contemporaneous editorials, articles, and letters to the editor from the Napa Register.

This book is not a traditional academic exercise in historical exposition. Academic historians define history as presenting facts without expressing any opinion or analysis of the events whereas memories are comprised of emotions that can have a great influence on the perception of an actual event. Critical historians live by the old saying of "there are two sides to every story and then there is the truth."

I’m more interested in the narrative approach to defining this history. Almost two decades have passed since this story began, and Lake Berryessa history has been created with every day of that twenty years.

This book is the raw, as-it-happened, unfiltered picture of what many of us lived through. It is organized chronologically; focused on a single coherent story; primarily descriptive but also analytical; primarily concerned with people but also the abstract circumstances in which they find themselves. To me a big part of the fascination with any history is trying to discover what was going on inside people's heads in the past, and what it was like to live in that past.

The future may finally looking brighter for Lake Berryessa or does it? History continues to unfold.

Peter Kilkus, Lake Beryessa, 2018


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".

How It All Began: The Origins of the “Big Lie”

Lake Berryessa History Timeline: 1958 - 2018

Click here for PDF version

Lake Berryessa News (2010 - 2018): A VERY SLOW MOTION Disaster! 

Click here for PDF version


Some Interesting Past Stories

Bird Goes Over the Glory Hole Waterfall Without A Barrel

Glory Hole: Awesome, Frightening, But Dangerous?

February 2019: 2nd Anniversary of Glory Hole Spilling

My First Fishing Trip on Lake Berryessa

Analysis of the Creation of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument - the Dumbest National Monument in the United States

Rattlesnakes: Friend or Enemy – or just a primal fear?


Special Publications (PDF)

As Lake Berryessa Flows:

The Science and Engineering Elements of a Major Natural Resource (Combined Reports)

Combined Report Title Page and Index


As Lake Berryessa Flows: 

A Combination of Science, Engineering, and Natural Beauty 

(Single Report)


As Lake Berryessa Turns!

Temperature and Fishing in a Warm, Monomictic Lake 

(Single Report)  


Seeing Underwater at Lake Berryessa 

(Single Report)


Silly Septic System Standards Harm Rural Napa


The History of the Creation of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument: The Ultimate Political Perversion of the Antiquities Act

By Peter Kilkus (6/20/17)

The Twisted Ten-Year Political Path From a Modest Nature Area Partnership to a Local Blue Ridge Berryessa National Conservation Area to a Large Disjointed Berryessa Snow Mountain National Conservation Area to an Incoherent Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.

Is it the “Dumbest National Monument in the United States”? An objective review of the process by which it was created and the final formal designation suggests the answer is YES. I personally support the creation of legitimate national monuments, but this is not that. Being part of the ten year political process that led to its creation convinced me that in many situations the Antiquities Act is being abused. The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is a perfect case study of this abuse. 

Read the full report here.


Conspiracy Theory Or Automatic Pilot: The Economic Roots Of Environmental Destruction        

By Peter F. Kilkus 

Download PDF of this report (2 MB)

Serfs Up for book


Chef Neiman Marxist French

The Amazing Foods of Chef Neiman Marxist


Winters Express logo

The Winters Express


Peter’s 75th Birthday Video (Hirez, 3m22s, 203MB )

Peter’s 75th Birthday Video (Lorez, 72MB)

Bill Scholer Birthday Band raw (1:37, 101 Mb, Lorez)

Bird video

ACDC Intros mix


Glory Hole Overflows


Hot Tramp 1000 Video

Caymans Dive Video Short - Peter Only (1 minute)

Caymans Dive Video Long - People and Fish Life (7 minutes)

pKilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2018