Another Bureau of Reclamation Time Warp Moment

Another Bureau of Reclamation Time Warp Moment 

The “2020-something…” Schedule

Think Positive

by Peter Kilkus

 After more than two years of painfully slow progress, the Board of Supervisors has yet to finalize a Managing Partner Agreement (MPA) with the Bureau of Reclamation. Reclamation has a 20-year history of delays and bureaucratic bungling that led to the present situation at the lake. The first phase of this debacle began with a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register on November 7, 2000.

That was 18 years ago, Rocky Horror fans! It's astounding; time is fleeting; madness takes its toll. But listen closely, not for very much longer, I've got to keep control. Let's do the time-warp again. 

That was also when I first met newly-elected Supervisor Diane Dillon at a small meeting at Pleasure Cove Resort to discuss the future of Lake Berryessa. Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future. (Think Positive.)

In a previous story I calculated that the lake community had lost TEN years of progress. Now add another year to that for no progress in 2018. The new proposed plan starts slowly in 2019 with the first redeveloped resorts, Steele Canyon and Monticello Shores, to open in 2022. 

These are the resorts that county research showed are generating the most interest from the private sector. Disappointingly, the schedule stretches past 2025. A “2020-something” schedule! Is that a real time? Almost fifteen years of family recreation lost! 

To put it the perspective, the average life expectancy of a male is roughly 80 years. As someone who has been involved in this BOR nightmare for 20 years,  5 more years for me at my age is the statistical end. 

I’m not a fan of 5 year and longer plans, nor those that show results in late “2020-something”. Someone who is 35 has about 50 years to get things done so it's easier to be positive while waiting for long-term results from another plan.

Don’t ask me to wear a happy face t-shirt to BOR meetings. (Think Positive.) But I will continue to work positively for the revitalization of Lake Berryessa because I wish to support my community. And I do still hope to enjoy some of the benefits myself.

At a recent meeting the Board of Supervisors unanimously voiced their support for the County taking over management of the Lake Berryessa recreation areas, commonly referred to as “the resorts”.  “This isn’t about doing it for net revenues,” Supervisor Diane Dillon said. “This is about doing it for net benefits for the greater community.”  

Supervisors seemed optimistic that an agreement will be reached, possibly by early next year. Ironically, only a year ago the schedule showed that a bid process leading to contract negotiations with new concessionaires should have been completed by summer 2018. (Think Positive.) Reclamation originally supported this time frame. 

About five years ago Reclamation seemed to understand the serious damage they’d done to the local Lake Berryessa community. They promised to make it right, and for awhile followed through with some positive actions. But even then I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Polish poet Stanislaw Lec,

“Is it progress if a cannibal uses a fork?”

The Bureau of Reclamation is what I characterize as an “OK, but…” bureaucracy - one adept at feigning concern but always seeming to find a reason to move the goal posts farther out.

The latest example is from Drew Lessard of the Bureau of Reclamation who addressed the Board during public comments. He expressed optimism that the agency and county will come to agreement, “but…the last thing we want is to enter into a managing partner agreement and not have success”. Write your own favorite cliché here…“the pot calling the kettle black” comes to mind. (Think Positive.)

Apparently now Reclamation wants new information, a new economic analysis, and a proposed new schedule from Napa County - all of which was actually done more than a year ago. Is a “2030-something” schedule the next Reclamation “ok, but…” moment?

A recent letter to the Lake Berryessa News from Senator Diane Feinstein did indicate that she had been told by the “local Reclamation office”, wherever that is, “that the agency emphasizes that it still intends to work with the County to pursue an agreement and is seeking to do so by the end of 2018.” The letter is reproduced below..

How long does it take before a flickering candle finally goes out? When does saying “OK, but…” actually mean “OK, butt,…”? When can the Lake Berryessa community finally stop being the butt of the long running bureaucratic joke that is the Bureau of Reclamation?

Download a PDF copy of the full plan at:

Latest Proposed Schedule for Lake Berryessa Resort Devolopment

> Award Concessions - Steele Canyon & Monticello Shores (Phase 1: 2019)

> Initial Occupancy - Steele Canyon & Monticello Shores: 2022

> Markley Cove & Pleasure Cove Join MPA (Phase 2: 2019-2021)

> Award Concession - Spanish Flat (Phase 3: 2022 - 2024)

> Initial Occupancy - Spanish Flat: 2025 - 2027

> Award Concessions - Berryessa Point & Putah Creek (Phase 4: 2025-2027)

> Initial Occupancy - Berryessa Point & Putah Creek: 2028 - 2030

Steele Canyon, now managed under temporary agreement with Suntex (Pleasure Cove Resort), will operate during 2019 under temporary agreement.

Reclamation will seek temporary concessionaire (3-5 years) for Spanish Flat; possibly others (Putah Creek?). 

Spanish Flat is now managed under temporary agreement with the BOR by Spanish Flat Partners - a group of local residents who organized to support the west shore Spanish Flat business and residential communities 

Putah Creek is now managed by Royal Elk Park Management under temporary agreement with Reclamation.

 ********                       © Peter Kilkus 2018