Revitalizing Lake Berryessa - Idling Towards Home

Revitalizing Lake Berryessa - Idling Towards Home

by Peter Kilkus

Last week I went out on a patio boat with friends. All went well until we were halfway to the dam from the Steele Canyon Recreation Area. Suddenly our boat engine revved up and lost thrust. The boat would only move forward at idle speed - about 2 miles per hour. Nothing we could do would solve the problem. So we turned around and idled for an hour back to the main lake.

We had a great time picnicking and swimming. Friends from the Highlands came over and tied their boat up to ours for a couple of hours of fun with their kids. But we finally had to start for home - at 2 mph! It took 2 hours to idle from Skiers Cove to the entrance of the Steele Canyon/Spanish Flat cove. Then the wind kicked up and we were down to less than 1 mph. One hour later we finally reached the Steele Canyon launch ramp. Probably the slowest recorded tour of the lake - but we got home and had some great fun doing it.

I was struck by the similarity between our boat trip the present process of revitalizing Lake Berryessa. The excitement of watching Napa County begin the process in early 2017. The ray of hope when the county received nine responses to its Request for Interest and Information. Then the doldrums of Napa County negotiating a Managing Partner Agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation followed by the engine failure somewhere in the process.

Both Napa County and Reclamation profess to be continuing the process with the positive intent to have Napa County take over management of all or some of the recreation areas. One hang-up seems to be the typical bureaucratic “off like a herd of turtles” syndrome. The other is the federal government approving 50 year terms for new concession contracts rather than the 30 year terms proposed by the Department of the Interior.

We’ve lost ten years of family recreation at Lake Berryessa as I documented in my January 2018 lead story "Holes In History" at Lake Berryessa: Simple Incompetence, Fervent Ignorance, Malicious Arrogance. Read it again if you want your blood to boil:

So as we idle towards home in the process of revitalizing Lake Berryessa, it is instructive to compare the original optimistic schedule with present reality - another 4 months lost! At least on our boat trip we could see our destination getting closer.

Original Schedule

November 20, 2017: RFII Submittals Due

January, 2018: MPA Authorization

February, 2018: RFP Release

April, 2018: RFP Due

Spring/Summer 2018: Concessionaire Selection and Negotiations

Modified Schedule  (February, 2018)

April, 2018: MPA Authorization

May, 2018: RFP Release

Modified Schedule  (July, 2018)

None                       © Peter Kilkus 2018